Walking…It’s just like running

…only slower!

I read online that, in order to check if I’m ready for running again post stress fracture, I need to walk briskly for one straight hour and make sure there is no pain afterwards. I’ve been delaying this because I’ve been unmotivated, thinking that it would be boring.

The actual process of walking was not bad at all! In fact, it was quite enjoyable. I went straight to Golden Gate Park after an evening rain. It was just as I remembered it: the clouds shifted and turned in the sky. The sun peeked through. The ground was a little wet. It smelled like trees. It reminded me of running in the sense that, after getting warmed up, I felt good about continuing. It has a similar meditative-like quality to it in that it’s time I spend just walking, and I can give myself this time for about an hour in the morning.

By the evening, however, my foot was not feeling great. It wasn’t feeling as bad as it felt during the height of my stress fracture, but it was not 100%. Looks like I need to go back to the podiatrist to be cleared after all. In the meantime, I’ll still swim. I just wish I loved swimming just as much as running and climbing. I really do.

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Swimming Rules

I swim in a community pool during a time of day that is dominated by the retired subculture* of a wealthy northern California suburb. Though I haven’t been swimming for long, I’ve come to realize that swimming is an extremely social activity in this suburb for these folks. There are regulars who know each others’ names and life histories. There is actual locker-room gossip. There are rules, some unspoken.

Here’s one of the rules that’s spoken:

Rule #1: BEFORE ENTERING ANY LANE ALERT ALL PERSONS ALREADY SWIMMING.

TRY TO FIND A LANE THAT FITS YOUR SPEED

If people pass you, move to a slower lane.
If you pass people, move to a faster lane.
If you are a jogger or walker, use the area scheduled for this activity.
The lifeguard will assist in finding the best lane for you.
The lifeguard will move swimmers into appropriate lanes, when necessary.
Do not assume you can use the same lane every visit.

Note that “the lifeguard” is in charge of dictating who is in what lane, not “the swimmers.”

Enter…Gloved Woman (known for her trademark backstroke, accent, and dark gloves). Gloved Woman (GW) practically lives at the pool between 6-9am every M-W-F. She takes frequent breaks to gossip about the other swimmers to the lifeguard, in a clear attempt to sway him. The lifeguard humors her. Last Wednesday, I was swimming in the slow lane and taking frequent breaks. During one of my breaks, GW (who was taking a gossip break) hollered over to another prospective swimmer:

“She’s leaving! You can split the lane with me.”

Me: “No, I’m taking a break.”

GW: “Oh, my mistake.”

GW then proceeded to glare at me.

Me: “I’m new to swimming.”

GW: “No you’re not. I’ve seen you here before.”

GW then tossed her hair back (or she would have, had she not been wearing a swim cap), and proceeded to continue swimming. On my next break, I overheard her talking to the lifeguard about how she tried to let that other poor swimmer in with us, but I wouldn’t allow it.

20 minutes later, I was ready to get out, and saw another woman approaching the lane.

Me: “It’s yours.”

GW overheard me and quickly swam up to the top of the lane.

GW: “Good.” Directing the new swimmer to my lane, she said: “Now, you take this side of the lane.”

The next time I went swimming, GW was thankfully in the “Medium” lane. I doubt this will be my last encounter with her, however.

*Yes, I said “subculture.” I have my anthropology prof from my D.C. internship to thank for that! It implies exclusivity.

Rediscovery

I am a creature of habit. When I form a habit, it’s really hard for me to break it, be it getting up at the crack of dawn to run…or eating a certain sweet something at 3pm. I’m obviously not a slave to habit, otherwise I would never have moved in my life, nor would I have picked up new hobbies at any given point in time. But my habits ground me. And I guess, when you’ve moved four times in four years, you need something to ground you.

