Friday, June 13, 2014

Fitness Friday: On Running On Empty

Do you guys remember when I used to write Fitness Friday posts? Well, yeah, me neither. I am neither a fitness expert nor do I really "enjoy" "working out" (although, "working out" is almost entirely mental). However, I am really invested in my physical fitness & health. I recently joined Weight Watchers and since then, I've lost enough weight to feel more comfortable running again. I thought it would be nice to start writing Fitness Friday posts again. 

Last Thursday, I went for my first real run in probably two months. In March, while I was unemployed & had a lot of spare time on my hands, I went for a few runs that felt pretty middling & terrible. I developed bad shin splints & decided to focus on my diet and building my calf muscles (especially my shins). I was excited to get back into running. 

Unfortunately, on Thursday, I went to work, had three meetings, and stopped at my mom's house on the way home after a brief stop at Target. As I took off for my run, a grumble in my stomach reminded me that all I'd eaten that day was: a cup of coffee in the morning; a skinny latte at a coffee meeting; and half a bag of Pirate's Booty (basically, healthy Cheetos). I successfully made it a mile and a half before I called Danny and asked him to pick me up on his way home. There is nothing like your husband picking you up on the side of the road, sweaty and heaving. 

I got home, ate a piece of toast and a banana, and chugged some water. I felt better, but I also felt a little defeated. As lousy as I felt, it didn't mask how good running had made me feel -- for the first time in a long time. 

My work outs, for the past six months, have been defined by an increasing sense of boredom and futility. They didn't really lift my moods. Instead, they made me feel a little bit more defeated each time. No amount of mixing it up fixed it. I knew I needed to start running again, to get some fresh air, to get some vitamin D. The long winter months were over and running outside was becoming safer & more viable. 

My brief "failure" of a run really did revitalize me. In that mile and a half of sweat, dehydration, and dry heaving, I remembered why I loved running: the blue sky; the smell of pine trees and wildflowers; the feeling of the ground under my feet. I remembered how powerful my body was if I just gave it a little bit of credit (and, um, perhaps a bit more fuel). 

For the past few days, I've focused on running every other morning, drinking plenty of water, and cutting back my coffee intake (I basically live on coffee these days, as cliche as that sounds). I'm excited to see where running takes me again in the next few weeks. 

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