New Exercise Regime

It has officially been a week since I started exercising, and I thought I’d reflect on it a bit. For a little background info, I have not seriously exercised since probably about 2009.  I used to enjoy going to the gym and running, but I started making excuses (“my stomach hurts,” “I’m just too tired today,” “I’m dehydrated today and running wouldn’t be good,” “it’s that time of month,” etc).  Each time I made an excuse I insisted that it was only for THAT day.  Well guess what.  One day turned into eight years, and here we are.

My husband is currently training for Ironman Arizona this upcoming November (side note: he has partnered with Smile Train in order to raise money for surgeries to repair cleft palates for children who cannot afford them.  If you are interested in donating to this amazing cause, please follow this link.  Every little bit helps!).  In order to prepare for that race, he raced in Ironman Ohio a few weeks ago.  I had never been to any Ironman event before, or even any organized race event before, and I was absolutely blown away by the amazing atmosphere.  I got to witness new friendships being formed, encouragement and hype that complete strangers gave to racers, and got to see my husband feel incredibly proud of himself for such an amazing accomplishment.  I saw super-athletes in their early twenties and I saw those in their 70’s all running the same race.  People of all shapes and sizes were in this, and I realized that I wanted to be like them.

My short-term goal is to run the Traverse City Duathlon on August 20th.  It may be more of a walk than a run (especially at the end) but I am determined to finish.  I am the type of person who needs concrete goals.  If I say I’m going to get in shape but don’t have a race to train for, I will quickly decide that I’d rather be on my couch reading my book than out in the heat slogging the miles away.  I also plan to do a few upcoming 5K runs, and my “big” goal is to race in Ironman Ohio next summer.  I think a year is enough time to get myself ready as long as I stay consistent.

I started off last Wednesday with a swim.  My goal was to swim 500 meters total.  I ended up swimming 25 meters, resting 30 seconds, and repeating x 20.  This ensured that I did not overdo it, but I also didn’t let my heart rate drop back down too much in between each length.  I have been dealing with some unknown shoulder injury for the past several months and I was worried that swimming would aggravate it, but I actually think it helped.  I was much less sore in that part of my shoulder for the next few days than I have been, oddly enough.  Unfortunately I have not been able to swim since then, as we (my husband and I) took a trip to see family for a few days, and the only pool within reasonable driving distance of us is shut down for the week for some unknown reason.

Thursday – 45 minute bike ride on the trainer.  This was the day when my husband was doing a 2 hour bike ride for his Ironman training.  I’m nowhere near able to do that, but I was able to hang in there for 45 minutes.  We had made the mistake of ordering pizza earlier, though, and to be honest I started feeling pretty nauseated toward the end.  Bleh. Lesson learned, cut back on greasy crap!

Friday – rest day, as we had a 12-hour drive to see my family

Saturday – 1 hour bike outside on a greenway near where my parents live.  I “bonked” about halfway through (I blame on hills, dehydration, and general out-of-shapeness) but I discovered the amazing Gu energy gels that everyone talks about and after I ate one of those I was good to go.  Even when we finally stopped the ride, I probably could have kept going at that point, because I felt great.  Figuring out what to eat before exercise so this doesn’t happen so quickly is definitely a trial-and-error experience for me, but good to know these are available if I need them.  Saturday night I also did a 25 minute run outside.  First run in eight years!  I kept a run-5-minutes-walk-1-minute thing going for most of the time, which I was really happy with, and it didn’t heart as much as I thought it would.

Sunday –  30 minute run on treadmill due to rain.  I have discovered that the treadmill seems much easier to run on than outdoors.  I was able to run for 15 minutes straight without stopping, walked for a minute, and then ran the rest.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – my first “brick” workout.  This kicked my butt.  Everything was indoors on trainer/treadmill due to storms. The bike was fine and I actually noticed a lower average heart rate even when I tried to push the pace.  Maybe my body is gradually getting used to this exercise thing.  I immediately followed the bike with a 15 minute run on the treadmill and my calves started cramping up a bit, so I stopped and stretched them out for about a minute in the middle before finishing out the run.  I was exhausted by the end of it but actually felt great.

Wednesday – travel day/rest day

Thursday – 25 minute run around my neighborhood.  This one was rough.  I don’t know if I needed another rest day in between, or if the fact that I took my dog made things harder.  I actually suspect the latter, as she kept trying to cut in front of me so I had to use my left a bit to keep her to my side, which probably altered my gait a bit.  My left calf and shin were really hurting by the end of mile 1, but my right was fine, so this is what makes me suspect my dog being the issue.  I stopped to stretch it out, and by mile 2 I think she was tired enough to just chill out trotting by my side.  But it was pretty hot and humid so by then my lungs were really burning too.  I really need to figure out this breathing thing with running (I start out in four, out four, and then go to in three, out four, but if anyone has any tips I definitely welcome them).

So yeah.  There we have it.  A week and a day recap.  Overall I don’t notice much of a difference in how I feel, but after a week I don’t expect to see a huge change.  I’m not nearly as sore as I would expect, but I’ve also been trying really hard to listen to my body, so even though I’ve jumped into this pretty quickly, I’m backing off when my body says stop.  I do notice that I am happier and feel more confident in myself already, so that’s definitely something.  And the little “stress twitch” that has been present over my right eye for the past two months seems to have gone away, so definitely a bonus!

I hope to continue chronicling this journey on this blog and hopefully this time next year I’ll have checked off many of those goals!

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