This is not about running. This is about realizations. There is a saying I tend to parrot from time to time, “if you want it bad enough you will make it happen.” I’ve said it many, many times to Kisa. I’ve said it to myself from time to time. It’s true. The drive to do something is hidden in the desire.
Case in point. The 1000km challenge. I finished it. I. Finished. It. 1001 kilometers to be precise. Despite a bad cough and a burning need to be anywhere else I found myself pounding out the last mile on New Year’s Eve. I’m happy I did it, but not happy about the way it ended. Each run was getting more and more difficult. Yes, I could run nine miles but I needed to start at a pace of 12 minute miles and I was never faster than 10.54 at the end. My quads would burn at the beginning of the run and not the end. I can’t imagine running St. Pat’s right now. But, I finished the challenge because I said I would.
Since I’m not running, here are the things I have taken up to occupy my time. These are my words to live by:
- Yoga. Not just the kind for runners
- Books. Science fiction (Hyperion)
- Movies. See every Academy award winning movie (best picture, documentary and animation). Blogs coming soon.
- Strong…as in…wait for it…weight training. A friend of mine is hitting it hard in the gym. I can’t bench press 150 like she can, but let’s see how strong this grace can be.
I am feeling beyond ridiculous. On January 11th I joined an eight-week workout/diet challenge. I felt that it would be a good companion to the run while the numbers were relatively small. Translation: I am building my mileage back up for May but wanted to start with modest 3-4 mile runs. I felt that physically AND mentally I could handle the extra gym time.
Week one – so far, so good. Managed to do every plyo, HIIT and strength training workout (six days that first week) AND hit my mileage goal of 12.5.
Week two – the workouts suffered a little when a dental appointment turned dangerous. During an xray they found something “weird” in my neck and I needed more scrutiny. By the time I got home I didn’t have time for the HIIT workout. Since it was a no-run day I didn’t worry about it. However, by the end of the week I had also skipped a run, missing the weekly mileage goal by six huge miles.
Week three – disaster strikes midweek. Monday’s workout was fine. Tuesday’s workout was fine. Wednesday’s workout SEEMED fine until I took one step on the treadmill. Pain like I have never felt before shot up my quad and into my groin. Without a second thought I stopped New Guinea, shut off the light and left the gym. I knew I was done. Thursday I couldn’t put pressure on my leg without pain shooting up my leg and into my back. Friday was more on the same, but I hobbled through a charity ball. By Sunday the pain had subsided and I could walk somewhat normally again.
Week four – Monday the pain was a flicker that made me believe I could start to work out again…albeit, gently and slowly. I decided to give it one more day just to make absolutely sure. Tuesday…my birthday. Drama. I wake up with a throat on fire, a cough to bring up a lung and more snot coming out of my nose than needed to drown a dog. Stayed in bed the entire day. Sneezed my way through the rest of the week. No run. Nothing.
Week five – Here it is, week five. The nose is still running and the hip sings a little now and then but now I’m feeling completely ridiculous. When will this nonsense be over? I want to run! St. Pats is a little more than a month away and I have done NOTHING to prepare. At this time last year I was putting up big (and painless) numbers. Today – not a single step. Could this be my very first DNS? I shudder to think. What if I’m not ready? More importantly – this dreaded thought…The redemption half marathon of Alton Bay is 88 days away. Right now, at this moment, 13.1 sounds so stupid. At this moment I’m afraid to run a mile. Singular. Mile. Never mind twelve more. Ridiculous.
As an aside, the Fish sent me a text, “I never ran 26.3”
As I creep towards the middle of week two of the Stronger Challenge I am noticing small changes. Some good: Monday’s “Fire” challenge was more fun because I was able to keep up and push myself even harder and Tueday’s “Iron” was a success because I didn’t quit on the pushups this time around. My arms hurt, but in a good way. Some bad: last night’s run was a little wonky. 3.16 miles in 33 minutes. Slow! And my ribs hurt and not in a good way.
