Photos by OHventures
March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.
The first part of that statement was definitely true this year (the "lamb" part is yet to be seen), as we have been struggling through one of the most intense winters on record in Ohio (and the US). There have been snow days out the wazoo and too many winter storm warnings to count (thank goodness someone started naming those storms like they do hurricanes). And while it's been fitting for adventures that actually require snow, like sledding and skiing, it has certainly been a problem for all other outdoor activities, and especially difficult for traveling on the roadways!
On March 2, I was signed up to take part for the second year in a row in the Arnold Pump & Run 5K, an event that is part of the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. News stations were reporting a MASSIVE winter storm (I think this one was called Vulcan, but who even knows) was headed our way (and by "our" way, I don't mean just Ohio, I mean pretty much the entire country). With this impending doom approaching, I traveled down to Columbus (from Canton) with extreme concern that I somehow would get stuck down there and caught in some icy/wintry mess.
I arrived safely the night before with not a snowflake in sight. However, when I woke up the day of the race, I saw a curtain of the white stuff being poured onto the streets of C-Bus! Last year's Arnold Pump & Run 5K was pretty cold and miserable, and this year it looked like the tradition would continue.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Pump & Run combines brute strength with aerobic ability into one unique fitness event. One must bench press his or her own body weight as many times as possible (pump) and then hit the streets for a 5K race (run). Thirty seconds is taken off of their finishing time for every full rep they were able to bench press earlier that morning. These snowy conditions pretty much sucked the fun out of the event, and really took away my motivation and excitement. Thankfully, I had a lot of friends on board for the event, which was the only thing keeping my spirts up (you have to love a little friendly competition amongst frat bros).
I made my way through the snow-covered roads and met up with my friends/fraternity brothers/former roomates/fitness buds Matt, Richard, Steve, and Jim. These guys had an upper-hand, since they all workout together and actually train accordingly. I, on the other hand, use P90X for my workout regimen, which does not include bench pressing. Today's event would therefore be my yearly bench press!
We all weighed in and then hopped up to bench press. I managed to get 10 reps, which is the exact same as I did last year. Although, I weighed a bit less this year and my form was no good. Steve got 2 reps, Jim and Matt each had 7 reps, and Richard blew us all out of the park with 30 reps (the max they will allow). We then prepared ourselves mentally and physically for the frozen tundra of a race course that laid ahead.
Arnold about to give us the countdown to start the race!
Honestly, this was a moment in my running career that I hope to block out of my memory, as it was so cold and snowy and dreadful that I really don't want to give much of a recap. The ground was so slushy and slippery, it made it REALLY hard to run. Even the big man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, advised us to "be careful, we want you all to be able to say 'I'LL BE BACK'" right before he gave us the countdown. And while it was of course really cool to have the Terminator counting down for us, my excitement level just couldn't rise!!
I look like Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat here. Miserable.
At least this year I was decked out in so much winter gear - including my blue ski mask from my ski trip to Denver - that I didn't feel like I was going to lose any digits to frostbite! My time ended up being around 26:46, which, all things considered was not so bad (one of my friends - he who shall not be named -didn't even finish past the 2-mile mark because he was so miserable). With 5 minutes shaved off because of the "pump" portion of the event, this gave me a time of 21:46, placing me at 411/610 overall.
Running definitely tests your strength in a number of ways. And when the elements of Mother Nature are working against you, you might end up having a race that just isn't all that fun. Hey, at least I got a cool medal!