This evening I went for a run through my neighborhood. The weather has been so, so lovely lately and spring is coming early in these parts. Many things are blooming and budding, and that is always so energizing.
It was my first outdoor run in awhile because for the last several weeks I have been running indoors at the Y. I love running on the track at the Y because I can calculate everything to death. I am a details person, and I love timing myself as I complete each lap, thus being able to calculate my speed. I love setting little goals for myself that I am going to run so many laps and only walk so many. I also love being around other people engaged in fitness activities. I find that very motivating. There's this one guy that is often on the track at the same time as me who periodically bursts into a sprint and goes pounding past me at amazing speed. You can feel the power and energy in his wake as he passes and I imagine I'm soaking it up so I can use it myself. I love it.
I also recently attended a yoga class for the first time. I have been wanting to go to a group exercise class for, well, for years, really, but I have always been too chicken. I have been so worried that it would be way too hard and after an embarrassing ten minutes or so I would hang my head in shame and slither out of the room. Well, I finally went to Beginning Yoga and I loved it so much. I survived the whole hour just fine. It was gentle and slow, but it was powerful. At the end I had the most amazing feeling of balance and relaxation. I am so sold on yoga. I wish I could go at least once a week, but it looks like it's going to be pretty hard for the stars to align for me to get there very often at this stage of the game.
As I look to future years, though, I want regular health club attendance to be a part of my life from here on out. When the kids are older I would love it if I had a routine where I could go daily, alternating cardio with strength-building activities and including yoga at least once a week. Just what a responsible, healthy, balanced person should do, right?
But tonight I remembered how much I love being out in nature as I exercise. The air was fresh, cool, and invigorating. Without a track to give me exact distances I ran when I felt like it and walked when I felt the need. That probably wasn't exactly pushing me closer to my goal, but it was much more enjoyable. I was running because I was loving it, not because I've gotta get good enough to do this 5K.
As for goals, I think a lot about what my goal for my first race actually IS. I know I can complete a 5K--walking the whole way-- in under an hour. So, do I set a time goal, or a "percentage ran" goal? I still cannot imagine myself running the whole thing without walk breaks at this point in my training. But maybe I can. I do know I expect to be on the tail end of the finishers and have a time that is much higher than the average woman my age and that's okay.
I had Bean with me on my run tonight. He's been swimming a lot lately, but he doesn't run much and he hasn't built much running stamina yet. He can run twice as fast as I can for very short distances, but at this point I can run for much longer stretches at my turtle pace than he can. We're like the tortoise and the hare. He says stuff to me like "wow, Mom, you just keep going and going." Like I'm good at this or something. And I laugh because really, I can't run that far without taking a walk break. And when I do run I am extremely slow. But I have gotten better-- A LOT better-- than where I was when I started. That was only two and a half months ago. So I keep telling myself if I just keep doing this and just get the tiniest bit better every time, who knows where I might end up?