Once again, I am slacking on the yoga. The reason? I run out of time. If I’m not joining Nicky on the floor or running on the treadmill I’m spinning in my head. Confessional: I am being tormented by crazy guilt. Without going into too much detail – I have this friend who is a raging alcoholic…and I mean RAGING. We have had a very distant, as really not close, relationship. In the past we never even so much as spoke on the phone, exchanged a Christmas card or knew each other’s birthday. Bordering on acquaintance more than friend, I would say. When she texted the words “help me. can we talk?” a week after Christmas I opened the door and we talked for two hours. I haven’t been able to close that door since. It’s nonstop. The cries for help. Trigger=panic words like Goodbye. I care about nothing. I’m fading fast. On and on it goes. All hours of the night. Last night I shut my phone down for fear that I would never stop responding to the wolf cries. Exactly when does it stop? Does it stop when I turn a cold heart into a frozen solid shut heart? Does it end when she suddenly kills someone on one of her bleary, one-eyed, drives to the liquor store? Or does it end when she finally makes good on her promise to hang from the rafters? Of course not. The question then becomes How far-reaching will be my guilt? Can I will myself to go blind with indifference? Will I really breathe a sigh of relief when it ends, no matter how?
The truth of the matter is thus: The iron is in the fire. It’s burning. It’s only a matter of time before I am branded as the girl who can’t (won’t?) help.
Categories: Charity, Confessional, life, running
Tags: Confessional, family, friendship, games, guilt, insane moments, running, strength, training
I can officially say I am done with Week One of the Stronger Challenge (LiveStrong). Did I have a favorite routine? Not sure. Ask me again at the end of Week Two, after I’ve done every routine a second time. I know Ignite is low on my list because I just can’t explode with movement like I would like to. It will get easier, I’m sure. It has to!
For the last Day (Day VI) of the challenge we revisited the “soldier” routine. I’m still laughing my way through the superman punch but the long jump/pedal back was easier and I kept up with the split leg burpees this time. I’m still nervous about my knees so the “make it rain” squats (which look downright silly, by the way) worry me. I go as gentle as I can but I still fear damage and that LAST thing I want to do is hurt the run. And you know how much The Run means to me.
And speaking of the run. Today is a day off from the Stronger Challenge but. But! But, it’s my scheduled long run day. YES! I finally will get to run over five miles. I haven’t seen five miles since the LV mara NINE weeks ago. Because St Pat’s is a 10k I honestly won’t feel good about this race until I have run at least six again. And hills! I neeeed to work on hills! Oh! and speaking of St. Pat’s! I think I have someone to run with! His name is Jay and NOT the Jay you think you know. 😉 From here on out I’ll refer to this Jay as Millz. More on him later…
But, St Pats is months away…For now let’s get back to the Stronger Challenge. For this first week I give myself a solid B+ for the exercise. I didn’t miss a day and I kept up with the run as well. Things to improve on: don’t skimp on yoga, get in 13 miles running & work on plyo! That was the good news. The bad news is that I absolutely sukced at the diet part of the challenge. I’ll give myself a D because I never got my hands on figs, I didn’t keep up with every menu and, dare I confess? Yes. I had donuts for breakfast two days in a row. Yes. Donuts. They are from a teeny tiny Polish bakery I adore just up the road. End of story. Things to improve on: try harder to have the meals as prescribed and NO donuts. HA!
Day V of the Stronger Challenge felt a little wonky. Maybe that’s because my “Refuel” workout from the day before also included a 4+ mile run. Maybe (and this is probably closer to the truth), maybe I’m just not used to the explosion moves in the “Ignite” workout. Here’s my pre-workout routine: Hours before I usually watch the workout sitting at my desk at work, if only to get the moves in my head before trying to copy them from a phone at home. Sitting in a library (can you picture it?) trying to watch five beautiful people struggle through this workout was not encouraging at all. 99% of the time workout videos don’t include physically unfit people so if these guys were struggling I knew I would be in serious trouble. And I was. I won’t lie. I got home, changed and mentally tried to prepare myself for the insane moves I was about to miserably fail at doing. I’ll be honest. I have a hard time with regular pushups, never mind the kind where you explode off the ground and into the air two feet. And those tuck jumps?! My knees were begging for mercy before I even began. Every time I did a squat I heard my knees popping and grinding, complaining and bitching. They’re the reason a certain doctor told me to “take up swimming” instead of run. I knew there was no way my poor knees were going to let me launch myself into the air. Duh- Moment Admission: I stayed low for most of the routine. Duh! That doesn’t mean I stopped. At no time did I wave the white flag. I just kept it close by for security purposes. Here’s what I need to tell myself: this is only week one. I’m not trying for gold at this stage of the game. Hell, this is supposed to be just for fun (or funny).
