The Long Road Back to Fitness

I haven’t been on an outdoor run since July, but I did hit the treadmill for a run/walk four times in December and once in February. Somehow, I thought that meant I could jump on the treadmill last Friday and bust off a two-mile run. Easy peasy.

I was so, so wrong. 

I put a good face on it during the first few minutes, while a co-worker was running alongside me and we were shooting the shit, but I knew right up front I wasn’t going to be able to maintain a 11:30 pace (or thereabouts) for my planned two miles. Once my co-worker ended his cardio warm-up and went off to lift, I tried so hard to keep it going. I made it for about a mile total, according to the treadmill. Then, despite the knowledge that I wasn’t going to die, and my heart was not going to explode or go on strike, I kicked it down from 5.1mph to a more sedentary brisk walk of 3.9mph.

Guilty isn’t the word for what I felt. Disappointed? Lame? Weak? Gullible or deluded — as in, I’d fooled myself into thinking I could just pick up where I’d left off? In any case, I didn’t feel accomplished. I felt foolish and depressed, despite the endorphin hit of exercise.

I wrapped up and headed back into the locker room to shower off and make myself presentable again. As I was showering, I heard someone loudly talking to her running partner about all the junk food she’d eaten recently — possibly the night before — and how she was sure the beer she drank before bed had absorbed all the grease. This woman and her friend continued talking loudly after I turned off the shower and began drying off and dressing, one of them pointedly mentioning that she weighs herself every now and then just to make sure she’s not getting too skinny.

I could have sunk through the floor. Yes, I know intellectually that everyone has their own issues with their bodies, and that I shouldn’t compare myself to strangers. Still, after having a seriously rough few weeks of binge eating in the evenings, then trying to reset my habits (with varying levels of success), and having just gotten my ass handed to me by the treadmill, that was the last thing I needed to hear.

In an attempt to get back into a workout groove I would enjoy, I attended a new “Box-n-Step” workout today. I’m not an avid Step Aerobics participant by any means, but combining kickboxing with it couldn’t be that bad, right?

I knew I was going to have some mental focus issues to work through from the very beginning, when I looked in the mirror and saw not my awesome shoulders but my sausagey thighs and muffin top staring back at me. That’s not my normal pre-workout state of mind; in fact, I wear tank tops specifically to hype myself up with my best features. That didn’t work today.

I can count on one hand the number of classes I’ve been so frustrated with that I’ve just phoned it in. I can’t recall a class where I was so not into it that I wanted to cry for the entire 40-minute class. Until today.

Five minutes in, I gave a passing thought to putting my step away and just walking out and hitting the treadmill instead — but that would have been incredibly rude, so I didn’t. I just modified all the awkward bending-over-and-punching-downward moves in an attempt to save my back, tried to keep my feet moving like the instructor’s were moving, and occasionally moved my arms in some approximation of punches with no power behind them. I couldn’t get into any sort of groove — not with the movements, not with the music, not even with myself.

I did burn some calories, but I didn’t get any satisfaction from the workout. I’m never doing any sort of step-related workout ever again.

Thursday’s scheduled workout is Cardio Drumming, which was surprisingly fun and engaging the one time I tried it. Here’s hoping I can turn things around.


Postscript: Thursday

Cardio Drumming was not as fun as the first time. It wasn’t very fun at all. I felt frumpy and irritable and kept zoning out during class. The instructor kept telling us to put our own style into it and get sassy, but that made me just feel less into it.

I hope something changes, whether it’s me picking more flattering workout wear so I don’t get distracted by my least favorite features, or if it’s just hormonal, or if I can drop a quick five pounds and gain some oomph back.

This isn’t normal for me. Something needs to change.

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