If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.
Hey, remember when I posted about green issues all the time? I do. And I still want to, but it’s hard for me to discern what people want to read about. I feel like we’ve hit a wall of “as green as we gonna be” without making the investment in solar panels or an electric car, and that I’ve talked those “little steps” to death. As we hurtle into the Christmas season, I can pick up some slack by sharing some eco-friendly gift ideas, but rounding the corner into 2013 I’m going to have to think through where I want this blog to go. Any input is appreciated 🙂
Lately, my life mainly revolves around work and my attempts to whip my health into shape. I’m still running; I’ve just started following the training plan for a half marathon. Not that I have a specific half in mind that I’m training toward (although I do have my eye on the Disney World Princess Half), but because it feels easier to have rules and instructions. Week before last, I ran 4.5 miles, and I’m pretty sure that’s the first time in my life I’ve ever done that. This past Sunday I ran five.
I didn’t want to. My knee has been bugging me— just the one, not both like years past. I did it anyway because it was on my schedule. I got about .18 miles before I really wanted to stop; I felt all gimpy, I wasn’t fully extending my right leg and the stride on my left was weird as it compensated. I told myself I’d do a mile.
I felt OK after a mile so I figured I’d go 5k.
At 5k I thought, well, hell, I’m more than halfway there. I’ll go four miles and walk the last mile.
And at four miles my knee finally relaxed and the last mile was cake.
I wasn’t watching the time and I thought I took the whole thing pretty slow. I was wrong, apparently. I finished with an overall pace about the same as my 3 mile runs.
Is this boring? I’m sorry. It’s thrilling to me, the idea that I went out there and did it anyway. I’m winning the mental game. And the knowledge that sticking with it even when I wanted to stop, loosened that knee up so I could run comfortably? Mind blowing.
The next day I went to my second swim class.
The first class was hugely humbling and vaguely humiliating. The instructor has me show her how I would swim “if I could” and afterwards she laughed and said, “Wow. You really have no idea what you’re doing.” Yes, darling. That’s why I’m here, and that’s why I said, “I don’t know how to swim. I’ve never really tried and I don’t particularly like being in the water.”
It’s exhausting. I’m working muscles that have been lying dormant, my lower back aches as I try to keep my legs up. I feel like I can only remember one thing at a time: kick, stroke, breathe.
It’s exhilarating. I’ve been afraid my whole life. I’m still afraid, but I’m out there. I’m doing it.
I’ve been mocked for not knowing how to swim my whole life. Sat on the edge of the pool or waited on the beach while everybody else went off without me. Being excluded doesn’t smart any less as you grow older.
Soon I’ll know how to swim, and then I’ll work to do better. Faster. Stronger. I’ll never be as good a swimmer as those who have done it all their lives, who don’t even remember learning, but I’ll always be better than I was just two weeks ago.
Between the five mile run and the swim class my legs were trash Tuesday, so I rested up. Yesterday I tried to get 3 miles in, but my muscles were still way stiff and sore. I hit 1.8 before the sun dipped behind the trees and I called it a day.
This, too, is a huge step forward. I may not have hit my goal distance, but I put the sneaks on and I tried. I was tired and I needed a break— and I took it, going to bed earlier than usual. HUGE STEP FORWARD. I know the sleep will only help me do better next time.
I think I’m going to start adding in more yoga to help build up my core for swimming, and to help me stretch and relax those muscles after.
I want to find something fun to look forward to each week. Tap class, mayhaps? Rock climbing?
I’m going to keep racing through the cold months for objective feedback on my progress. And I’m totally signing up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving so I can eat with impunity. Self-help magazines be damned, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I’m gonna eat it up.
I’m taking my vitamins, drinking my protein shakes, eating regularly. It’s dumb that I have to list those as achievements, but they are so I am.
I feel like my health is something I’m transforming instead of something that just happens, that I have to accept and shape my life around.
For the first time since I started blogging in 2008, I’m not dreading the winter ahead. The months of being trapped indoors waiting for fair weather to return. I know I’ll keep running through the cold and it will suck. But it will get me outside. It will keep my spirits alive.
I’m just getting warmed up.
Do Vitamin C shoelaces help?
They sure do. I never thought I’d be that person who wore neon bright sneakers— in fact I would search high and low for plain black kicks that didn’t draw attention to my giantess feet— but these guys make me feel cheerful. See those “sticky” grey treads? They’re great for quick off the line sprints, for the fast changes in direction on the basketball court (I would often slip in my old Pumas, which admittedly were past their prime, but embarrassing all the same when you’re coaching tween boys), for the machines at the gym. Comfy and flexible and crazy light: when they arrived, I had no idea the package had shoes inside, it was so light.
They’re Reebok RealFlex Fusion TRs. Check this video on RealFlex technology, it’s pretty neat:
Fun fact: I first wore these shoes to go vote on Election Day, and Instagrammed a photo with the hashtag #BokTheVote. I thought Jeff was going to wriggle out of his skin in embarrassment for me.
Sweatshirts with thumbholes help too. Grey and black sweatshirts over tank tops are pretty much my standard uniform through the cold months. Most of mine are hand-me-downs from my husband or brother, so they’re big and frumpy. I’ve created my own thumbholes in a lot of them where the sleeve meets the wristband, which is comfy but admittedly looks a little… I don’t know… sloppy. I don’t know what it is that makes thumbholes so satisfying; it’s not like I usually go around marveling at how cold my wrists are. I think I just like the comfort of sleeves that aren’t too short, and it’s nice to have that in a sweatshirt that isn’t also huge and formless.
This is the Reebok Play Dry Jacket (but really it’s a sweatshirt, dangit). It has a lot of flexibility and is surprisingly warm for how streamlined it is. You know how I hate when my clothes are too grabby; this is flatteringly form-fitting without me feeling tight in my man-shoulders. It comes in (modern) blue and pink (excuse me, aubergine) too, for those of you who don’t wear grey like it’s your signature color.
So that’s my big secret to getting out the door. Put the gear on. Hear your husband and kids say, “Oh, going running? To the gym?” It makes it about 1000x harder to wuss out.
Want a chance to win some Reebok gear of your own?
I’m co-hosting a Twitter chat (using the @FitFluential handle) with @Reebok TONIGHT at 9pm EST. We’re going to be talking about ways to #getafterit through the holiday season. And FIVE randomly-drawn, super-lucky chatters will win a $100 Reebok gift card to choose some gear that puts a smile on their face, a spring in their step and their ass out the door.
Disclosure: I received the shoes and jacket shown here free of charge for review purposes through my work at FitFluential. All opinions my own.