Friday, 14 January 2011

The slow process of being fast.

This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I am shocked at how fast I lost fitness. Today I ran 5k according to my schedule... or, well, tried. The plan is to now work with a 10%/week increase, which allows me to get to 10k with 2 weeks spare.
I'm not going to work with a flashy schedule; I am going to slowly increase and just run to finish during the race. I feel like once I've jumped THAT hurdle, I can work towards running awesomeness. Maybe join a club or a group or something; but I like the solitude of my runs sometimes. A once-a-week group would be cool. At the moment I can't afford the membership of a running club (and I'm nowhere near fast enough); and googling running groups in the area gives me the first hit 'trimclub'. No way I'm going to join a 'trimclub'. I don't 'trim'; I run.

Or at least I try to. I have officially set the record for the slowest 5k in my history. 36minutes and 47 seconds. That is, FYI, about 10 minutes SLOWER than the fastest I recorded. The worst part? My heart rate went up over 180 on several occasions. I wasn't even running. I was trotting. This is really frustrating. My former top swimmer and almost-physiotherapist sister kindly reminded me that it takes 2 weeks for you to lose fitness and 4-6 weeks for you to regain it. I suppose I will just have to simply suck it up, and think of the long..er...run. Interestingly enough, the area around my former injury felt tired after zumba, and felt tired after the tortoise-run... without it being painful in the least. I just need to watch what I'm doing. Sister said it's OK...

I am also pretty convinced that my heart is fine with 180bpm (especially in shorter bouts) and probably has a higher max rate than it should have according to the formula. It goes up quickly without me even noticing much in my breathing, and it drops even quicker. My current resting heart rate is in the high 60's I think (currently 72; yes, I just measured, but I'm obviously not fully resting); I've had it at 54 at some point, years ago, when I was a swimmer. I'm going to do a max heart rate test once I get a bit fitter. It's just too easy for me to push it over 180, and always has been even when I was a lot fitter. I'm not an exercise physiologist, but the quick drop is a good thing.


(I got a heart rate monitor watch for Christmas, and tried it out today. The strap is far too big, but thanks to sports bras I can just wear it tucked into my bra)

Then I did my ballet excercises, or, well, some of them. I'm actually considering, once I've got an actual job, to take up ballet as a counter-act for running. The only sport I actually have potential real talent for is dancing. Maybe if I weren't 5'10 tall. It's a sad story, really. As a kid I had trouble getting along in terms of motor skills. I had eye problems and the resulting glasses made it impossible for me to catch balls and do much of anything that required depth perception: everything shifted as soon as it entered a different part of my glasses' visual field. I also have hypermobile joints and normal muscle tone; kids like that often are a bit slower because it's simply harder to walk on instable legs. I got a lot of crap over me for this; and it really damaged my self esteem: I was in a very competitive school and felt so ashamed of myself. I simply didn't believe I could do it. My parents were rather harsh on me because I didn't do any sports (and once I took up swimming at age 12 they wouldn't let me quit or train less, not even to take free drama classes with my friends once a week. I started feeling left out in my group, and later lost the friends). I asked my mum if I could take dance lessons. You'd think she'd jump at the opportunity to get her 'lazy' daughter to do some exercise, but no. Her response? 'No, you can't dance because you don't have rhythm. You're not a black girl', or something in that line.
After I left home, I discovered that I can, in fact, dance. And I do, in fact, have rhythm. I've done salsa; I've done belly dancing and I've done a course of modern dance (which didn't work out so well because I was the only one with no experience in the group); oh and of course there was the notorious street dance lesson. I did a theatre class; and the teacher insisted on putting me on centre stage in the dancing scene because she said I looked so graceful. Black men on nights out usually approve of my dancing; white men just stand there moving their arms and sometimes their legs. (I'm not a racist; but there is a certain truth to some stereotypes). My friend told me I'm a good dancer after one Zumba class. Yes, I can dance.
But I'm too old to really go anywhere with it. Maybe one day I'll have a daughter, and maybe she will inherit my flexibility and rhythm, and maybe even she'll want to dance and if so maybe she'll be good at it and it will give her what it could have given me. Who knows.
That doesn't make it any less fun.
And I am really fascinated by how much those simple ballet exercises I did improved my leg-posture and with that my butt. But for now, I'm going to have to stick to my work out schedule.


Running is not the only thing that is going to be not as easy as I thought it would be. Getting my body back is going to -surprise surprise- require some hard work too. Luckily a great deal of the hard work overlaps with the running goal; but I am going to have to put in some effort on the nutrition side of the coin as well. I am not going to push my body to unnatural weights; I just want to fit my own jeans again. I just want to feel like my body is mine again (and yes, my poor fitness levels are making me feel worse). The thing is: I believe that the slimmer version (you know, the one who could run a 27min 5k) is my natural weight because that's what I maintained with natural eating. Yet, here I am, not there, and still struggling with the damage from something that happened half a year ago. The problem is that it seems to have influenced my eating habits in a negative way, and it's so hard to get that back to healthy again. The other problem is that living at home makes it really, really hard. There is a lot of food I can't eat (lactose) or won't eat (bread. I just really hate 'normal' bread, and it's been like that since I can remember. I've tried 'getting over it', didn't work). The foods I would like to eat have other purposes than my lunch. Yes, I'm actually 'not allowed' to take them. Breakfast is tolerable. I miss fibre-tasty all-bran; and the sugar-loaded but non-fat yoghurt my mum bought when I asked her to next time bring healthy yoghurt and explained that it's not about the fat, but about the sugar, doesn't really help me with feeling healthy. But I suppose, I'm the only one responsible for my health.

On a brighter note in this too long post: I handed in my last reports yesterday; and I really love the surgeon who is supposed to review its attitude. He just does things instead of moaning about it. I could learn from that, haha, see above.

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