racing · running

The Zombie Run (Guest Post)

Runners facing zombies on the final leg
Zombie Slide
Zombie Slide

I just completed my first fun run in great style: the Zombie Run! Well, maybe not THE Zombie Run as I believe there are others even just in Windsor. Zombies have become all the rage, it seems! The organizers reported that 4000 people signed up. And it was great fun even though I was in a cranky mood beforehand.

I was on my own, grabbed a lift with a friend who was part of a team of four, but I told them not to wait for me as I didn’t intend to run the whole thing.  Apparently there were 50 zombies on the course, and that seemed accurate.  I’d guess that the “runners” — since many were mostly walking as I did — appeared to be mostly (two-thirds) women, and ages up to 60; same for the zombies.  Most runners were in teams and dressed in imaginative costumes: torn and bloody shirts, various clever names, superheroes, bees, hallowe’en orange & black, and various sorts of tutus. (I would never have imagined wearing a tutu in public, but now I want one!)

I ended up walking with someone who’s team had pulled ahead of her, Kathy. We were both down to one flag from among our original three “health” flags.  We gained a replacement flag at at a water stop in exchange for eating a small amount of pig’s tongue (minced and spiced, much like paté). No fake brains here, real organ meat. I’m not sure what they do about vegetarians! Windsor is a bit backward that way.

The zombies earlier in the route were the most aggressive, and it was a killer having to run uphill through the first group. I fell twice and lost two flags in the first five minutes. There were bottlenecks and muddy spots. But perhaps the worst for me was the burrs! Vicious plants! Evil flora! Burdocks all over my running pants and poking into my skin.

In the end Kathy and I both lost all our health flags as we’d both expected. My favourite part may have been toward the end having the luxury of a close-up view of the zombies performing, trying to grab flags from those who still had them.  However, I loved the final (zombie-free) water slide at the end.

I will enjoy my next run more, and hopefully have a team. Let me know if you want to join me!

The start and finish, before the runners and zombies get going
The start and finish, before the runners and zombies get going
Catherine and her friend Tracy
Catherine and her friend Tracy
Guest Post · running · sports nutrition

Sugar in the morning, and some motivational strategies (Guest post)

Running in the morning for the last month gave me stitches in my side, which told me I should ease up.  But the answer seemed to be also — or even instead — that I needed a snack.

One reason I find morning exercise — and mornings in general — so difficult is that I tend to be hypoglycemic: I have unstable blood sugar that tends to run low.  Going for long periods without eating and consuming high carbohydrate meals sends my blood sugar levels spinning down.  (This was diagnosed when I was about 12 years old through a 5-hour glucose tolerance test — more typically used to diagnose diabetes. How did my physician guess the problem? I regularly felt weak just before lunch. I remain notoriously grumpy when hungry.)

So, I am reminded that not being a morning person can be less a question of personality than of physiology.  After all, sleeping means at minimum an 8-hour fast, and easily 12 or 13 hours. This can cause a problem for anyone, whose blood sugar levels will tend to be at their lowest after so long without eating.  So others may find, as I have, that it helps to have some juice or milk before morning exercise to bring blood sugar levels up.  Not only will it make the run more pleasant with the energy boost you get, but it should improve your performance . Sure you may not burn quite so much fat, if that’s your goal. But will you burn any if you are miserable and in pain?

My progress is slow, but I am finally into week 5 of the Couch to 5K program, which is better than I’ve managed in the 18 months that I’ve used it to provide benchmarks.  I try to keep in mind that their pace is not intended for someone almost 50 years old and 30 lbs. overweight, even though the program is meant to be gradual.  And I’ve never managed to maintain the pace of three runs per week for more than two weeks in a row till now.  My aim is to make it four.

Running in the morning seems to help me get out regularly because there are no competing demands aside from the (admittedly profound) inertia of bed.  In the evening there can be too many distractions and excuses.  It’s easy to put it exercise off.  And I’m finding the early run gives me energy through the day that really helps me get things done, and relax later.

However, I could use a little more positive motivation, so I have picked up a mini music player that I can clip onto my clothes.  It just arrived and I’m looking forward to using it!

I have also signed up for the Windsor Zombie Run!  Yes, that’s right: I’m paying to run 5k through the woods, chased by people dressed up as zombies who will be hiding in the bushes.  I get three ribbons to signify my health, and if I lose all three I’m “eaten.” That is certainly helping my motivation to progress to running 5k!

Creative Commons, Flickr