Monday, November 26, 2012

Slow and Steady wins the race...?

If I had written this yesterday, I think I might've called this post "Yeah, so...my trainer is nuts." (And I could say that to him, because he's also a friend... but I would've gotten that look.) Last week, on my "low" intensity day, he asked me to walk the distance up this huge hill (read: mountain) and let him know how long it took.  I'd walked it before, and it was definitely a challenge-- since my body got awfully used to being a flatlander. So I sent him a text telling him that it took me six minutes to go the requested distance.  I was not prepared for his response.  "K.  Now do it another five times." I remember staring at my phone incredulously, like "He's kidding, right? I'm gonna die!" Only he wasn't kidding.  Being both fierce and dedicated, I walked up the mountain six times.  (We did however compromise, and he let me jog down the hill each time.)  I was about to lose my religion, but I thought to myself "Wow--by next boot season, I might actually be able to find a pair of boots that fit my calves."

Yesterday was another "low" intensity day. I was prepared for him this time, and had already steeled myself to hike up the mountain another six times.  Oh, if only...

Because he's all about keeping the body from adapting too much. So here was his decree:  Walk up the "hill" and jog down.  Walk backwards up the "hill". (yes, I'm that crazy lady you see walking backwards, like "Oh, don't mind me, this is a perfectly normal thing to be doing." Remind me to remind the trainer that this is a small town, and that I actually know some of the people who are giving me weird looks as they pass by.) Jog down.  Right over left up the hill, and jog down. "Oh, and don't let your  heels touch the ground."  Left over right up the hill and jog down.  And he wasn't kidding.

I just had to keep thinking about the fabulous boots that I was gonna wear soon. This pudgy parson's calves were on fire.  And not only that, but the whole process was so slow.  Painfully slow. I rocked out to some Tom Petty and the Boss and some terrible music on my running list that I'm embarrassed to admit I love.  And I went as slow as it took to both do it well, and to keep my heart rate as slow as he wanted. I didn't realize yesterday, but sometimes slow is a gift.  Lately, I feel like I'm always in a flurry of activity, and never have enough time.  But when you're forced to slow down, there's room to think idle thoughts.  There's time to put yourself back together when the world has been too much in your face. Maybe in this frenzied time of year, I need to be made to go slowly and deliberately sometimes.

I was surprised at all the muscles that felt like they were getting a workout yesterday: my calves and quads were a given, but I didn't expect my low back and my side obliques and whatever muscle is under my saddlebags to feel it so much.  That's a pretty good return on my investment.  If it takes going slowly to work those rarely used muscles, then maybe I can embrace the slow... at least for a few minutes.

Turns out, my trainer is not, in fact, nuts. Maybe next time it's a do-funny-moves-up-the-mountain day, I'll wear a ski mask.  He might not be nuts, but folks will think I am.