Maybe it isn’t the end of an era, but it is the end of something I love. This week was my last official week of teaching Zumba. This is my second school year teaching Zumba (yes, teachers gauge time based on school years), and I have so enjoyed the opportunity to share a fun form of exercise with others, the friends I have made along the way, and the chance to dance like I know what I’m doing a couple times a week. I’ve tried to make my classes fun, while also providing a kick-ass workout for participants. Despite all of these positives, there was one negative that over-shadowed all the good. It is killing my knees. [Disclaimer: Although you probably think this picture is me, it really isn’t. My hair isn’t that long.]
I was hopeful that after surgery last fall, I could return to all the things I love with no issues. My surgery knee would hurt on occasion, but it was tolerable for awhile. Right after the first of the year, I realized I probably wouldn’t be able to teach Zumba much longer, and began making preparations to step aside. The twisting and lateral movement are just too hard on my already weakened knees. My first love is running, and I really want to get back to being able to run half marathons, so the decision was made to give up my classes. It wasn’t an easy one; I wavered for the last two months. This week, my knees hurt like crazy during class, so I knew I had made the right decision. It’s still sad, but I will move on. I am, fortunately, still able to teach Tabata Bootcamp, and am adding a new HIIT class on Wednesday mornings. Between teaching those classes, helping out Biggest Loser teams, and running, I will be busy. I also had a couple of students ask me if I would help them run, which, of course, I am thrilled to do. Who knows? I might even hit a few of my husband’s spinning classes (but I hear they are really hard).
About running…I am slowly scratching my way back to being a runner. I have really struggled this winter (this long, crappy winter) because I just don’t want to run in the cold. In previous winters, I have really enjoyed cold-weather running. Heck, I felt like a bad-ass out there in 20 degree weather, the wind ripping through my hair, sleet smacking at my face. Not this winter. My bad-ass has been on a treadmill. I have been on the treadmill more this winter than I have the past five years. I just don’t want to bundle up when I can wear shorts and a tank and work up a good sweat indoors.
Someday spring will arrive, and I will be ready to hit the streets. I need to – I am contemplating running the Kentucky Derby Mini in April. Honestly, I don’t know if I can do it because my knees still hurt, but I am going to attempt to train, and see what happens. If I am not extremely confident that I can finish, I will back out. I won’t go through the trauma I went through last year when my knee screamed at me to give it up. I won’t sit on a street corner in Louisville, freezing cold and crying while I wait for a ride. I won’t get in a elevator after hobbling back into the hotel, and be faced with an 80 year old man with a finisher’s medal around his neck, while I go home empty-handed. I know that I have no chance to PR; that won’t be my goal. If I run, I will run with my friend Debbie, who will be running her first half marathon. If I run, I will finish. I won’t be stupid and continue running if my knee begins to hurt (Lord, I hope I don’t eat those words). I will walk if I have to (Lord, I hope I don’t have to). And I won’t be jealous of those who PR (Yes, yes, I will be jealous, but I will smile).
What are you doing to stay healthy? Exercising? Eating veggies? Meditating? Hoping your skinny friends get fat? Go out and live life! If you need a mentor, there are lots of us who are willing to help. Fitness has changed our lives. We are not only healthier and happier, but we have some amazing friends whom we have come to know through our fitness endeavors.