Running was not a habit I wanted to give up, for any period of time. But I had to push it off to the side for my poor little injured second metatarsal. Not only have I pushed aside running, I put a hold on my climbing gym membership (which, incidentally, was how I spent 2-3 evenings a week, for upwards of 4 hours each evening). It’s now been 3 weeks since my podiatrist’s stress fracture semi-diagnosis, and finally…I’ve broken the habits I so adored. In their place, I have new habits, and even though it was painful to give up the old habits, I’m starting to like the new ones.

Take swimming, for instance. I know how to swim, I enjoy it, and I recognize it is such a good workout. I was resistant to get back in the swimming game at first because it meant I’d have to learn where the pools were, what their schedule was, and how to make it there on time. It’s taken me three weeks, but I’ve finally figured it out, and it’s not that hard to make it to where I need to be. Moving through the water yesterday morning, I realized I’m finally getting the hang of things. I can go for two laps without stopping instead of one. I know that I have a lot to work on with swimming to get to the point where I could go continuously for 30 minutes or so, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling completely relaxed and fundamentally happy after a session. I don’t know if this is because I like swimming or if it is because it is the best exercise available for me right now…but I’ll take it.

I may be a habit-forming person, but habit breaking is just as much fun. I need to remember this when I get stuck in my ways. Life is just too short to schedule in so much and leave no room for discovering (or rediscovering) new things.

The Wiggle

The Wiggle is a one mile section of the bike route to the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. When you’re on your bike, those steep SF hills can really be killer, and wiggling gets you around them seamlessly.

“Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle…wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle” is also the catchy refrain in a LFMAO song that keeps coming up when I listen to my guilty pleasure (ahem, trashy pop music) during my runs lately.

Today, I wiggled all the way to Mission Cliffs. It was a rare treat to go to a different climbing gym than my usual. I spent some time walking around the mission (also a rare treat to see some SF sunshine), and then I wiggled all the way back, stopping only for a hot dog in Golden Gate Park (side note: I’ve been wanting to stop for a hot dog since about a year ago, but I’ve never had the time to really seize the day…until today –that was one delicious hot dog).

Climbing and biking are definitely my preferred way to cross train, but all this activity is making me sleepy. It’s Saturday night and I just hope I can stay up until 9. Oy…

Team Sports

Source: kickball.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

Historically, I’ve not chosen the team sports bandwagon. I’ve tried, and failed, sometimes more embarrassingly than others. In middle school, I happily complied to be the water girl at basketball practice because I just didn’t want to participate in the action. In high school, a friend of mine convinced me to do volleyball camp. I lasted three days but, after several volleyballs hit me under a net (this was an “exercise”), I quit. I don’t play well with others when balls are involved, and I’ve accepted this as the way things are.

Until yesterday. I decided to try kickball. Kickball is a kid’s game, and the rules are based off of baseball. Adults play this game, primarily to socialize. More details can be found on the WAKA website.

I didn’t realize I had such a deep-seated hatred of team sports until I was thrown into the kicking as the starting kicker. Surprisingly, I actually succeeded in kicking the ball (this has never happened for me before). And..I sprinted. I knew what to do to get to the bases, but I missed the boat on the whole — what-to-do-when-someone-catches-the-ball — thing. I let my whole team down in one faulty move, and the rest of my evening was frustrating. They said they didn’t care, and that this was just practice…but I knew better –this game was the introduction for the rest of the season, and I just showed everyone I was the weak link. I sulked in the outfield for the remainder of the game, and hoped that I didn’t get myself into a “catching situation” again.

I don’t think I’ve lost hope yet. I like the concept behind team sports — a bunch of people support each other in their journey to get the ball to where it needs to go — and, in return, you make friends and get in shape. But, I don’t think I’ll be going back to kickball.

To run, or not to run…

…That is the question. I feel better and my cold is not concentrated in my chest anymore, but my sinuses are screaming at me this morning, the fog is heavier than yesterday, and I have walking/biking plans this afternoon (it’s the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, after all!). I might wait until later this afternoon or delay until Monday. I feel disappointed but I know I’ll get back on track soon, and I am hopeful I just don’t get sick again until after July 29!

