I mentioned a few days ago that I had started running again. "Running," you realize, is a term I use rather loosely. My workouts can only be classified as "runs" because here and there I force myself to do just that for a few brief moments. We're talking 9 minutes out of 40, people. I'm hardly Paula Radcliffe.
Nevertheless, I am feeling better about myself (about everything really) because exercise is back in my routine. For running, the routine is like this:
1) I run three days a week.
2) I cannot run two days in a row thanks to my pesky knee. (This has been true since 2003 and the peak of my running glory days.)
3) Since the classes I like at the Y are on Tues, Thurs, and Sat, this means--by default--that I must have my running days be Mon, Wed, Fri.
4) This also means, by default, that I must take a double jogging stroller, two kids, and many items of distraction with me on every single run.
5) I have to take it veeeeeeeeeeeeeery slowly getting back into it thanks to my pesky lungs. My current average pace is something like 14 minutes per mile. I can almost walk faster than I can run.
6) Every run is 40 minutes long. Twenty out and 20 back. I won't be changing this until my running to walking ratio improves.
7) Every run starts and ends with 5 minutes of walking.
8) The middle 30 minutes of the run consist of six 5-minute run/walk intervals. The first week's interval was Run 30 seconds, Walk 4:30. The second week I upped it to Run 1 Walk 4. This week I am trying out Run 1:30 Walk 3:30.
9) My only current goal is to get my run/walk ratio back to Run 8 Walk 2, or something very similar. I'm thinking this will take at least another 7 weeks.
This morning, having missed my Monday and Tuesday workouts, things were stiff and a bit painful. Getting out the door was painful (psychologically). My knees, unloose and unforgiving, were painful. My legs, feeling like they weighed roughly 756 lbs each, were stiff and painful. Extra fat, bouncing around on my rear end, was painful. That extra 30 seconds of running was, you guessed it, painful.
But by the end of the first mile, everything was fine--so fine! I was overcome with a happy spirit. This makes it all worth it: the ridiculous hassle of getting out the door with my entourage, the aches and pains of the first mile or so. Who cares? It was a gorgeous day.
I thanked God for my cooperative children.
I felt strong and hopeful. I felt I could accomplish anything through hard work. I felt like reciting Invictus. I am the master of my fate or whatever it is. I am the captain of my soul.
Please, someone, the next time I am dragging my heels about working out, or generally feeling sorry for myself, or just plain craving a good high, please remind me of the super-powers exercise possesses.
Lastly, my friends, imagine my delight when I came home and found this in my inbox:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
from the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Isn't it amazing when life is so synergistic?