How did I run so far?

Fit Update: Week 40 aka Be Flexible

October 14, 2013 by Michelle

No one has ever accused me of being flexible.  At least not literally.  I’ve never been able to touch my toes, and I held that inside festering ever since the 4th grade Presidential Physical Fitness tests.  Those tests and how I performed relative to some of my amazing peers is part of the reason that I never considered myself to be an athlete (my mother saying the same thing word for word, even now that I’m an adult), forgetting the fact that I was a very accomplished equestrian, played softball on the travel team, and was the captain of my high school cheerleading squad.

Workouts weren’t fun then, and it took me a long time to find a way to love them.  I finally figured out that I’m a class girl, and I’ve been religious about going to classes since the beginning of this year – except this summer when I used every excuse in the book to avoid going to and joining the gym.

At my new gym, I love the variety of the classes, and I’m discovering new classes that I didn’t know I’d enjoy.  I’m even getting back into yoga (the Zumba teacher I didn’t like on Tuesdays?  She’s no longer teaching the class as of the week after I wrote that post) as it’s the only real option for me on Tuesdays now.

It’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve been enjoying the rhythm and strength that the yoga classes bring.  This week when I showed up, the instructor saw the mat I was carrying and asked if I was headed to yoga.

“The instructor can’t make it today, so class is canceled.  I was just making up the sign now,” she explained.  I sighed, disappointed but understanding.  I headed to the classroom to let the other students know, as I could see walking in that there were plenty of people waiting for class to start.

After letting them know that class was canceled, I headed back to my car.  I wasn’t leaving – I hadn’t driven in rush hour traffic after racing out the door once the wee ones were on the bus to get to the gym only to head home just because class was canceled.  I have other options.

I sat on the back of my car and put away my yoga mat.  I changed shoes into my workout shoes and got my bag ready to stow in a locker.  While doing so, I watched woman after woman walk out of the gym with her yoga mat in tow and drive away.  Class was canceled, so they were going to do nothing.

Me?  I headed back inside and took a deep breath as I stared at the treadmills.  I hadn’t tried to run in a couple years now.  And the last time I did, I didn’t do it successfully.  I was nowhere near my Couch to 5K success, but the treadmills were there, and it was a good way to get a quick workout in.  And I needed the workout.

I climbed on and began my usual warmup, regretting that I no longer keep a pair of earbuds in my gym bag and making a mental note to stash an extra pair in the side pocket once I got home.  I delayed starting my run, fearing what would happen.

Eventually I shook myself mentally and just sucked it up.  I turned it up to 6.2mph and brought the incline up to 1.5.  As I began to run, I took a few deep breaths and tried to relax.  I kept my eye on the close caption of the tv in front of me rather than looking at the monitor of my progress.

My goal was to try to run for five minutes, but to at least try to do three minutes before I had to walk.  I looked down eventually, just to see where I was.   I wasn’t overly winded and could keep going, but it felt like I’d been running for awhile.  Then again, I don’t run that much anymore because it always seems like I’ve been running for a half hour when it’s really been a tiny fraction of that.

Through my blurry eyes, I saw something that surprised me.  I had to slow it down a little to take a better look.

How did I run so far?I had run for well over my goal.  I’d run for more than eight minutes.  And I wasn’t horribly exhausted and gasping for breath.  I was hot and thirsty and ready to be done mentally, but I’d surpassed what I had expected to be able to do.  How?

All those Zumba classes I’ve been taking have apparently been having an impact.  I know I’ve been working hard in them, but I never thought about how that might translate.  My fitness level is higher than I thought it was.  I can actually run.  And I could have kept running even after that.

I didn’t, though.  I was a little afraid that I might overdo it running and hurt myself or be too sore for my class the next day, so I walked and cooled down and smiled to myself.  Look what I can do.

And I never would have known it if I’d simply given up and gone home when my class was canceled.  Let that be a lesson to you.  Your workouts might fail you from time to time, but be flexible.  Do something different.  You just might amaze yourself!


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  • Pat

    Congratulations for not giving up, but going on the treadmill, Michelle! Zumba seems to have really increased your endurance. What a nice surprise for you!

    I think the back story of the photo for Succinctly Yours last week was that it was a promotional photo for a circus. The backdrop scenery seems to be painted on fabric because you can see folds of it on the ground. I’m guessing it was in the era of “freak shows” being acceptable… the Fat Man and the Tall Man (or the Giant).

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