How to become an ibuprofin addict

Mars Girl and friend, Ruth, (far left) at start
of the Run for Grace & Andy in Hiram, OH

Step 1: Run a 3.3 mile run after a long period of abstinence. Make sure you do minimal stretches.

Step 2: On the following day, ride your bike 50 miles.

It’s as easy as that, folks. I followed these two simple steps and, in a matter of 24 hours, I’ve become an ibuprofin addict. I am walking around the office like someone twice my age with arthritis and years working as a floor coverer (sorry, Dad). All of you out there who claim that I’m athletic (RUTH) can sit on it. Athletes can’t possibly experience this much pain after relatively minor exercise.

Okay, 50 miles by bike isn’t minor to most people (at 2509 miles, it is to me). Running 3 miles in hilly Hiram is not minor either. All of this would be to an athlete, though!

I haven’t run since what I call “treadmill season” (otherwise known as northeast Ohio winter). But when I read in the e-mail newsletter from my alma mater, Hiram College, that a run had been organized to raise money for the scholarship funds in the names of Grace Chamberlain and Andy Hopkins — the two students who tragically lost their lives to a 10-time DUI offender a year and a half ago — I decided it was time to put on the running shoes, despite the fact that I absolutely abhor running. Well, not bad enough to not enjoy the competition of an organized run. I can’t help it. I love torture myself. TPL and all.

It was a beautiful day Saturday. Everyone was in great spirits for the run. I happily noted that most of the other runners were young, probably college students showing support for a fellow Hiramite they may not have known, but felt connected to simply by the fact that they shared the same campus with the deceased. That’s why I was there. All Hiram students are connected by a kinship with a great school we’re all proud to have attended. When one of us bleeds, we all feel it. It sounds corny, but it’s true.

Anyway, I was happy that most of the runners were younger because I didn’t see a lot of people in my age category, which means I could place somewhere in the middle of the group. It looks like I placed exactly middle, in fact, being that there turned out to be only THREE 30-34 year olds (and I was the oldest one in the category to run!).

The run route followed “Three-Mile Square” — one of the most popular Hiram College traditions. Three-Mile Square follows OH-700 South out of Hiram to Pioneer Trail, turns right on Ryder Road, and then right onto OH-82 East into Hiram. Except, in college, Diane and I used to do it the reverse direction because that hill on Pioneer Trail is a bit nasty. I remembered why we went that direction as I struggled to keep myself at a jog up this hill. I watched a lot of runners next to me stop and walk. I can’t begrudge them that because a few of them still managed to beat me across the finish line.

The Ryder Road portion of the route is actually quite pretty. It starts atop a hill, providing a scenic overlook of the two farms that line each side of the road. It’s really weird, but it seemed as though nothing had changed. Same delapitated shack halfway down the road at the bottom of the hill. I think there used to be a scraggly old tree across the street from the shack, but it was gone now.

The route passes the cemetary. I know it sounds morbid, but I used to spend hours there in college, just looking at the headstones. It was a great place to experience the fall colors. The cemetary has some nice old trees that breathe a sigh of ancient wisdom into the place. In my one and only studio art class, I had created a melodramatic acrylic painting of one of the headstones with colored leaves smattered around it. On the grave, in place of the person’s name, I’d written “Eve Ree Thing” with “Dies” instead of “Died”. Yeah, I was so utterly profound. You can gag. I’m a better writer than I am an artist. And that’s not saying much.

Still, the actual picture was the best thing I’ve ever painted. It actually looks like what it’s supposed to be. I could probably still find the headstone I used as the model. I thought of the painting as I ran past the cemetary and how melodramatic I was in college before I knew any real sorrow in life.

They .3 remaining mile, I imagine, came from the extra bit they routed us to the track at the new athletic facility (by the way, I’m really jealous of this facility — why did my college get all the cool stuff after I left?! I won’t even tell you about the new writing program that makes me salivate.). I sprinted hard the last few meters, as I always do when I catch sight of the finish line. The reader at the finish line beeped as it registered the chip tied to my shoelace.

When I stopped, I realized that my calves and thighs were feeling quite punchy; or rather, as if they’d been punched. I met up with Diane and her husband, Jeff, who had walked the 1 mile route which toured the campus, Diane complained, that we knew so well. I guess she was expecting to discover some new part of the little hamlet of Hiram, but I’m pretty sure we saw it all while we went there. There’s not a lot more to the place.

We waited for my other friend, Ruth, who had also run the 3.3 mile route. (I love how I am roping my friends into all my crazy athletic endeavors!)

The sitting didn’t do me any good. The next time I moved to stand, my legs protested.

But, still, I’m happy that I did manage to get out there to do the run. Do I feel like doing any more runs? Um… no. I still like my bike better.

Which leads me to yesterday when I decided it was a good idea to do a 50 mile bike ride with Michael. He kept asking me, “Are you sure you want to ride?”

“Yes,” I kept saying exasperatedly. You use different muscles to ride, right? So it wasn’t going to hurt the muscles I had made sore the day before, right? Besides, it was a day more beautiful than the last and I just couldn’t let it go to waste without full appreciation of its worth.

Our ride took place in Medina County and the much-ABC-debated Wayne County. We sailed (to my nervous dismay) into the Overton Valley and appreciated the trees and lakes found down there. I was secretly glad that Michael, the fearless captain of the tandem, did not steer us up an “annoying excruciating” hill as I had requested earlier in the week.

The ride was pretty laid-back and not exceedingly hard. Which was good because when we returned to our starting point at mile 50, and I removed myself from the bike, my legs felt like led weights. Each movement brought with it a stiff ache. Yes, I was right — different muscles. Except now, instead of some muscles being sore, all the muscles in my legs were sore. At least I evened it all out!

You just can’t stop a girl with an addiction to cardio. But excuse me, for I need to take some more ibuprofin…

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One thought on “How to become an ibuprofin addict

  1. This makes total sense to me, and I’d have done the same. I decided to start working out again recently after becoming seriously out of condition (I’m a walking addict, and love to walk great distances). Unfortunately, I’m also a little competetive at the gym, so my first time out on the track I was too excited to do much stretching, and then when these people passed me in the next lane, that competetiveness snapped “on” and I “raced” them for the next 40 minutes at top walking speed. As I continued walking fast to “beat” them, I realized with each painful step that I was wearing running sneakers and that yes, this does make a difference!! The next day, I could not walk, and just as you describe, felt 80!

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