Among the other restful bits gained from this vacation (including, potentially, a vehicle…), I am slowly getting comfortable being back on the running boat. I’m having to work hella hard to correct the strength imbalance in my lower legs caused by injury and the limping, but it’s going well.
My current workout is 50-50 walk/run in distance: warmup, run a quarter-mile, walk a quarter-mile, repeat for a half-mile each, repeat for a quarter-mile each, cool down. It’s hard going, and I’m pulling out every calf and shin muscle stretch I can find because my shins tighten up on me during my workouts. But I can already feel an improvement in strength and flexibility, and even this little half-hour is a pretty good workout.
Off days are spent on the stationary bike they’ve got here, which is one of those annoying bikes with the pedals out instead of under, so your legs are almost parallel to the floor. Why so annoying? Because if I don’t relax my back and shoulders just right while I’m pedalling, my lower back muscles take on a little too much strain and cause me trouble for the remainder of the day. So it’s an exercise in relaxation techniques as well as a quad workout. And oh is it a quad workout. Whoo. I (and my knees) love it.
As I was doing twenty [ridiculously long] miles on the bike yesterday, I read the first half of the March issue of Runner’s World magazine. Page. By. Page. Wonderful magazine, and definitely one I plan to subscribe to at some future date. I’d been to the website, of course, and read several of their articles there, but I tend to find their website somewhat annoying to navigate when I’m hunting for something in particular. The magazine itself, though, is an awesome read.
It may be odd to miss certain messages from my body, but there are some things I’ve come to associate with regular hard workouts—and running in particular—that I didn’t notice slipping away until they came back. Like the fact that my hips painlessly (albeit frequently) pop; I hadn’t even noticed when it stopped, but it happened last week one day when I stood up and I went, “Oooh. Long time no see.”
Not out loud, though. That’d just be weird.
But during my run today, I hit one of those little grooves—just a little ways into the half-mile run segment, things just started to flow: breathing in tune, legs feeling fine, arms swinging right. All the little bits that make you feel like you can just go. It was fleeting—I went ahead and stopped at the half-mile mark since I know my leg muscles don’t usually complain until I slow to a walk—but it was a good reminder of what I’m really working for. Yes, I need the cardiovascular health, and yes, I need the weight loss. But more than those, I need that feeling of flying and being free, of having that kind of rapport with my body.
I feel like I’m getting my groove back. About damn time. This winter lasted way too long.