Friday, December 7, 2012

The New Routine

I think that I have officially gotten used to my new fitness routine... and I think  I'm happy about that.

These days, I'm "running" a 5k once or twice a week, swimming once or twice, and stationary biking once. A far cry from my run, maybe yoga, run, run, run schedule of yore.

Swimming has been the toughest to improve at. After initially taking a week or two to remember how to swim effectively, I found myself at a plateau of around 25 minutes and 1000 yards or meters (depending on whether I was at the Downtown Y or Chester Y). For whatever reason, I just couldn't get past this point.

Back when I was a baby runner, I had the same kind of problem. For me, my wall was the 3 mile mark. For months and months I ran 3 miles on the dot and just couldn't bring myself to go beyond it. Don't ask me why... I guess I was afraid of what would happen if I did. Would I collapse in a heap, too exhausted to move? Would my calf muscles pop off like rubber bands stretched too far? Would I pass out from the exertion? Die of boredom?

I can't remember when I finally broke down the 3 mile barrier, but I obviously managed to do it (I believe with the help of lots of distractions including TV, trashy magazines, and music) and of course, nothing bad happened.

On Wednesday night I hit the pool, expecting to do my usual 25 minutes or 1000 yards, whichever came first. There was only one other person at the pool, which was strange. Usually people are sharing lanes and there is at least a kid's swim class going on. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of people and was able to choose my favorite lane and have it all to myself. I made note of the giant pace clock (36:30) and set off on my laps.

After my first 200 yards, I checked pace and wow... I had finished in 4:30. For me, that's pretty speedy. The next 200 yards of breast stroke were about the same, and I was feeling great, so kept up pace. Before I knew it, I had finished my 1000 yards in 23:30 and I was still feeling good. Usually when I hit the 1000 yard/meter point I'm pretty exhausted and just want to get out, but not that night.

So, I decided to take the plunge (punny!) and let this be the night I go for 1200. I finished the additional 200 yards easily and jumped out feeling like I could have kept going. Finally, I've broken my swimming wall.

My bike wall.... not so much. I loathe the stationary bike. LOATHE. It might get ditched when I can start running for real again.

Not in the mix is my beloved yoga. I can tell that I'm losing the small amount of limberness (Is that a word? Apparently yes... good to know.) and excellent balance that 3 years of practice had given me. I miss the familiar faces and flow of class. I miss Penny, my teacher. I miss feeling both powerful and completely calm at the same time - a feeling I only get from yoga.

The thing that really stinks about it is that I am afraid to go back. When I intially broke my foot my theory was that the fracture had initially taken place in my yoga class when I went too far in a pose. Who knows if that is what really happened... it could just be me looking for a reason for the break. But it has been planted into my brain as a possibility and now I am terrified that if I go back, it will happen again.

Of all the bad things that came out of my injury, the fear is the worst thing. I'm still afraid to truly run again, and now that fear is taking yoga from me too. I'm also afraid to wear high heels (probably a good thing), to jump up and down, to hop over something leading with my left foot, to kick a door shut with my foot, to stomp. It really stinks.

I can only hope that the fear starts to fade. I remember that at my first physical therapy appointment, Steve told me to stand with my weight evenly distributed on my two feet and I was terrified to do it. But I did it and my foot didn't break. At one point I thought I'd never walk normally again (dramatic and silly, but it really did feel like that) and here I am 99% normal.

Someday the confidence will come back, right?

Until then, it's run, bike, swim, run, swim.


  1. I’m a newbie runner that runs 3 mile runs a few times a week, and just recently completed my first 5K last weekend (and another scheduled this weekend). I’ve only run more than 3 miles one time and it felt great, but I’m still totally staring at that wall. And I’m going to have to break it down very soon as I begin training for my first half-marathon in March. It’s good to know I’m not the only person that’s experienced that same barrier distance. Nice blog. Good luck with the foot.

  2. You'll break it - and then there will be a new one. But you just keep going!

    Are you training from Shamrock? That was my first half and I'm doing it again this year as the culmination of my road to recovery. =)

  3. Yes. I actually found your blog because I was posting my goal to run it on SUAR and noticed you mention the same race. As a newbie, I know I'm rushing myself a bit, but I'm totally dedicated to overall training and I'm confident that I can finish it. Will I set any records? Nope. But that's not at all why I run. Good luck again with the foot. See you (and a few thousand others) in March.

  4. Kathryn - I love your blog! So glad you're back running again. For yoga, have you ever been to an Iyengar class? Iyengar teachers focus on alignment and form to prevent injury. It may be worth a try for you. I'm the queen of injuring myself (also broke my foot this spring, and have had multiple minor injuries and pulled muscles in my back from pushing myself too much in yoga). Iyengar is the one form of yoga that truly works for me. Very different from a power flow class, but once you learn correct alignment, you can make sure to practice safely in any classes style.

    1. Aw thanks, Steph. Congrats on your little guy - he is adorable! Hope he isn't giving you too hard of a time.

      I'll have to look in Iyengar. I go to the Y so I doubt that they offer anything like that... but there are many studios around Richmond that might. Thanks so much for the suggestion! I miss yoga but am so afraid to go back...