So today I went running again. It was a gray, gloomy, chilly day, in the 20s. There is snow on the ground, but it is old enough that most places have the sidewalk cleared.
Since part of my reason for writing about running is to possibly encourage people who want to start an exercise program, but perhaps think, "I can't do it" or "It sounds too hard / elaborate / complicated / beyond my abilities," I will share these truths and realities with you, Internetz:
- When I got out of my car and looked at my phone, it said 4:29. When I got back to my car and collapsed in my seat, my phone said 4:40. That's right, a whole 11 minutes outside. It is not a lot of time, here.
- I did not run the whole 11 minutes. I walked at the beginning, I walked at the end, and I walked here and there in the middle too.
- Since it was cold today, I did do a nice long stretch and warm up at home. I did not time it, but I did do every exercise, even the ones I don't like. I puffed and groaned my way through it while listened to "Sweat Jam, Vol. 3" from like 1992 or something.
- The music I listened to while warming up was too fast. I didn't want to listen to slower music because I was trying to WAKE UP. But I caught myself bouncing with the beat. You should NOT bounce when stretching. Ever. I also caught myself doing the exercises to the beat, which was too fast.
- I don't know how long my warm up was. But I know it got my heart pumping and I started to break a sweat. It also worked out a lot of kinks and aches I had from sitting around too much this week, which is why I did it. Based on the number of songs I listened to, it was about 7 minutes, which is typical.
- If I was to think about my time today as a "workout" I would include the time I spent warming up in that. Still, the whole thing together was maybe 20 minutes maximum. With a 10 minute drive to a park in the middle of it. This is not a lot. I am not workout maven reaching heights to which mere mortals cannot ascribe. That's a fancy way of saying, I am not doing anything a typical person could not do.
- When I got out of my car and started walking, I was cold. I started running maybe too soon and kept going maybe too long before slowing to a walk, because I was cold. When I got back to my car I was warm and I was sweating, and I needed water, but I wasn't dying or anything.
- I drove to a small park I have tried before. It had a small loop. I went around the park loop twice. I spent more of the time running than walking, this time.
- The path at this park is a concrete sidewalk, and it was frozen. So I ran on frozen concrete. I do not have shin splints and I did not have pain in my shins. (HOORAY)
- I did stop after 2 loops because my back was hurting, particularly my lower back. Now, I absolutely do warm up and stretch exercises for my back. I think I just don't have enough core strength right now. So now, instead of paying attention to the pain or lack of in my shins, I am going to pay attention to my back. Maybe add in some more exercises or stretches, try and push myself a little, and mark how well I can take it. I'll pay attention to this as a mark of my progress. Perhaps by spring my back will not ache any more. I think that is a reasonable goal to have.
Right now, I am in pain. Not crippling pain, but pain. My whole back hurts, my shoulders, my upper arms. Not the stabbing ache of my lower back in the spinal area, which is what I get while I am trying to run. No, it is a muscle ache.
This is strange to me because... well I don't use my back muscles when I run. Do I? Not like I use my leg muscles. But that's what aches. From the back of my neck all the way down my back, and my upper arms. It feels like I did a weight workout in those areas and overdid it some.
What I really wish is that I could stretch when I cool down. Before the snow hit, I did that. I wold finish my time and then sit on the grass or a bench, and do different stretches for my legs and my back. But now it is cold and there is snow, so my cool down is just walking the last part and that's it.
I think today I pushed myself. I know, it was eleven minutes -- big workout! But I ran longer than I walked, and a bit faster than I have been. I did not do the Hobbit Shuffle. My stride was longer. I had more speed.
Now my body aches and I would like to stretch those muscles but I am not in a place where I can do that.
This post contains a lot of estimates and guessing. It's not really precise. I don't know how far I go or how fast. I don't have any specifics on this. I used to use the timer but now I find it a pain to switch from the iPod on my phone to the timer while I am running. I am sick of doing that. So I just listen to music and go.
I am starting to feel like it would be helpful and motivating to have some more specific data on my distance or speed or time. Nike has a sport kit that combines with an iPod or iPhone and the Nike website to track this information. It is not that expensive. Of course, I am thinking, I really don't want to spend more money on running. I just want to DO it. And would I really want to hook the darn thing up to my computer? I barely sync my phone as it is.
I have been looking on ebay to see if anyone is selling the kit. I have seen some for less than $15, plus shipping costs. I am thinking about it. Truth be told, I want to buy it but I am telling myself not to. The point of running is that it's not supposed to cost what a gym membership costs. It's supposed to be cheaper. So I don't know.
I recently graduated from graduate school and I got a nice cash gift from my mother. Most of it will go to bills and living expenses. But I am debating spending part of it on this Nike kit. But I don't want to spend money on a piece of technology that I might not use.
On the other hand, I did not want to buy these shoes either, and it was the fact that I spent money on them that has really pushed me to keep going. To get my money's worth out of them. At this point I really feel that I have done so.