It's March 23 and the Chocolate 5K is finally here! I'm looking all cute in my workout outfit (because that's Important) and I'm stretching and getting hyped like a boss. And I'm chuckling at how my students would laugh if they heard me say "like a boss." The surge of the crowd is overwhelming, the sun on the river is invigorating, and my team of loved ones is inspiring. We're all grinning and high-fiving and pumping each other up. The start is signaled and we're finally off. Two months of training and this is it! I'm happy...and excited...and then I'm slowing down...and falling behind...and waving my team to go on ahead of me...and my legs are hurting so bad I just quit.
Yeah, that's pretty much how I envision it all going down at this point. Sounds about my luck.
But it hasn't been all gloom and doom in Week 2. In fact, most of the week was filled with fun, fitness, and friends. (See, there I go talking about "fun" and "fitness" at the same time again. I'm tellin' ya, things are changing around here!) Here's where the learning curve took me this week.
1. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. If you're like me and the besties, you can have fun anytime anywhere, as long as you're together. Turns out the same goes for getting together to exercise! (Sounds too good to be true, but I promise this ins't an infomercial.) We have all been so stir-crazy from the snow days, any excuse to hang out and get out of the house has sounded excellent. So when Rach suggested that we meet up to get our sweat on, we planned a healthy potluck and made it happen. Maddie and Bella played in the basement while the grown-up girls huffed and puffed our way (okay, maybe that was just me) through treadmill mileage and arms and abs videos. We laughed and talked, as always, but while burning calories! I'm hoping this becomes a regular thing, because it really was great.
2. Stretch + Breathe = Ah-mazing! Stretch and Breathe class. It's harder than it sounds. Especially when it starts at 8:30 in the morning at the YMCA and you have to brave the cold and ice to get there. And it includes yoga, Pilates, weights, and barre elements. But I loved it. This was my favorite exercise class I have ever taken. If it were offered any other time besides Thursday mornings, I'd probably keep my Y membership and go every week. I'm hoping there are equivalent programs online so I can recreate the experience at home. Especially on days when I need a lower intensity routine.
3. Rewards Work. Estefania and I hit up Dunham's together and enjoyed browsing the bright colors and soft fabrics. I rewarded myself with two new workout outfits, including my favorite: purple leggings and a coordinating t-shirt. Later that evening, when I wasn't feeling like hitting the treadmill, those purple clothes were calling my name. And a shirt that says "RUN RUN RUN" is not for lounging in! So guess what? I ran. (And later discovered, because I'm not very observant and because Adam isn't very good at putting things back the way he found them, that I'd been running on an incline the whole time, which made me feel even better about my progress!)
4. Icy Hot Doesn't. So here's the pickle, the conundrum, the catalyst for my dismal daydreams about my poor performance on race day: my legs. My shins have been just annoyingly sore for about a week now. I read about shin splints, diligently stretched before and after treadmilling, made sure I tied my new running shoes the right way. But after Thursday's C25K day, my shins went from sore to straight up on fire. Like, I wasn't sure I was going to make it up the stairs. After a struggle and another Google search, I set myself up on the couch with some ice packs and slathered my shins with Icy Hot before bed. Except when it's nighttime in the dead of winter, apparently that's a good way to freeze to death before your legs feel better. I actually got up after midnight, put on sweats and fuzzy socks, wrapped up in a throw blanket, then got back under the blanket and comforter, and was still cold and in pain. Lesson learned: Don't waste your money or your optimism on Icy Hot.
So that's where I am now. I was planning to attempt another run today, but went sledding at my grandparents' instead, and trudging back up the hill with Bella (for two hours) has brought the pain back to my legs. It's embarrassing how I'm limping around here, seriously. So I'm counting it as today's workout. I mean, look how simultaneously strenuous and adorable:
I sure am glad Nana got that pic of me falling on my back.
The question is how to move forward. If I allow my legs to rest, I'm afraid I'll risk losing the momentum and progress I've already made. If it's an issue of poor form (which, considering I'm the anti-runner, it almost definitely is), I've got to keep practicing to get better. But is there a point at which I'll risk hurting my legs so badly that I'll swear off running for good? I'm not sure.
How do you keep going when the going gets tough? And, more importantly, what does that say about your character?
(When I put it that way, I guess I'll run tomorrow after all.)