There was no run to speak of on “Ignite” day.
And we won’t even talk about the diet.
Day VI of the Stronger Challenge is a repeat: Soldier. Let’s just see what happens when I revisit that can of worms!
Day IV of the Stronger Challenge. “Refuel.” Still a good workout only a little more low key. Low intensity cardio and strength moves. Right up my alley, especially when it’s a run day.
My observations so far: Nicky is a cool instructor/trainer. Has a lot of affirmations and go-get-’em rally cries. Stuff like, “Sweat is weakness leaving your body!” Luckily, he hasn’t stooped to “no pain, no gain”. Otherwise I would have to reach through my monitor and punch him. I like that he introduces his class beyond their names; tells us a little something about each person (like ex-military, mother of three, former Rockette…that kind of thing).
My trouble move of the workout turned out to be something called a Scorpion. I’ll see if I can describe this thing: basically, you lie on your stomach with your arms out to form a cross with your body. From here, bring your right foot to opposite hand. Can you picture it? In that position it is nearly impossible to tell how far away your foot is from your hand or how horribly wrong your form is (or isn’t). I hoped for the best but prayed I didn’t sprain something in the process. Because this was a 41 minute low-key workout I can safely give it an A-.
The run was good. At first I worried I would be overdoing it but after the first mile I was able to settle down, quiet the mind and just go. I got 4.23 miles in before New Guinea told me time was up. For the record, I am up to 21.8 miles for the 100 mile challenge…with two weeks to go in the first month. Think I can do it? Ha!
Much later in the evening I was able to get in a 15 minute recovery yoga routine. Very simple. My new love is a move with no name. Lie on your back, cross your legs tight, take a foot in each hand and gently pull them up and out until you feel a gentle stretch where you need it most, quads, glutes, calves…It’s a great one to just hang out in. Love it!
The meal part of this whole adventure has been terrible! I’m barely following the suggested menu. I feel like completely giving up for this week and starting fresh on Monday. Today, just to give you an example, I was supposed to have waffles for breakfast. Something about peanut butter and coffee, too. Instead, I had a Belvita breakfast bar and cottage cheese. Lunch is supposed to be this crazy elaborate tuna salad concoction. I’m sure if I planned ahead like a good girl I would be prepared for said salad. But, I’m not. Instead, I have a huge big of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, a slice of a leftover red bell pepper and a bottle of lemon juice. I think I maybe have a can of tuna in my office desk drawer. I’m really not sure. Dinner is supposed to be tacos. That I might be able to do. Stay tuned.
So. Yesterday was day III of the Stronger Challenge and I have to say my arms are SORE today. It’s all those crazy push ups. Have you seen Dragon push ups? They make me breathe fire, no doubt! But, I’ll get to the aches in a minute.
Day III’s workout was called “Soldier” and it was all the trainer’s favorite moves (think martial arts, superheroes and yes, dragons). Lots of really intense movement. I gave the workout a B+ because there some moves I couldn’t keep up with but I definitely gave it my all. I channeled Billy Blanks for the TaeBo moves, but I couldn’t get the superman punch right to save my life. I’ve never been a break dancer so that floor kick thing was just plain nutty.
As promised, after “Soldier” I did a 30 minute super simple and quick yoga routine with Rebecca Pacheco. Downward dog was interesting because for the first time my shoulders and triceps were killing me. I also noticed a new tremor in my quads that hadn’t been there before. I still need to work out the hips, big time. Truthfully, by the end I was just relieved it wasn’t a run day (note to self: that’s tomorrow, four miles).
