Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finding Nemo

It's been six days since my last confession run.

I thought it would be harder than this not to run.

All summer, my days revolved around running.  Getting my runs in.  Recovering from runs.  Wearing the right shoes.  Fitting in massages and chiropractic appointments.  Cycling on Sundays to help my legs heal so that they could run again.

I was (and still am) worried that I would lose the conditioning and fitness I worked so hard for over the summer.

The superficial part of me is also worried that the weight I lost while running will pile back on.  I like being a few pounds lighter.  Clothes fit better and I feel better.  I want to stay right here thank you very much.   How does one maintain a new weight that was only reached by running 45+ kilometres a week?

To stay fit and to keep my weight in check - I need to keep moving.

In the six days since my last run I have cycled four times and had my first go at the pool.

Let's start with cycling.  Cycling, for the past two years, has been primarily about becoming a stronger runner.  I cycled once a week (Sundays) and that was it.  The whole point was to flush my legs and recover more quickly from my Saturday long run. Now it's about becoming a stronger cyclist.  It's a different mentality but I'm getting used to it.  My new routine is that I head out to the country and make sure that whatever route I take has several tough climbs to test my legs and several descents to test my courage.  I can already feel a difference.  Because it's just me out there, I go where I want.  I zoom down country roads looking for beautiful fall colours, horses, vineyards and vistas.  I come home an hour and a half later relaxed and pleasantly tired.  Best of all, my ankle doesn't hurt.

Swimming is an entirely different beast.

Step one was to get all geared up for this new sport.  Thanks to a trip to Sport Check, I am now the proud owner of a sleek black swim cap and cool blue goggles.

On Sunday I spent a good ten minutes practicing putting on the swim cap before heading to the pool.  I quickly sent up a prayer to the swimming gods asking them to please make the actual sport of swimming easier than putting on the cap. I think swim cap donning should be an olympic sport.  If you can get it on in less than three minutes without ripping it, straining your neck or it popping off your head - automatic gold medal.

Seriously?  My head is not that big is it?  The thing popped off twice before I managed to get it to stay and then it was so tight I got an instant headache.  One size fits all my ass.

Anyway, my friend Klari generously agreed to meet me on Sunday afternoon at the pool.  She gave me a swim cap lesson (her head is so small that it pops off - crazy!).  Then she taught me how to pool run (or aqua jog - what is the proper term?) and we did a few lengths of the pool. And I thought I was a slow runner.  Pool running moves at a glacial pace and I quickly learned to lower my standards.  When I finally get to run on the road again - I'm going to feel like a Kenyan.  So pool running is not super exciting but it does get the heart pumping.  And if it keeps me in running shape - I will pool run baby.  And I'll learn to LOVE it.

Once we bored of working hard but hardly moving, Klari gave me lesson number one in breast stroke.  I quickly learned that I can coordinate either:

  • arms and legs
  • arms and breathing 
  • legs and breathing

Synchronizing all three had me completely flummoxed and things immediately fell apart.  How can it be so hard to get things moving all together?

Klari, to her credit, did not laugh once.  At least while my head was above the water to hear...

She broke it down into manageable steps and, by the fifth or sixth length, I was getting it.  I wasn't moving very quickly but at least I understood what I needed to make my body do.

So I'm working on channeling my inner Nemo and am beginning to think that six weeks off running is going to go by pretty quickly.  

Who knows - I may hit the streets again in better shape than when I left them.

1 comment:

  1. This was nice to read. I am hoping to take up swimming again in the winter. You'll get the hand of it. And I do believe you will hit the road a stronger runner. If listening to all these podcasts has taught me anything it's that cross-training is the number one way to make you a better runner.
    We ought to do a crazy cycling trip sometime now that you are riding for more than just recovery :)