Random Fitness Thoughts

Once again, I have waited much too long between blogs.  Life gets hectic; the holidays take over; and that which isn’t completely necessary gets left undone.  What that typically means for this blog is that I have much to say.  All those crazy thoughts and opinions have been piling up, and once I begin writing, they will just keep gushing out like foam out of a shaken can of Coke.  I will try to somewhat organize these random thoughts so that you can just skip over that which doesn’t appeal to you.

Running really is mind over body.  As much as I hate to admit, I think my age might just be affecting my running.  This fact pisses me off.  I will turn 46 later this month, and with each year comes new pains.  As of late, my knees have been my most pressing problem.  My left knee began to hurt during the October Evansville Half Marathon, right about at mile 8.  I was running very well that day, and decided I was going to continue to run hard, at least until my knee just finally blew out (I really kept picturing my knee just blowing up).  It hurt, but I ran until the end, and once I began walking, the pain just went away.  It wasn’t a problem on any runs after that, so I just forgot about it.  Before Christmas, my right knee began to hurt.  I could make it about 2 miles, but after that I would just end up hobbling and cutting my runs short.  I decided to take a couple weeks off to let my knee heal, rather than just a couple of days here and there, and never really resting.  I continued to work out and teach Zumba, and my knee didn’t hurt.  I only felt pain while running.  This past Friday the weather was beautiful, especially for January, so my friend Kathy and I ran 3 miles.  At 2.5 miles, the pain returned.  UGH!

finish line

Not one to give up, I decided to run again Saturday morning.  I missed my running friends, and needed that time with them.  I went out with absolutely no plan.  I didn’t know if I would run 3 miles, or 6 miles.  I told the girls that I would just take it slow, and go as far as my body would allow.  As expected, at about 2.5 miles, the pain returned, but then a little later, I also had pain in my left knee.  Crap.  I remembered my husband telling me that he had just accepted that running was going to hurt, and if he wanted to continue to run, he would have to deal with it.  And so I continued.  Kassi, Jackie, and Tracey all had children to transport, so they headed back after 4-5 miles.  Kathy and I ventured on, and then she had to stop.  I told her that I just needed to see how far I could go.  I ate a lot at Capers the night before, so I also had an abundance of calories to torch.

So, at mile 6 I was on my own.  I turned up my running music, and kept running, trying to ignore the discomfort.  As I was running along the greenway, I happened upon a friend named Bert.  This lady is simple amazing.  She has lost a ton of weight, and has begun running.  Last year she finished several races with a combination of walking and running.  As I saw her, and admired how wonderful she looked, I knew that I could keep going.  Without even knowing it, Bert inspired me to press on.  I thought about the women in my Zumba classes who have stepped way out of their comfort zones, and have become regulars in my classes.  They, too, inspire me to work hard and to be a better version of myself.  Then my mind wandered to my husband.  He is 62, and has an artificial knee.  He has worked so hard at running, and has now decided to run the Derby Marathon this year.  How could I stop?  I thought that running 8 miles would be great, so I ran toward that goal.  And then I began to think about how proud I would be to run 10 miles after not running for a couple of weeks.  I assessed my pain, and though both knees hurt, they weren’t any worse.  I was just about to 10 miles, when I realized I needed water, so I stopped in the gym to get a drink.  It was just what I needed to continue with my quest.  I exited the gym, but rather than head back to my car, I decided to run a few extra blocks and try to get 11 miles.  I still had energy.  Actually, other than my knees, I felt terrific.  My breathing was good; my legs weren’t tired; and my belly wasn’t churning.  So I decided to run 12 miles.  And I did.  I could have gone further, but I figured my husband probably thought I was in a ditch somewhere because my run with the girls had begun 2 1/2 hours earlier.  Yesterday my run sucked.  My knees ached for 10 out of 12 miles, but I didn’t give up.  The people I surround myself with kept me going, and most of them didn’t even know I was running!  I could have chosen to focus on the pain, but I chose to focus on what felt good, and to think abou what a blessing it was just to be out there in warm January (that’s an oxymoron!) weather running.  Many people never get that opportunity.  My mind carried my through, when my body – my knees – just wanted to go home.

Why do I love Zumba?  I began teaching Zumba in August.  I had taken classes in Hawesville for over a year, and really loved it.  It was great cross-training, and just plain fun.  I decided to get my instructor certification, so my husband took me to Tennessee for training last April.  It took me all summer to put my choreography together, but I wanted to have it down and be confident before I began teaching.  That was a smart decision!  I now teach 4 classes a week, and completely enjoy each one.  If you don’t know, Zumba is a Latin-dance type of workout.  each instructor is a little different, so each class is different, which is the way the program is meant to be.  We are given choreography ideas, but basically, instructors choreograph their own music.

I try to make sure we work every area in my classes.  I use ab work, arm work, lunges, squats, and other exercises with the dance moves to create a fun, yet very effective workout.  The great thing about Zumba is that it truly is for all ages and abilities.  I have ages 7-75 in my classes.  Really.  I encourage participants to do what they can.  I don’t expect anyone to do anything that hurts, or to get the moves down perfectly.  If one is too focused on getting the moves right, she won’t have any fun, and Zumba should be fun.  Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy, and you will sweat, but hopefully you will have enough fun that you won’t mind the achy muscles that follow.  I have had so many women approach me and say that they are afraid to try Zumba because they don’t feel they have the rhythm or coordination necessary.  It makes no difference!  If you are moving and having fun, you are making the most of Zumba.  And no one else cares if you are doing it right.  Each person is concerned with what she is doing.  We are all supportive and just want to get together and burn some calories.  If you have never tried it, find a class!  It is a blast!

Let the games begin!  This week marks the beginning of the third season of Everbody’s Biggest Loser, and my first season as a coach.  I am so excited to work with the orange team!  My husband and I will be coaching together, and we are blessed with a fun and motivated team.  I also have my own goals to work on.  I am trying to cut back on diet soft drinks.  I was up to 4-6 per day, which I know is not healthy.  I am down to 1 or 2, and I don’t really plan to cut it out completely.  I really like the taste of Diet Mt. Dew and Diet Pepsi.  Water is okay, and I use the little packets of Crytal Light, but, gosh, there are times when a Diet Pepsi just sounds amazing.  I am also trying to make better eating choices.  I really don’t eat well.  I don’t eat a lot, but most of the time what I do eat is not really good for me.  I love desserts, red meat, potatoes, salty snacks, and generally anything that is unhealthy.  I am not a fan of vegetables.  At all.  Ever.  I am trying, but I will never, and I mean never, like green beans or broccoli.  Or cauliflower.  Or asparagus.  I do like spinach and raw carrots.  That’s about it.  So along with our team, I will be trying to make some positive changes.  I, just like those working to lose weight, will struggle along the way.  But each little change I can make will lead to better health, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Biggest Loser

 

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