Diet. I want to give myself an A for diet because even though I strayed from the prescribed menu (again), I stayed within calorie and nutrition guidelines with one small cheat (72% cacao chocolate- yummy). But, I’ll settle for a B+ again because I will be a very happy girl when I follow just one day of the diet to the letter. I have seven weeks to make that happen, right?
Achy! Did I mention the ache? I wanted to take a picture of this new-found remedy I’m using because it totally rocks, but I forgot. Not only does it work well but it smells great, too. No boys locker room stink! Next blog, I promise.
So, there it is. Day three in the can.
What do you get when you cross an eight-week challenge with a 36-week training schedule? One hell of a good workout! Last night was just shy of spectacular. I’ll get to why it wasn’t over the top in a minute, but first – the workout(s).
Day II of the Stronger Challenge was called “Iron” and was a little easier than “Fire” in that the cardio wasn’t as intense. Instead there were a lot of “pike” position exercises which I was fine with except to say I’m not sure I kept perfect form 100% of the time. My arms are definitely feeling it after the gazillion push ups and my knees definitely do not like squats…of any kind. But, I got through the 34 minute routine with a smile on my face. And it didn’t stop me from the second challenge of my new year. Remember the 36-week thing I alluded to? Well, I had a scheduled three mile run to bang out as well.
Confessional: New Guinea and I ran this one a little slower than our newfound love pace of 10.10, but three miles are in the books. No. More like 3.3 miles in 35 minutes. The only reason why I didn’t call this workout spectacular is because for the second day in a row, no yoga. Last week I did some kind of 30+ minute routine EVERY day and now I’m beginning to feel the absence. Bummer. Maybe tonight. Tonight’s Stronger routine is “Soldier” with no run. Time to visit Christine, Sage or Jessica!
Resolutions and recourse. I’m embarking on a journey of one. Alone with me, myself and moi. It has only been one day so I will not admit Day One out loud. For now it’s all I can do to admit that there has been a day one.
Don’t wish me luck. Luck should have nothing to do with this. I want to succeed purely on the power of my will. My strength and my courage. My resolve. I want my win to be absolute. There should be no question that, should I have to do it again, I would succeed in the same way. No luck about it. No fluke. Leave nothing to chance.
So day one is now. I’m not waiting for 1/1 or 2/2 or even 7/4. My time is now, now. Now!
I didn’t work on the Promises list all that much this last week. For starters it was that time of the month. Once a month I would rather curl up in a ball with a hot water bottle held against my stomach and a cold vodka bottle pressed to my lips. Cramps. Nausea. Bloating. Bleeding. All of it sucks.
The week wasn’t a complete wash. I did manage one elliptical and two runs totaling 6.13 miles. I’ve been concentrating on speed rather than distance if only to get myself out of the weeds. I convinced myself to lift four of the seven days and decided that military pushups are much easier than cobras. I can do 25 military and only 3 cobras! Yikes and yikes. Yoga was decent. For every day that I ran I was loyal to stretching out the hips and holding poses that would be kind to my legs – killer sessions of 20 minutes per side. I am shocked by the muscle definition in my calves and (this week) spent a lot of time double checking them to make sure I wasn’t mutating.
I started writing Just Cause thank you letters in earnest. A good, good friend donated last week completely out of the blue. With everything this woman has going on I was shocked by her generosity and humbled when she said “my mother is dying. just felt like honoring her.” Damn. It’s my favorite donation by far.It just goes to show people can surprise you. In good ways.
On the other hand, I let a few (in)significant dates roll by me: a birthday, an anniversary. I’m learning that an empty room doesn’t open the door so why knock? I don’t. That decision alone has freed me of guilt. Can’t wait to see what other things I let go of in the future. Maybe the Mother Math?
Lastly. I’m packed for Hawaii. It took some doing but I found something that could pass for “Aloha wear.” Something gauzy and colorful and totally not me. I compensated that frivolous purchase with something more my speed – Merrell’s Barefoot Pace Glove shoes. Black. Of course. As SPB would say, “Sah-weeet!” I’m looking forward to giving them a test spin. Stay tuned.
Categories: Charity, Confessional, Fund Raising, Just Cause, life, running
Tags: clothes, donation, exercise, fitness, friendship, Hawaii, Just Cause, running, shopping, strength, yoga