Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On the Run

Because of the ongoing college crisis (one that is an immediate threat to its very existence), I didn't exercise much at all last year. The previous year, I went on occasional uphill hikes with the dog, so there was some activity. Hiking was great exercise, but with the dog it took a long time. Not only did the hike itself take 1.5 hours, but then I would have to bathe the dog afterwards in case he'd gotten into poison oak.

This year, as I faced another school year focused on the college crisis, I finally accepted the fact that I would not have time for long hikes or yoga classes (these are what I pine for when I wish that had more time). But I also accepted the fact that I'm at a "use or lose it" age when it comes to bone density and muscle mass. So, I asked myself: How I can fit in exercise in less time? How can I get in shape in 15 minutes per day?

The answer, of course, was running.

There was just no way around it. Please note, I have never been a runner. Once, about a decade ago, I tried to become a runner. It lasted two months, and my knees were killing me. But now there really is no other way. I don't have time to spend an hour at the gym, and, also, I don't like gyms. I think they are stinky and claustrophobic. I do like yoga classes, but I don't have time to attend them. So . . . I'm left with running.

And it turns out that running is kind of awesome. Here are some reasons:

It's cheap.
I don't have to get in the car.
Even if I can only do 15 minutes, it makes a differences.
If I'm only gone 15-30 minutes, the kids hardly notice my absence.
I can take the dog (although sometimes he drives me crazy).
After seven weeks, I'm already stronger.
It's outside, so I get fresh air.

This last point is amplified by the fact that I live in an absolutely beautiful place. It almost never gets too hot or too cold, and I live close to a body of water. This means that taking a quick run down to the bay is a great way to start a morning, and instead of dreaded it, I actually kind of like it.

So I'm running three time a week:Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Four times would be better, but as in all things, the perfect (or the ideal) can be the enemy of the good (or good enough). So three days a week it is. When I don't feel like going, I tell myself, "You only have to do 15 minutes. You can walk if you want to." And usually, I end up going for 30 minutes, running most of the time. And since I'm not overdoing it (and since I'm not running on concrete), my knees feel fine.

So there it is. Running. And I think it might be sustainable. Who knew? Sometimes solutions really are fairly simple.


Amstr said...

Good for you! I'm impressed! I've been managing to stay consistent with swimming 3 mornings a week for over a year now, and it's hard to imagine life without it. (My 28 year old self would be shocked.)

QueSera said...

Awesome! I wish I wasn't injured out of running. I do miss the easy workout. Here's to you getting stronger and keeping the you time.

Rebecca said...

I totally agree, Sally! Always hated running but it works. I started running last spring, and I actually like it now. I think what I like most is the fact that I can actually do it at my age--seems like I'm pulling one over on myself or something. Doesn't it feel great? And instead of waiting around for various kid lessons to end, you can run around the parking lot and up and down the street.


Good Enough Woman said...

Amstr, I'm impressed that you get in the pool. Laps have always been hard for me, and *brrrrrrr* I don't like being wet and cold. But I know swimming is SO good for you. Once I've been doing it for a year, I won't be so worried about backsliding!

Que, Oh, I'm sorry to hear about your injury. My cousin, theThirtySomethingBride, was a marathoner and tore her meniscus. Can't run now. I'm hoping that my little piddling efforts won't be enough to lead to injury. At this point, the greatest danger seems to be of my should getting dislocated by my dog when he stops suddenly!

Rebecca, Hey there! It does feel good, and it's exactly like you say. If I've never liked it, how can it be happening when I'm 43 years old? But I must say, I don't push myself super hard. Just enough.

Bavardess said...

Running buddies! I'm pretty much in the same place at the moment, though I'm still trying to get one longer run in on the weekends. Gone are the days when I had time for a leisurely hour or so most days of the week, but I think much less is needed to just maintain cardiovascular fitness and some sanity. It helps to be able to run somewhere beautiful.