track town USA - Page 3

Life of a Runner: Love vs. Hate Relationship

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When I first signed up for the Eugene marathon I had planned on building a base so that upping the mileage in January didn’t come as a shock to my body. I made it a personal benchmark to be able to comfortably go on a 10-12 mile long run every 1-2 weeks come August.

However, these past 3 weeks I’ve been out of commission with pneumonia. The first two weeks I spent on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother, and I took the third one off from running because I still couldn’t laugh without inducing a coughing fit. Going on a run probably wouldn’t have been the best idea.

Fatigue when starting up running can be a major turn-off at first. persistence through can pay dividends

Throughout the three weeks, I had been going through running-withdrawals. You runners know what I’m talking about—it’s torture, isn’t it? You’ve got to turn down your running buddies texting you about meeting up for a run; the weather always seems to be ironically at its best when you’re actually taking time off (whether the time off is voluntary or not). Basically, you can’t wait for that first run back.

But here’s the thing about that first run back: it usually is way more challenging then you’d expect. It’s never how I imagine it to be. During my time spent pining for exercise the idealized first run usually looks something like this: the weather is great, I’m finally back out there, running feels just as comfortable as
it did the last time. But who are we kidding?

After a couple weeks off, the first run actually looks more like this: I feel extremely out of shape, breathing has never been more uncomfortable, and I’m itching all over and wondering if during my time off I’ve actually become allergic to running. (But I’m not—I looked it up, the all-over itch that runners sometimes feel on a first run back is caused by blood vessels reopening after shrinking during their hiatus from exercise. Not an allergy).

Despite the irritation, or rather, because of the difficulty of a first run back, I am always more motivated than ever to get back into the shape I was before. Once you’ve been at a certain level of fitness, each time you fall from it you feel like you need to get back to that level. Or maybe you don’t feel that way, but I sure do.

The only exception for me is that I will never be motivated again to be in the kind of shape I was when I ran collegiately, and because of that, I am destined to never feel like I’m in “really good shape” for the rest of my life. But I’ve more than come to terms with that now, and I enjoy the freer range of food options I allow myself because of it.

I have a confession to make though, and I think a lot of you might relate to me on this. Unless it happens at a time when I am seriously training for an upcoming race, when something keeps me from running for a while, even if it’s just for a day, my initial reaction is, “sweet, at least I don’t have to run.

Morning runs are also a struggle for those who’d much rather just stay curled-up in bed (Thomas Hawk Photography)

What? I don’t want to run even though I’ve just told you how I’ve been craving it the last 3 weeks? You’re probably thinking that I’m obviously a fraud of a running columnist, but hear me out. I think that this readiness to jump at the perfect excuse not to run is because, though I love running so much, it truly is a love/hate relationship. It can change from monthly to daily on whether the love is outweighing the hate or vice versa.

For instance, certain afternoons in class my eyes can’t help drifting out the window as I’m longing for a run. On other days, (particularly in the mornings) I am convinced that lacing up my Nikes and going running is the very last item on the list of things I want to do that day. The key is knowing when to give yourself a break and when to get out the door anyways, but that’s a topic for another day.

I think that the first run back is a prime example of the love/hate aspect of running. As impatiently as I’ve awaited that run, it inevitably feels less-than-awesome and during the run itself there are distinct points where I am wishing I was elsewhere. And, despite the discomfort, that unpleasant first run just makes me want to run more. Running sounds like a high school couple’s hormonal relationship, which is actually a rather fitting description considering that endorphins are hormones too.

So if running is love/hate, what makes us as runners still get out there even when we’re feeling heavy on the hate? Most runners I’ve talked with would say that it’s a part of them. They feel that they have to run. Not merely in order to stay in shape, nor only when they have a specific goal to work towards, but just to run for the sake of running itself. I’d say that in the love/hate relationship that is running, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Until next time, I’ll see you on the trails!

7 Tips for New University of Oregon Students

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By Adam Chimeo for Eugene Daily News

The University of Oregon is an exciting place to be. Students are enrolling in ever-increasing  numbers and the University has repeatedly gained national attention in varied fields of excellence. For a first year student, college can be overwhelming. Here are 7 tips that I believe will improve your wild ride at the U of O.

