Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Submit to Running

Not running today.  May do some core strengthening exercises later today, but no running for today or tomorrow (yoga class).

Yesterday was... strange.  I left work before 5 to attend a gym class my friend had signed up but did not want to go by herself.  It was a strength training class, and I agreed to go with her (the first week was free) because I wanted to learn how to use the various machines that litter the gym.

It took ~20 minutes for everyone to get to the gym and changed (apparently she had also managed to persuade 3 other people to join her).  And when we got to the fitness room where the class was supposed to take place, we were already 5 minutes late.

A small group of people had already surrounded this big machine that has various stations that work on different parts of your body.  We stood around with them for a while and the teacher never showed up.  A student told us that he had taken the class last year and the teacher was... flaky at best with her own attendance.  And apparently she was out of town that day.

Out of town.  And no one at the front desk knew about it.

My friend was furious and wanted to quit the class and ask for her money back.  Then they all took off to take a zumba class that started at 5:30.

I saw a spare treadmill and decided to stay behind.

A spare treadmill in the gym that day was... a miracle.  When we got to the fitness center (yes the same place I've gone everyday for running), it was even more full than it has been at 7 for the past few days.  I didn't know it was possible.  Every treadmill and elliptical was full, and most of the weight stations were occupied.  Even most of the exercise balls and jump ropes were in use.  5pm is not a good time to come to the gym on a week day.  Not that I get too many opportunities to come at 5 anyway.  But still, important mental note nonetheless.

It was a short run.  My shins were hurting as soon as I started running because I didn't stretch enough.  I wasn't prepared for running and I didn't want to stretch too much and have the treadmill taken by someone else.  Fortunately the pain went away as the jogging continued.  My original goal was to run for another 10 minutes straight without stopping, but my breathing and endurance got so good that halfway into it I decided to make a full 1 mile (at 5.2-5.3 mi/hr).  And at the 1 mile mark, surprisingly, my body did not give me an overwhelming desire to stop running.  My breathing was steady, I only sweated a little, and I felt like I could just go on forever.

But my brain was bored.  I was bored by the monotonous motion, so I stopped at 1.2 miles, walked for another 0.3 miles, and stopped altogether.  I wasn't mentally or physically prepared for running that day, and stopping seemed like a logical thing to do.

But during the run I was also bored.  The passing time and the increasing distance wasn't big enough motivations, the podcast not very uplifting, and the view unchanging.  Although I was staring out of the window, which had a very nice view of the baseball court, the football count, and the mountains, it's the same minute after minute.

Some times when I get bored, or wanting to stop, I pretend that I was running a marathon.  The Honolulu marathon, to be exact.  I picture that it was 5 in the morning, that the sky was dark.  I imagine that the people running on the treadmills beside me are fellow marathoners.  I pretend that I was running through the residential district at the beginning of the marathon, passing by houses that are beautifully decorated for Christmas at a place that would never see snow.  I pretend that I was running on the highway, that if I look to my right I would see the ocean.

And I would tell myself that I don't have a choice but to keep running, that before my time or distance goal was up I just cannot stop, so that I should just stop thinking about slowing down or stopping.  I told myself that I didn't have a choice, so I should just submit to running.

And it worked.  It got me through the last three minutes of my run.

So yesterday was a small breakthrough for me.  I could now run an entire mile without stopping and with relative ease.  I could do that before.  I remember the first time I went to my undergrad gym I ran a mile, at 4mi/hr, and felt like an utter failure because I was exhausted.  Now I can do the same as I could 7 years ago, but faster, and with less exhaustion.  I think I'm well on my way to a successful 5k.

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