Friday, February 22, 2013

Trial by fire

I started refereeing rugby recently because I can't keep losing more of my left meniscus and this seems like the best way to stay involved in the sport without having to undergo any more surgeries. I asked the scheduler to assign me some games for the upcoming season and so far most of them have been boys and girls high school matches, which is typically how you begin your refereeing career. But then I got the schedule for the second half of March and lo and behold, I'm reffing a Division II senior women's match. And by "senior" I don't mean the women that spend their days in Florida playing shuffle board, but more like the people my age: Too old for college rugby but too young for the Olde Girls. They're still pretty good.

Let's just say that I'm a little terrified, only if "a little" means "incredibly". Not only am I not comfortable reffing such a high-paced game that is going to be full of infractions, but I am not in shape to run for 80 minutes straight. Typically that comes out to about 3-4 miles, with stoppages and play staying in one spot, but that is still way more than I've been running recently. I think I'm up to a little over 2 miles at an 11+ mile/minute pace, but that includes stopping to walk every 3 minutes. In short, I'm nowhere near OK to referee that match.

It's a month away so I still have time, but I definitely have the fear of God in me. Prior to going to visit my parents last week, I was so done with running. I think most of this was the fear of suddenly having to run for 3 minutes straight (I'm back to doing Couch to 10k and had just begun Week 3), but I just wasn't having it. I probably could've walked faster than I was running at the time.

But then California happened, and the sunshine and warmth and vegetation in said sunshine and warmth somehow made me start running again. It actually began to I switched up the music on my iPod and since I was at sea level my pace dramatically increased, both of which contributed to this fun version of torture.

Then I came back to snowy Colorado and didn't feel like doing anything all over again. My knee was bugging me because I had been running on concrete in California so that was a way to justify sitting on the couch, as were the six inches of snow we got a couple of days ago.

This laziness lasted until I got the "You're reffing the women's match in a month" email. And so today I went for a run over snow-covered trails in the frigid temperatures. If not for the burrito from lunch that kept wanting to come back up, I think I could've had fun and run a decent pace. But I had pushed myself too hard on the first interval (9:47 min/mile for three minutes) and every time I had to run after that I wanted to vomit.

Other than that, it was beautiful outside and with this game hanging over my head I have suddenly found motivation to push myself while running, which is something I've struggled with for a while. I can torture myself to near-exhaustion on the bike but for some reason as soon as I get winded when running I just give up. But I want to be a good referee and for that to happen I need to be in running shape. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to run more and harder so it's a necessary evil.

Moral of this very long story: Don't eat burritos before running, and fear of failure is a great motivator.

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