Welcome to Eugene. It’s good to be a Duck.

1. Sports – Yes, we all know how great Oregon football is. But hear me out. There are other sports besides football. I know, this is truly hard to believe. The truth is, Eugene football season has a way of hypnotizing us with its 90-yard touchdowns and 4th-down conversions to the point where we’re still talking about it in June. Football is awesome, but so is volleyball, baseball, basketball and track — as well as all the other sports at U of O.

2. Disc Golf – If you haven’t played this game yet, then get out of your dorm right now and head to one of Eugene’s awesome parks. Disc golf is the perfect way to enjoy a sunny day. It is low-intensity and a great way to get to know new friends from class. A full set of frisbees can be as cheap as 25 dollars. There are two courses that are a short bus ride away (which is free to ride with your student ID) The Westmoreland course is located on 18th and Fillmore. Alton Baker Park is located just north of the University.  Both offer a scenic route and entertaining obstacles.

3. Running/Hiking – They don’t call it Track Town USA for nothing. Eugene has some stupendous running trails throughout the city. Alton Baker Park is the largest park in Eugene and is fantastic for long distance runners. Also, located conveniently close to campus, the Adidas Amazon Trail is a mile-long loop that runs through the park and is cushioned with bark chips. For those of you who shudder at the idea of running for pleasure, Eugene also has a lot of impressive hiking trails that range from leisurely to challenging. Be sure to check out both Mount Pigsah and Spencers Butte before the rain finds out it is fall and we all get drenched on a regular basis.

4. Food – Where would we be without it? It will not be long before you start to crave anything that does not come from the kitchens of Hamilton. Track Town Pizza is just across Franklin and is a great place to watch a game if you cannot snag a ticket. Caspian’s is a staple in almost every student’s diet. If you’re looking for a great sandwich then you have to go to Chebahut on 11th and High Street (a location that goes well with their over-the-top weed theme.) If you are feeling really adventurous then you should visit the west side of Eugene and eat at Papa’s Soul Food at 400 Blair blvd. This place is absolutely incredible and has great barbecue. My personal favorite is their chicken and waffles. While you are in the area be sure to stop by Sweet Life Patisserie for a treat. It is the only dessert shop that somehow manages to be both classy and affordable.

Be sure to check out both Mount Pigsah and Spencers Butte before the rain finds out it is fall.

5. Movies – For those of you who came from a major city, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with how cheap it is to see a movie here. With your student ID you can see a movie for under 8 dollars at the Valley River Center. Another movie spot is the Bijou, a local art cinema blocks away from the university. On Mondays they show select features for three dollars a ticket. But the real deal lies in Springfield at the Gateway Mall. For under 2 dollars you can see movies that have recently left the regular theaters. There are also a lot of opportunities to see free screenings of movies on campus, so keep your eyes peeled

6. Music – Eugene has some pretty sweet venues, most of which are bars (sorry, minors.) John Henry’s, Speakeasy, and Sam Bond’s have regular live bands perform and good drink specials. Also, the Hult Center and the Cuthbert usually draw in great bands (such as the Shins who play at the Hult this Friday.) The Campbell Club and the Lorax allow minors and usually have some local bands play on the weekends. Truth be told, the best live music can usually be found at house parties.

7. Study – Studying can be difficult sometimes, and studying in the dorms can be near impossible. I would suggest exploring the campus and searching for your own personal study nook. The U of O Science Library is a nice place to be alone and read. It is usually not as crowded as the Knight Library. The EMU has some really cool places as well, if you are willing to seek them out.  It would be wise to get to know your classmates as well. Having a friend in class can really help out once final exams and group presentations start popping up.

The best advice I can give you is this: Be social! Don’t feel nervous about introducing yourself to strangers. Students at the U of O tend to be friendly. Meeting new people will make your life so much more bearable when the stressful times in college come around. So take a chance — Eugenians are generally very welcoming.

Welcome to Eugene. It’s good to be a Duck.