I am tired and sweaty and … well … feeling great.
The good thing about blogging is that it forces me to think about fitness regularly, and, eventually, I get so tired of my own excuses that there is nothing left to do but just get to it.
This evening I saw a narrow window of opportunity – what with one kid at guitar lessons and another playing basketball, and I climbed on our only somewhat functional treadmill. (Only two buttons work, but, as it turns out, those two are all that I need. If only they worked all the time.)
Anyway, today was my first run in what must be months. I didn’t go far. I didn’t go fast. But I went, and my somewhat beat-up old body is thanking me, and even begging me to do that again tomorrow.
Who knew? Maybe I might just get better at this fitness stuff yet. Maybe.
Short entry tonight. I’m going to try to tackle some other goals now.
A little key lime pie. A glass of wine. Some really cool ski gloves from my husband.
Yeah, I’m content. And I don’t even feel guilty.
See, I’ve climbed back on that treadmill and ate a ton of veggies. What’s more, I edged closer to my 5K goal. Today I logged 2.4 miles. That’s .6 miles to go.
So, I’m quite sore, but not too guilty.
Maybe I can do this.
That freaking hard journey
Tonight, however, I am waxing philosophical and thinking the goal is not so much the thing.
We all think about that one shining moment when we reach our goals – lose that weight, scale that mountain, finish that race, wave that golden flag with toned arms and a completely flab-free body.
But it’s not really all about that moment, is it? It’s about the struggle – the freaking hard trek that, odds are, won’t leave us looking like Sarah Jessica Parker.
You work. You stretch. You reach. You fall. You get up again. And you suck. And then you somehow suck a little less.
It’s a hard, frustrating journey that you try to pack into your already too full life, but, if you pay attention – if you look beyond the pain and sweat and (if you’re like me) horror at your own clumsiness – you might just notice:
These fitness blogs, they talk of working to the point of failure as a good thing. You push beyond your bounds. (http://bit.ly/zxmaC7) It’s the way you grow.
And that’s what it is really about. Isn’t it?
Twenty minutes nonstop running – if you can call it that – at my snail’s pace.
It took way longer than the five weeks it was supposed to. (I don’t even want to count how many more.)
Now, I should tell you that it was lovely, right? That it just felt soooo good.
Well, the truth is, it sucked.
Then it didn’t suck so much.
Then it felt good because I was done, and I had done it.
And now, it hurts. (I should stretch more.) But I’m actually kind of looking forward to trying it again tomorrow. Is this what masochism is?
Somewhere in the middle of scooping up kids, getting food, sending a few rounds of work emails, doing homework for my class, helping one son clean his gerbil cage and helping the other complete his really, really cool science project – note the awesome electronic Operation game to the right – I finally worked out.
I didn’t do it well. My goal is a 20 minute stretch. I did it with a short one-minute pulse check break last Monday. Maybe I’ll top that tomorrow, but not tonight.
Short breaks from my slow moves were the order of the night. Yet, I am happy. I’m back on the resolution bandwagon. And my son’s science project? It’s cool.
(Oh, yeah, Steve, he reminds me of you.)
Anyway, I was watching a scene where he was chasing and chasing and chasing the bad guy, and I thought if it were me – if I were magically transported into a Hollywood movie land where I had to run like that to save the world – I’d die, and the world would simply have to die with me. Sorry, world.
Unless, of course, the bad guys ran at a pace of 4.5 miles per hour.
My magical snail’s pace
That pace, 4.5 miles per hour, is a brisk walk for Steve and maybe everyone else on earth. For me, it’s all I can manage if I am to run for five or more minutes.
I’ve learned this over the past few weeks.
I think I mentioned before my issues with the four-week mark in the Couch to 5K training program. At that point, you move from running three minutes at a time to five minutes at a time.
I started off doing this at five or six miles per hour, and thought I was going to die. Really. I thought my heart might burst.
There was this problem with “chest pain.” (See http://goo.gl/MH8G.) Lymphatic massage helped that. But even so, when I ran at that not-so-very-fast pace for more than a minute or two, I began to feel like my heart was going to burst right through my chest. Then, this other weird thing would happen: I’d smell blood when I breathed through my nose.
Yes, yes, yes. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the near future, and this will be a subject of conversation then. But, according to my Google searches, the smelling-blood thing is not so unusual when you have exercise-induced asthma, which I do. And perhaps feeling like my heart will burst has more to do with my breathing than anything else as well. I’ll get it checked.
Meanwhile, making my workout work
In the meantime, however, I have pieced together this much: I need to continue to work my efforts up gradually – even if the Couch to 5K program has some drastic jumps. At least they seem drastic to me. Heck, in Week 5 it gets worse. The program has you going from a five-minute run to an eight-minute run to a 20-minute run. Yipes.
After barely making it through Week 4, I knew I wasn’t ready for this, so I did Week 4 twice and finally found success running (or shall I say jogging) for five minutes at a time when I did it at my magical 4.5 pace.
Now, I’ve moved into Week 5, and today I made it through an eight-minute jog at that pace. Yes, I may be a snail, but I’m a snail who can now creep for eight minutes and feel awesome during and after it. That’s progress.
I even have some new-found calf muscles to show for it.
The question remains, however, can I do it for 20 minutes tomorrow?
Contemplating that, somehow I feel like Ethan Hunt – Tom Cruise’s character – about to drive off a 15-story cliff. But at least I don’t have to save the world while I’m doing it.