Saturday, 16 January 2016

Pain Means Gain

It's Thursday. I'm propped up on the couch with the iPad creating a picture of Cappadocia, Turkey out of multi-colored pixel boxes when Sugar comes up from the basement, just having finished a treadmill run.

"Have you heard from the girls?"

This is code for "Are you going to the gym tonight?" My phone has been strangely silent today. I had been expecting the usual buzz of activity as it neared the end of the work day and I had to double check my phone to make sure I hadn't left it on night mode as I am prone to do. Ringers were on so I started wondering if I'd been unanimously booted from the gym posse. Renee was pretty mad that I didn't share my Rice Krispie cookies with her last week.

Dilemma. Do I contact them and find out if I've been kicked off the island and chance having to go to the gym OR do I sit here and finish my Turkey picture puzzle with my feet up and pretend that it's completely normal not to hear from the girls at all?

Sugar is waiting for an answer so I send a text to the group. "Anyone going to the gym today?" I sit with bated breath, waiting for a reply. I envision the three of them already at the gym, side by side on the treadmills, ignoring my message, sharing their own box of cookies.

I get a reply within two seconds.

Paula left her gym gear at work and is heading home, rotted. Lori got a tattoo the day before and doesn't want her gym clothes rubbing against it and making it sore. Renee has a family commitment.


So I'm still in the group and I have a good excuse for not going to the gym, as I explain to Sugar. The problem with excuses and living with someone who tries to keep you accountable is that eventually you start to feel guilty. For a brief moment I considered running up and down the stairs in our house but I remember that we are up to 14 repeats and our house has more stairs than at the gym. Plus I did a half hour walk on the treadmill yesterday. That's gotta count for something.

Friday. The gym texts start before 9:00 am. Renee has been wanting to do some sort of circuit/weight training but none of us really know where to start. We're getting bored with the treadmills and there is nothing more detrimental to a workout than boredom.

It's at this moment that I have the most brilliant idea in the history of the world. I'll ask Mr. Collins for advice.

Mr. Collins is the husband of Marathoner-Extraordinaire Pam Collins. He works out at the gym regularly and has arms the size of beef buckets. If anyone knows about gym equipment, it's him. He's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

Mr. Collins agrees to help us and meets us at the gym for a tutorial. He shows us the best machines and how to use them properly so we don't hurt ourselves because, let's face it, there's a very high chance that we would. He demonstrates the proper stance, which weights to use, which movements to perform and how many sets and repetitions to do for our circuit. He even offers to help us in the future if we need him again. WHEN we need him again.

An hour and a half later, we head to the locker room, muscles burning, and I give the girls the last of my Rice Krispie cookies in an effort to preempt any future chances of exile from the group. Everyone seems excited about our new gym workout options. Hardcore Lori wants to hire Mr. Collins full time.

We head out to our vehicles, unsure if we'll be able to make it down the stairs. Renee and I take a break half way. I need to hold the rail for support but I can barely lift my arms. Sugar may have to feed me my supper tonight. Renee considers getting a feeding tube.

Pain means gain though, right? All this extra work will make us stronger, faster runners. Pain means we cross that finish line stronger and faster than we ever have before.

And based on how I'm feeling right now we should be able to finish our half marathon in about 10 minutes.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

This Is How I Gym

It's Tuesday. I'm sitting in my car at the gym parking lot, eating the Rice Krispie Cookies I had planned on leaving on Renee's treadmill as a joke during our workout. No, I'm not fueling for a long run, I'm just a tad hungry. It seems that convincing my body that it no longer needs 3000 calories worth of Christmas treats is proving more difficult than I thought.

I see Renee getting out of her car so I quickly hide the wrapper evidence and go to meet her. It's just the two of us tonight and from the look on Renee's face, she's wishing it was just me.

It's freezing outside. It's C-O-L-D cold. I'm once again grateful that Renee suggested a winter gym membership and that we're not running outside. Inside the ladies change room we compete for a spot in the 10 square centimeter space around the one tiny heater. We debate staying here for the next hour.

We eventually make our way to the treadmills. I haven't made much use of the rest of the gym and I start to feel guilty about that until I have the same conversation with myself I do every time I come here. You had a stress fracture. You need to be running to make sure your body can handle the half marathon. You need to build your cardio back up. If you weren't at the gym you'd be running on the treadmill at home and this is no different. You signed up at the gym so you wouldn't have trun outside in the cold and chance slipping. Give yourself a break! Then Pitbull starts playing in my ears and I don't hear the rest.

I start my 5 K run. I'm still running slower than I did before the fracture, but I've done several 5 K's now and everything seems to be fine. I decide to up the speed a little for the last kilometer. My lungs are screaming at me, "What are you doing??? I thought we were done with running!" But I survive the ordeal and I realize that I have a long way to go before I'm back to my regular pace. Good thing the half isn't until September. 

I'm getting ready to do some stretching when Renee reminds me that we still have to do the stairs. Last week Renee had this great idea that we should run up and down the stairs as a part of our workouts. I was skeptical because I hate exercise, but I went along with it. We started out small, with two repeats, then three and tonight we jump to five. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to stand up at all tomorrow. 

We finish off the workout with some stretching, which really means we lie on mats on the floor and have a chat. Despite the hunger, cold and lack of interest we had a decent workout. We celebrate with a short dance routine in the change room. We discuss the option of getting tea, but decide we'll do that on Saturday instead, when we have more time and less commitments. 

We also discuss our goals for the winter months. Weight loss? Pace? PB? Distance? All valid options, but we end up setting a goal of .....setting a goal. Sometime in the next three months we will definitely set a goal for ourselves. I'll keep you posted.