It’s a well-known fact that I hate the treadmill. I believe this is something that I whine about on a fairly regular basis. It’s one of those necessary evils when you’re a whimp but live in an area where winters have pretty big cold snaps, and very severe hot and humid times. I’m normally a pretty positive person, so even though I whine about the treadmill, I find myself looking for the good things about it.
Another well-known fact is that I have really struggled with my weight. I mean REALLY struggled!
Two completely random, unrelated facts about me.
Or are they? Unrelated, that is.
Since I first took up running three years ago, my goal was to lose weight. Imagine my frustration when I would run and run and run and not lose any weight. If you lack an imagination, let me just tell you how demoralizing it is to work so hard at something (two somethings – running and trying to lose weight) and fail so miserably.
- There were days when I would step on the scales with my super sore muscles and burst into tears.
- There were days when I’d put on a pair of jeans and not be able to get them on.
- There were days when I’d go through every dress in my closet trying to find something that didn’t look like I was built completely out of bulges.
- There were days when I said “fuck it” and didn’t do my workout, opting for a stiff drink or ten.
- There were days when I had nothing left to give and would just collapse in the recliner in front of the TV.
- There were days when I swore I would never run again because it was so pointless.
So, so many days of self doubt and frustration. That’s how demoralizing it is to work so hard with no results. Mark was very sympathetic. When I would express frustration his response was, “I don’t know how you keep going. If I worked as hard as you with so few results I would have given up by now.” While it was nice for him to be supportive and acknowledge that I was struggling, it did nothing to help me continue on in my journey.
Then I had an epiphany.
I had no goal. “Lose weight” is not a goal. It’s a desire, but it’s not a goal. A goal requires a plan to achieve that goal. “Run to lose weight” is not a plan. It’s an effort in futility.
So I began reading everything on could on running. How am I supposed to run? How am I supposed to prepare my body to efficiently run? How many days a week should I be running? What kind of cross training should I be doing? How do I prevent injuries? I’ve been dealing with a plantar fasciitis issue for quite some time now, so how do I deal with that? I figure out that I was doing it all wrong.
My main take away from everything that I ran is that just going out there and piling on miles does not do me any good. Straight cardio with no thought to strength training and rest time does not do a body good. It was like one of those “aha” moments.
In addition to my “aha moment,” my family began a fitness challenge, which I have mentioned a time or two within the past month. Our very first challenge was to set a goal. Based on the reading that I had been doing, I knew what my goal needed to be. It needed to be something specific, and something measurable. And for me, it needed to do with running and had to be attainable.
I have done a few races in St. Louis with Ann. Two were 10K races where we were both running the same race. The others have been me running the 5K and watching her run the half marathon the following day. I have really come to enjoy the race environment in St. Louis. It’s always a fun, supportive environment and I will probably always do those two races….the 10K in the Fall and the 5K in the Spring. So I have set my eye on the prize. To beat my last year’s 5K time by five minutes. It doesn’t seem like much, but for me (the slowest runner on the face of the earth) it feels like something that will push me.
I have taken what I’ve learned through my reading and put it into a workout schedule that is specifically designed to help me achieve this goal. I have taken any weight loss wishes off the table. Right now, that has to be secondary.
Re-enter the treadmill.
Can I get a collective GROAN!?
I’ve been doing a lot of interval training, and a lot of technique training. Gone are the days of just going out for a run. The other day I was doing Fartleks on the treadmill. As I randomly switched between different speeds (4.5 mph to 6 mph to 5mph back to 6 mph to 4 mph and so on) I got a wild hair that made me hit the 7 mph button on my treadmill. SEVEN MILES PER HOUR! And I did it! Just like that. A full minute at 7 mph. THREE different times!! My reason to be positive about that infernal treadmill is to be able to see at any given moment in time what my body is doing. It really helps me gauge my interval training. So, while I will continue to whine about having to workout on the treadmill, I will remind myself that it does serve a purpose for me.
Since the beginning of January I have lost seven pounds (as of this morning). SEVEN!!!!
I’m pretty sure that not saying “fuck it” and opting for a stiff drink or ten may have played a role in things. Maybe. Maybe being better about sweets helps. Maybe not ordering lunch at work every day helps. But I believe it is mostly to do with changing the way I’m working out. I feel confident for the first time in a long time that I can improve in the areas where I want to improve. And that’s a good feeling.
I’m in Seventh Heaven!