Tuesday, April 5, 2011
From Couch to Warrior
Ok, so I'm not exactly a couch potato. And I definitely don't plan on becoming a hard-body warrior-type anytime soon (or ever) BUT for my purposes I'm thinking big and going as all-out as a girl in my shoes can do. The Plan: begin to run, train for a 5k, build upper body strength that presently resembles that of a T-Rex and in September achieve the goal of completing the Warrior Dash. It's basically a 5k trail run/obstacle course of mud pit, trenches, cargo nets, hundreds of tires, hay bales, rappelling... you get the idea. Sounds like ridiculous amounts of fun, right? And this coming from me, having never run in my life. Really: Nev. ER. I would get winded after 30 seconds of running and think my heart and lungs were going to explode out of my body. Which wouldn't be pretty so I've just avoided the whole thing altogether. Until now. A little over a month ago I was chatting with my girl Crystal, whose friendship I place in that category of amazing-friends-that-stay-a-best-friend-whether-you-talk-daily-or-every-few-months. Crystal and I "get" each other and not only that, we had fairly similar experiences growing up in the whole body image/physical part of childhood and youth. We matured early and struggled with being the "big" girl. We commiserated when it seemed other girls could eat whatever they wanted, not exercise and never gain an ounce and we on the other hand had to actually watch what we ate and exercise (or not, but with the obvious expected, undesirable results). We also (post-college and post-babies) have both come to enjoy the fruits of a relatively healthy, active lifestyle and love encouraging each other in it. All of that to say it was Crystal who cued me in to the Warrior Dash and I excitedly jumped on board, required team costume and all. (Yep, people wear costumes- my fave pic was of a guy with a doll strapped to him in a Baby Bjorn carrier- both he and the doll were completely covered in mud and he was polishing off the last of his post-race beer). I'm loving this challenge. I've always thought runners were crazy. I mean, seriously, who would run 3 hours for fun??? (Okay, who would run any amount of time for fun?) Plus most runners I know have injuries since running can be pretty hard on your body. So prior to this I've been pretty staunchly opposed to running and instead a committed walker. You know, the saner choice. The exercise plan I can keep up with even when I'm pushing a walker down the street. But after actually trying it (for longer than the afore-mentioned 30 seconds) I think I surprised myself more than anyone! I am LOVING it!!! I love the sense of challenging my body and realizing not only can I rise to the challenge, but things that used to be almost impossible I can do now- and still feel good doing it! I haven't died and my last run was my best one yet. I just started the 5th week of my interval training plan, the Couch-to-5k-Plan and so far, so good! I honestly did not think I would ever be able to run for 5 minutes straight but surprisingly I had a harder time running for 3 minutes (okay, even 1-1/2 minutes... 1 minute...) than the 5 minute stretch. I think my body is acclimating and it's such a boost to do something I honestly never thought I could do. I also wouldn't have believed I'd actually look forward to each time I get to run... I know, I know! It's the runner's madness, I tell you!! I am feeling pretty intimidated by the thought of 20 minutes without a walk break after my next run but I guess I'll just keep taking it one day/one run at a time and see how it goes. Ultimately (once I'm up to running 3 miles regularly) I hope to start more cross-training on the off days in hopes that I just might be able to hoist myself over mountainous obstacles. I've never been able to do a real push-up in my life either. Maybe that will be my next challenge. Or maybe I'll just stick with the girlie ones and embrace the upper T-Rex.