Monday, October 24, 2011

Lessons I Learned While Running...

I started running in May of this year. I started out with the Couch to 5K plan and when I finished the program, I ran my first 5K. I had every intention of keeping up with my three days a week running regimen but didn't. On average, I run one to two days per week. Some weeks, I don't run at all. I've been running mostly on the treadmill at the gym but today, I decided to head outdoors.

Last week, I didn't run at all. I did manage to get in two good walks outdoors but by midweek, I had started feeling a cold coming on and was having some pain in the bottom of my right foot. I didn't get in any other exercise for the rest of the week.

I woke up yesterday morning with a full blown cold or sinus infection...something. After a night of tossing and turning because not being able to breathe properly through my nose was making sleep difficult, I decided that I would go for a run this morning.

The scale hasn't budged in a couple of weeks. Basically, I've been doing the bare minimum, enough to keep me from gaining weight but not enough to actually lose some. I realized this morning that there are exactly four weeks until I head to my hometown for a week of Thanksgiving fun. I want to make the most of these next four weeks, really putting the effort into my healthy lifestyle and pushing myself towards my goals. Plus, I am positive that I will finally be able to  wear my wedding band again if I can lose another five pounds. I haven't worn it since about midway through my pregnancy with Abigail. Sad.

So, today, I laced up my running shoes and went for it. I learned some very valuable lessons today...

1. Drinking a cup of coffee an hour before you run or exercise is beneficial. It awakens your muscles and gives you energy. However, drinking a BIG cup of coffee is not. This amount of coffee with slosh around in your belly and eventually lead to Jillian Michaels screaming at you in your mind, "YOU DON'T QUIT UNLESS YOU PUKE!" Puke, I did not, but I came close several times.

2. Always, Always, Always be sure that your iPod is charged before your run. A dead iPod is useless and the sound of your breathing and feet pounding the pavement may lead to a nervous breakdown or at the very least make you more aware of what you're doing to your body. I welcome the distraction of music in my ears when I run.

3. Wake up early to run. If you don't, you have three options. A). Take your 30 something pound preschooler with you on your run. You will have to use the jogging stroller. This will make your run much more difficult. B). Sweat it out at the gym. While it is an excellent option, don't forget that it will take much more planning on your part. The gym frowns upon taking your child to the gym daycare in their pj's. Your child will also want a snack and a drink. Getting to and from the gym will be a long, drawn out process, even if you live just down the road. C). Your final option (the option I chose this morning) is to wait to go on your run when your spouse finally gets out of bed. By this time it will be after 10 AM. You will check the forecast and find out that it is a breezy 70 degrees. This sounds perfect. After finding out your iPod is dead, you head out the door to enjoy your child free, stress free run. However, you have not taken into account one thing. One very important thing. Even though it is a breezy 70 degrees outside, you have forgotten about the sun. While you are running, trying not to concentrate on the sound of your breathing and feet, trying to hold down the vomit welling up inside of you from the copious amount of coffee you drank an hour earlier, the sun will try to obliterate you with it's death rays. DO NOT let the forecast fool you! The sun IS your nemesis.

4. Consistent, daily exercise is key. This allows you to skip a run every once in a while when your not feeling well. Inconsistent exercise and a scale that won't budge, will force you outdoors even when you feel like a giant elephant is sitting on you face. You will have also chosen option three. So you will have to deal with the giant elephant, also known as sinus pressure, while you try to avoid death rays from the sun, vomiting, and having a nervous breakdown. It will not be fun!

5. I hope you like jello. Because, that is what your legs will feel like after it is all said an done. However, you will not regret running. What you will regret, is NOT exercising or running, even in the face of all the obstacles you had to get through to get to the end.

Take my advice and don't learn these lessons the hard way!

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