Friday, January 16, 2009

Finding Balance in a Runner's World

I have a problem. Often what my brain deems attainable and what my body actually can accomplish are two completely different things. In my head, I'm a runner. I run with the grace and agility which only a seasoned runner possesses. However, when I make the conscious choice to get my rear in gear a few things happen. One, I have to concentrate to stay in the middle of the treadmill, least I fall off. Two, I'm pumping my arms as I jog/run and my iPod cord keeps hitting me in the face (very distracting). Three, I continue to push myself just a little bit further and longer than I think I can go.

Tonight I decided I would try to jog at a lower speed for a longer amount of time (like my friend Melissa suggested.) I warmed up a little and when I thought I was ready, I bumped up the speed to 4mph (not much, I realize) and began to jog. I was completely amazed that for a good solid three minutes, I felt no pain and was incredibly proud of myself for going that long!! It even crossed my mind that I might be able to keep it up for a longer amount of time. However, that's about the time I hit my first wall.

Now realize I'm only three days into this new routine. While my head really wants to do more, I need to find some kind of balance and allow my body to slowly catch up. Perhaps one day down the road, I'll be ready for more. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm just starting out. It's not often you hit the ground running out the starting gate, so I shouldn't be too hard on myself. Alas, I'm my own worst critic.

I decided I would then do a rotation of alternately jogging/walking quickly. Every few minutes, I'd bump the speed back up and go for as long as I could; sometimes a little more. And then, just when I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, my legs turned into tree trunks. I had shooting pains in my lower back and my feet felt as though they'd just been sunk into cement blocks. Unfortunately, my cardio for tonight was over. But really, I think I did well, regardless of how it might sound. I did .81 of a mile in 16 minutes. Not bad at all.

I then met up with my friend ARV who was doing weights. I didn't have much left in me, so I wanted to just hang out with her while she worked. Though, I ended up doing more than I thought I could. We just started working on this new ab machine. You climb onto it, kneel on the pad, then roll/slide back and forth only using your abs for momentum. I did three counts of 20 on each side (left, middle and right).

And then, just for fun, because I fully believed I couldn't do it, I was going to show ARV just how inept I was at this exercise. It's kind of hard to explain.... but it's the one where you are only supported by your elbows and you gradually bring your knees to your chest or bring you legs straight out in front of you. Once I saw that I could do it, I ended up doing around 25 in all. Wow. I shouldn't ever not try something for fear of how it might make me look or if I believe I can't do something. I'm learning that I'm stronger than even I know and I can do most things, especially once I set my mind to do it!! Geez, there's no stopping me then!! (In fact, the lady at the front desk, Jan, who always checks us in was there again tonight. I said, "Jan, you're always here." She smiled at me and said, "So are you.")

So the key that I'm looking for is balance. I have to figure out my speed, endurance and ability to power through whatever pain I might be in. Any runners out there have any suggestions on how to get started? Please leave your comments. I'd love to hear.


Staceystace said...

Hi, Meredith! Everytime I try to comment I get distracted with something or someone, so I am determined to comment!!

I have wanted to start running for a long time, but although I am in decent shape overall, I am very weak as it pertains to having enough breath to run even a short distance. All I can say is you are doing awesome with your fitness habits and you inspire me to stay more consistent. I just wish we could work out together. Bummer that my membership is at the university by default. Keep it up, girl!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Keep at it! I completely understand how you feel about viewing an obstacle and thinking that you can't "do it", but going for it anyway. It's that faith thing, huh? And people say the lessons we learned in Sunday School don't apply today! ^_^