Run Pain vs Barre Pain

I picked up the May 2013 issue of Runner’s World magazine last week and read an interesting article (Hurts So Good by Marc Parent) on how runners fight through pain and still pursue the sport. (I couldn’t find the article online to link it to, so here’s a picture instead).
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Intrigued, I asked myself if I did the same; and by golly, I do! For me running is a 99% mental 1% physical effort; and yet, I’m happy to lace up my sneakers and pound the sand, boardwalk, tar and reluctantly, pavement.

On the other hand, this rush of adrenaline and inspiration does not flow through my veins when I try to finish a barre or Figure 4 workout. I fervently abhor the numbness causing pain that courses through my glutes as I perform endless reps of first position squats along with other thigh blasting exercises.
Why can’t I motivate myself to finish one round of 20 reps when I have no problem psyching myself to run one more mile? It’s weird, but I don’t beat myself down when I can’t pulse my leg in the air for the allotted time, but you can bet I have a few choice words for myself if I resort to walking during the middle of a race!

I guess it all comes down to what a person perceives as fun. Running is fun for me, as I feel more in tune with the elements of nature around me. Performing countless exercises at first position is tedious, boring and arduous for me.

I thought all exercise pain was something I mindlessly pushed through; but there is a pain I will gladly accept and one I won’t. Though I’m certainly not ecstatic for future side pains, cramps, shin splints and tight hamstrings; I’m glad I’m a happy runner and hope to always be one 🙂
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Running…because I’m being Chased!

…by a dog, that is.

You’ve seen all the pins on Pinterest that note down one reason for running is because you’re being chased, right? Every time I see that quote, I just guffaw and brush it off. Like that happens to people in real life.

Well, I’ve learned my lesson in the past fortnight. I’ve been chased and scared out of my wits recently.  Let me set the plot for you.

The breeze feels like a refreshing towel on her neck as she takes in the cool, brisk evening where the auburn leaves match the setting sky so perfectly that you wish you could bottle that scenery as a perfume. The silhouette of a lone runner breaks the clean line of the horizon. She stoops to tighten the laces on her running shoes. Standing, her face glows under the limelight of the running app on her smartphone. She presses, START, and off she goes, running into the dusk, her playlist keeping rhythm with the thuds of her feet. Tonight is going to be a good run, she repeats to herself; hoping that  positive mantra will prove to be true. And indeed, it is, thanks to the overall flatness of the path she chose, with the exception of that one hill at minute five. As she makes the U-turn to head back home, she spies two figures approaching; one tall, one short. Just ignore them, she thinks, trying to reason with her irrational fear of any being not human. That works, until the moment the figures pass by her, when, much to her dismay, but not surprise, the dog barks, strains on his leash and menacingly jumps toward the runner. Involuntarily, she lets out a yelp, which propels her to veer parabolically in her route at a speed of, at her estimation, a 100 miles per hour. She peers out the corner of her eye and sees the dog still struggling at his leash, which justifies her previous reaction to their encounter. Crisis avoided, she burns the trail for the fastest route home.

And that’s just how it went down. I admit I have a problem with dogs. I just can’t help flinching when owners pass me with their best friends on a leash; no matter what size they are. And you know what?  I refuse to admit that I’m overreacting. In fact, I think the owners are under reacting;  at least in the situations that I’ve been in. I mean, if you reassure me that they mean no harm to me, then why are they snarling and tugging at their leash? I just cannot understand this attribute of “playfulness.” I’m sorry, but I have no wish to be jumped on by a dog, even if that’s his way of greeting me. I would just like to live in a world where they would just ignore me like I try to do with them. I mean, I even cross the street to avoid close contact, and you are still barking and biting at the leash? That’s enough to get me on anxiety meds.

As I continue running, I do hope to avoid situations like this; but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. For now, I can only trust in their owners’ strength and character to control their best friends, while leaving me the peace of mind to focus on training instead of worrying whether I’m being chased or not.

黛安娜  다이아나  ഡയാന

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Central Park 4Miler

Sunny skies; a slightly nippy breeze; orange and yellow foliage peeping through the green tops of the park tress; this was the setting for the perfect running weather.

Yesterday, I tested myself in a 4 miler through the park, running alongside like-minded women. In one word, it was amazing. The sun beat brilliantly on my back, the wind kept me cool, the water breaks were a strategic relief and the hills at mile 3 kept me huffing and puffing.

Yet, I pulled through 🙂 For that, I am grateful to my body and to God. I once thought I couldn’t run one block. But, slowly and steadily, my body took me to highs I’ve never experienced before.

  • Yes, you think your feet can’t move another step.
  • Your throat burns from the exertion of pulling in air in rapid pants.
  • Each uphill is pure torture; until you realize that pumping your arms will propel you over the crest and help you reach the downhill portion faster so that you can finally let gravity do its thing.

Although it is in no way a competition for first place; you’re exhilarated by the rush of adrenaline that pushes you to pass your fellow runners on the course. Pacing oneself on race day is so different from training. You realize that just as in life, there are obstacles you have to conquer and pass. Yep, that’s right. I have gone on record to say that in order to understand life, one has to run a race.

I ran a personal best of 10:14 a mile. If not for my 1 minute walk at the mile 3 water station, I might have been under 40 minutes! Ahh, just thinking about the possibility is mind-boggling! So, my official time was 41:41 and of course, I ran like a dog was chasing me for the last 200 yards to cross the finish line. I’m kind of hooked on the all out sprint at the end of the race; it makes me feel like an athlete and that is the best feeling of all!

All in all, I’m hoping for the same conditions and inner strength next weekend when I challenge my first 10K in the Run 10 Feed 10 Women’s Health Mag run. This is my last week of 10k training and I started it off with cross training, Zumba style. Strength is so key!

Now I’m off to scrounging up a playlist that will push me to achieve a PR next weekend.

Happy Fall!

黛安娜  다이아나  ഡയാന

Morning Musings…Gearing up for the Lenten Season

ImageGlancing out of my window and what do I see? Blue, blue skies.

It’s December and, for me, that means Lent! I remember when the idea of abstaining from meat and eggs used to make me cringe and wish that time machines were real so that I could joyfully skip those torturous days.  Fast forward to 2011 where I’m now a vegetarian and semi-vegan (if such a thing exists), these worries cannot haunt me anymore.

Thus, I’ve taken it upon myself to commit to a different type of Lent; one that does not eschew but permits. If there was ever a word to describe something I vigorously disdain it would be “Yoga.”  Sure I’ve practiced a few poses here and there; grasped the essence of meditation and the movement of the breath; but I could never really get into the craze. Keep Reading