Saturday, June 30, 2012

Testing my Limits

I enjoy trying new things. I have discovered that I get bored easily when it comes to exercise and going to the gym doing the same old thing every day. Today I decided to test my limits to see exactly what my body is capable of. I now feel a little more in tune with my limits and I know what I need to work on for future endeavors.

Despite the fact that it is sweltering hot in TN today I decided that rather than go to the gym and spend an hour doing the same boring cardio I do every Saturday, that I would take my workout outside and go jogging at a local hiking trail area not far from where I live. I got on my workout clothes, put on sunscreen, filled up my water bottle and drove to my favorite place to go walking. My choice of music to jog to was Rammstein, I figured it would keep me moving along at a good pace and be entertaining. I set up my Nike run app on my phone so I could track my job and I walked to the start of my jogging point to warm up my leg muscles. With determination in my mind I got to my start point and began jogging. 

Now I have to say that no matter how positive you are or how good your intentions are, if your body is not ready for the level of exercise that you put in front of it, you will be twarted by reality quickly. I was able to jog 0.15 miles before I had to stop. My body is not yet ready to handle terrain running. I can run on a treadmill because it is a smooth, constant surface and I am in control of the incline and speed. I can run on sidewalk because it is a mostly smooth constant surface and what subtle changes there are, are not a shock to my body. However, running on a hiking trail with tufted grass, dirt paths, roots that jut up and uneven ground is not quite the same level of beginning running that I am used to. In 2010 I fractured my ankle and since then I have slowly been building up my strength in order to be able to run at all. Today was not my day, and my ankle and knees immediately let me know that running on terrain that I was not accustomed to was not going to work. So instead, I decided to power walk it. The heat wasn't unbearable to me and I thought that it felt good to actually sweat it out. I had my trusty water bottle with me and I was sipping it throughout my walk so I didn't get dehydrated. Overall I was very pleased with my results even though it wasn't the jog I was looking to achieve. 

Discovering that I cannot run on terrain yet isn't all that surprising. I have only been jogging on a treadmill at the gym now for about a week solid. Even on a treadmill I can only handle about 10 minutes of running before I have to slow it down to a moderate paced walk. Now I know that my body still has quite a bit of strengthening to do before I am able to go sprinting through the forests. Does this mean that I will give up on my goal of becoming a workout runner? No. I just have to continue to try in small increments until my muscles and core are strong enough to support my frame when the terrain isn't a constant smooth ride. 

I look forward to being able to post about my first real outdoor run. Even if it takes a long time to get to that point at least I now have a new personal goal to achieve. I'm just happy that I was able to attempt a run, even if it was only 0.15 miles. I listened to my body and knew that pushing myself would only result in hurting myself and not being able to workout until the damaged was healed. I sipped my water and was done with my 20oz bottle by the end of my walk. I was able to control my breathing and I didn't pant or have to sigh heavily in order to get a good breath in, even in the heat. My muscles are not agonizingly sore, they are just happy workout tight. My hips and knees don't hurt, my feet however are a little sore in the arches. According to my Nike trainer on my app, I was 6 minutes and 30 seconds faster on this workout than on previous workouts and I went 0.82 miles more than last time. So I am getting faster and able to go further every time I workout. All of this is happy revelation for me and I am starting to see the payoff for all the time I've spent in the gym this past month!

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