In cross training news, I went for a hike in Land’s End yesterday with a new friend. I tend to shy away from local hikes because I like the feeling of “getting away” for a hike — but couldn’t turn down the idea, as I had only a couple of hours to spare, and it was a beautiful day. It was a little more crowded than Marin hikes, but it was also nice to get out without driving too far.

Here’s the view from one of the vantage points (not too shabby, huh?):

Elliptical

 

The elliptical machine and I have an on-again/off-again relationship. When we’re on, we’re really on! We read books together, we do interval training together, we cool down and it measures my progress for 30 minutes to an hour. The last time I had a serious affair with the elliptical machine, it was grad school and I used it as a way to trick myself to do my reading (turns out, I read faster and more enthusiastically when I do it on the elliptical, which is important when you have 500+ pages to read every week).

 

When we’re off, it’s for a good reason: boredom and plateauing. The elliptical and I have really only been warming up at the climbing gym together, 5-10 minutes, max, once or twice a week. Until today, when I gave it a good 30 minutes and brought a good book to accompany me. It doesn’t hurt that the interior of the gym looks like this:

That’s Crissy Field in the background, and the sun is rising. This particular room is for stretching.

The good news is: I lasted for 30 minutes without losing a lung, and I feel like this cold is not going to get the best of me, as if *maybe* I could even attempt running tomorrow. We’ll see!

15 miles in 2 days

Yesterday, after my almost 4 mile run, we fit in about as much urban walking as I’ve ever done in my life (guess: 6 miles). We took the ferry to pikes place market, then ran up the giant hill to watch the cupping at Stumptown, only to find out it was the wrong Stumptown…then ran to the right place, and met up with an old college friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years. After the cupping, she guided us through volunteer park, the arboretum, islands and finally, margaritas. That was a lot of unplanned miles logged…and today’s 4 mile hike at Mt Walker was not for the faint of heart. We have not wasted any time, and I most certainly crave an ice bath. The water that surrounds us is looking mighty appealing!

Finished Hike: Apr 29, 2012 3:18:28 PM
Hike Time: 2:15:09
Stopped Time: 4:04
Distance: 4.22 miles
Average: 32:01 /mile
Fastest Pace: 11:59 /mile
Ascent: 1832 feet
Descent: 1897 feet

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Saturday’s Burpees

Source: someecards.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

A burpee is a cross between a plank, a pushup and a hop. The exercise sounds harmless enough (with “burp” as the first syllable, it just sounds cute and giggle-worthy)… but it is nothing to be messed around with. Sure, you may giggle the first time someone says, “Do 10 burpees,” but by the fifth time around, you’ll learn to dread respect the word.

I usually do these once a week, only because someone tells me to. Without this reason, I don’t think I’d even know they existed (even though they’ve apparently been around since the 1930s).

I have yet to realize the benefits of them, but they are getting easier (or I’m getting more adept at figuring out the tricks around doing them properly). Perhaps one day, I will even do them on my own. Until that day, I have bootcamp.

The Crow Pose…or why I sometimes have bruises above my elbows

Wednesdays are yoga days. You can tell it’s a yoga day because I will walk confidently into the office, smile plastered on my face at 9:50am, which is a little later than my normal eta. My colleague will probably ask me how the gym was (we go to the same gym, but she’s not a morning person). I’ll say “FANTASTIC!” or “I LOVE YOGA!”, at which point she will say, “I’m glad you love yoga.” There will be a hint of sarcasm in her voice, as she prefers climbing or working out independently over any ol’ yoga class (to her credit, she did try it once).

Today, we worked on crow. Crow looks like this when it is done properly:

 

When I do it, my head is precariously placed on a block and only rarely do both of my feet come off the ground. I’m usually not a huge fan, though the block helps. Today, I could only do one set of toes at a time, but I did feel like they say you should feel — like I was making progress and growing in my practice. One of these days, I’ll put myself into crow without a block and that seems like a manageable yoga goal (side note: on my list of “manageable yoga goals,” you will never see “headstand”).