Today marks one year since the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. I will be running the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic later this week, so thought I'd commemorate by re-sharing the report from the original since it was killed on the old site. If anyone else wants to participate, you're welcome to it. Run 8 (ish? whatever) miles on a treadmill and write about it. Do what you must to spice it up.
First, if Irma Gerd means nothing to you, please read this.
The schedule today called for 8 miles easy. The forecast today also called for wind, rain, downed trees, and all manner of apocalyptic blights on the Atlanta metro area thanks to
Hurricane Tropical Storm Tropical Depression Irma. Does it still keep its name after it’s no longer a “storm”? Not sure, but now I’m going to have to look into this. Anyway, back to today’s 8 miles. This is my last really big 60+ mile week before Chicago and I didn’t want to start it off all screwed up on miles and workouts, so I was determined to get this one in.
Our forecast was for strong winds and rain starting early in the morning and intensifying until they peaked this evening. I thought about getting up and out early to beat the worst of the weather, but I had calls with overseas colleagues starting very early and realized this probably wasn’t going to happen. So then I decided to try and head out around lunch, but I got hungry and ate without thinking and didn’t have enough time to digest and run before my next call. Crap, I wasn’t going to get to run until the supposed peak of the bad weather. I checked the forecast and saw 20-30 mph winds and rain. So, basically what we had in Philly last year. I started getting ready to go when The Wife (we both worked from home today) looked at me with a raised eyebrow as if to say “and where do you think you’re going?”. And then she asked me where I thought I was going. She repeats herself a lot.
We argued for a little bit, then she put the news on and showed me all the downed power lines and trees and reminded me how bad Atlanta drivers are in foul weather. And they are bad, the slightest mist of a rain and all hell breaks loose on the roadways like a bunch of drunks staggering haphazardly out of a brewery fire. So I resigned myself to hitting the treadmill. It’s not that I hate the treadmill per se. It is a useful training tool, and I have done quite of bit of my marathon pace training runs on the ol’ mill to account for how flat Chicago is and Atlanta isn’t. Repetitive stress on the same muscle groups and all that physiological jazz. But the idea of doing a slow easy run on the treadmill was as unpleasant as the realization that Honey Boo Boo likely has a larger savings account than I do. Plus, the lights had been flickering all afternoon, and half of my colleagues in the city had already lost power. Atlanta loses power if a blue jay breaks wind in the wrong direction, so I knew it was only a matter of time until our lights went out. If I was going to get in 8 on the mill, I was going to have to hurry. And so, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was born.
You’re damn right I’m writing a bloop report about a treadmill training run. In anticipation of the fridge losing juice I started drinking the beer while it was still cold, and I got bored, so you’re getting this bloop. Nobody’s forcing you to read it. Go read about ass chafing if you want.
When I got to the gym, there were two bros taking turns seeing who could grunt and slam weights the loudest, and one girl on an elliptical. I hopped on, hit play on my ancient iPod Touch, waited for the screen to self lock (the manual screen lock button no longer works) and got started. The first song was Rock the Casbah, which was a bit high tempo for a slow warm-up mile but that was the hand fate had dealt me so I went with it. The legs were tired, but not too beat up after the Hansons twin 10er cut back weekend, and quickly found their rhythm. Elliptical girl stopped and started walking over to me which made me panic a bit, until I realized she was simply the only other person in our complex who actually wipes down the equipment and was merely going to the dispenser. Mile 1 - 9:22.
I was loose now and picked up the pace a bit. The gym bros were now done banging weights on the racks (not sure if either of them actually ever did a set or not) and it was time for one of them to do cardio. He ignored the two open treadmills and chose the one right next to me, then craned his neck over so far to see my screen he dripped sweat on my handrail. I offered him a towel, which he declined with a scoff. He then set his machine at what would be a walking pace for even a Galapagos Tortoise and started to, well I think he was trying to run, but jump up with one foot and land on the other, crashing his massive bulk onto the belt with such force my machine shook. And he was still craning over to see my screen. After about a minute of this awkward crashing skipping and staring at my screen he upped his pace to 6.8 mph where I was, stumbled through it for 30 seconds while I pictured him shooting off the back like the rolling boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then stood on the railing for 5 minutes drinking his protein shake and stretching before calling it a day without wiping the machine. I used the perfect beat of INXS’ Devil Inside to focus on my cadence and tried not to laugh lest he squah my skull like a grape. Miles 2 and 3 8:49 and 8:49, and the legs felt positively light.
Then one of my all time favorite regulars came into the gym. She jogs to the gym from her apartment every day, hops up on a treadmill, starts it, and stands on the rails while texting for a solid 2-3 minutes. Then she will run for 30-45 seconds, then back on the railings with the belt still running while she does an elaborate stretching routine. And I do mean elaborate, through the course of it her legs will go up onto the screen, then over the handrails, and even out the bottom almost tripping me over on my treadmill. Then 30 seconds more of running, then the stretching thing. Sometimes she’ll get off the 'mill and do a plank or pushups. The Wife and I call her Stretchy Magoo. She usually has the mill run for 3 miles or so, of which she runs maybe an 800, before jogging back to her apartment without wiping the machine. I enjoyed the Ramones' Beat on the Brat and George Harrison’s 1987 hit Got My Mind Set On You on this stretch, and miles 4 and 5 passed in 8:49 and 8:49.
By this point, I was starting to feel a little of the marathon fatigue in the legs, the freshness passing as quickly as it had arrived. So I was thrilled when Black Betty was followed by Jump Around on the iPod. The first has a nice driving guitar riff to keep the turnover up, and the second is my all time party jam. I do a truly awful karaoke rendition of this song after tequila shots which I first discovered way back in the eighth grade at a graduation party. Except back then it was a half shot of tequila we stole from Kristen Phillips’ parents’ liquor cabinet and the song was on Top 40 stations, not Oldies ones. Either way, these powered me through mile 6 in a surprisingly quick 8:49.
A new treadmill neighbor showed up and my playlist luck continued with Going the Distance off the Rocky soundtrack, and then Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison, not Van Halen). I was singing the latter quietly to myself (the former is an instrumental, so not sure why I felt compelled to clarify that) as it’s another frequent karaoke mistake. When I did the little throaty growl Ol’ Roy does, my treadmill neighbor must have heard it because she immediately jerked her head to look at me with an expression of pure horror on her face. I turned to meet her stare, and when I realized she heard me growl without context, I burst into laughter. She didn’t get the joke, and immediately packed up and left without wiping the machine. Mile 7 passed in another 8:49.
The distractions and upbeat musical accompaniment had reenergized the legs, and I coasted through the last mile to the strains of Sam the Sham Pharaohs and one of the most ridiculously idiotic and enjoyable songs ever written. I mean, is he counting down in English or Spanish? I don’t care but be consistent man, it’s just sloppy. And Pharaohs didn’t speak Spanish anyway. And the only lyrics I can really make out are Hatty and Matty doing something. Between the historical inaccuracies, language mixing, and lousy uncreative rhyming this song is an indictment of the US education system if I ever saw one. It’s catchy as hell though, and I rode it through the end of mile 8 in 8:49. The treadmill said 8 miles, the Garmin said 8.42, but all I cared about was that I got in the run without so much as a flicker of the lights.
And thus, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was complete. Can’t wait for the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. And I even still have power, so I can post this asinine bloop about running on a treadmill. What a time to be alive.