I haven’t attempted jogging or running since last summer, mostly because I was going to do a 5K Obstacle Race and after that race (which sadly I didn’t get to do because I showed up 3 minutes late) I had zero motivation to continue jogging or running. Still, a desire aches deep within. This evening, during my initial 5 minute walk on the Treadmill I felt like I was strolling, cushioned by eternal clouds all around my tender feet and ankles; how lost I felt within instant change from my regular cross-training battered Nike sneakers. With a Cheshire-cat grin on my face I said, “I can get used to these clouds,” just when my mind shotgun me a warning, “Better not get comfortable, you’re going to need every ounce of yourself tonight. We’re starting back at square one.”
And this entry won’t be about every little thing I did (although I’ll add a little in for the sake of healthy reminders and anew celebration), but of some observations I learned this evening. I’m happy because although my body was already exhausted from the burdens of continual soreness, I fought for every minute I walked and every minute I jogged. And even though I couldn’t finish strong with the pace of 5.5 towards the ending, I placed extra mileage (4.5 speed) on these sneakers and feet because I want nothing to stop me.
The small moments of invincibility I’ll take on any day in which I battled long, hard and steady for. Towards the last countdown of the game, over the hill of more than 3 and a half miles I gave myself a few fist pumps and thumbs up even if people thought I was a crazy loser at the rear Treadmills. But I earned the crown of headache-jogging and for a moment, I earned the world of guts once again.
I took in quite a few observations about jogging and getting close to the ideal of going at a running pace for my short legs which stopped at a 5.5 speed. The most basic observation being the amount of focus I have to demand and generate at sheer will. I have a habit of looking down at my feet/legs or even at the numbers increasing or decreasing on cardio machines at the gym. But looking down takes my focus away from jogging and allows my mind to drift even when I don’t want it too.
At one point I had to decrease the 5.5 to 5.3 because I could sense my balance being off track and I was going to no doubt bust my ass if I continued on that speed. I lowered it for a moment to regain my focus again and not look down at my feet or try to change my music on the ipod. Instead I just stared up at the television where the label on the board wrote out: TNT. OH! And every now and again, I stared at this flamboyant guy who jogged worse than flailing wrist forward females, in which, put my mind at ease about being a self-conscious beginner jogger.
The other observation was about the need to relax myself while trying to find the poise of fluidity and balance. I don’t make any excuses for my body fat or the solid muscle I do have on my structure. But with both the fat and muscle generally it’s difficult for me to feel relaxed and/or light. I’m on edge even when I sit down on a train reading a good book and my hands are close to bunching in a fist and my arms are never fully extended because of tension I hold tightly to my body. The small moments when I do feel light, it’s a rarity, kind of like allowing myself to trust in a stranger; unfamiliar territory, needless to say along with grandeur vulnerability.
So, in turn, having to trust myself while learning how to loosen up and let go throughout jogging is a test I must study to overcome. I’ve come a long way with this, as well, because when I first attempted jogging and running years ago, it wasn’t until I took off my headphones that I heard the loud thunder of my feet hitting the Treadmill belt. Apparently, I was a little too good when it came to stomping and probably better at hurting my joints in the process. Tonight I focused and auto-suggested to myself how I’m light as a feather and balance become me. There were clear moments of fluidity and of a highness that offered itself to me in the form of joy and glide.
Short side note here: There’s nothing like jogging when it comes to my body. I wonder if it’s due to the fact that I’m inefficient at it currently. But, seriously, nothing taxes my body like a jog or short run. Nothing! I wonder if I’m one of those people who aren’t built for jogging or running and if it’s something I could just be spinning my wheels on?
Another observation or rather, a question balloons: How soon is too soon to push beyond the limits of what I think I can perceive? I’m aware of my body in many areas, but there are moments when I can never be too careful (aside from thinking the worse fantasies of falling on the Treadmill and somehow splitting my kneecap open). I know my body well enough to know I need at least a 5 minute warm up before jogging. Then I could only jog or attempt running for 5-7 minutes at a time because anymore than that and my left shin starts to give out. So I walk for 5 and jog for 5 minutes and repeated this until the point where my body is getting tired, but it seems like my mind gets tired at the same time as my body. Actually, it’s hard to know which is fatiguing first.
However, my lungs can handle it well and my legs have done more than enough strength-training and Plyometrics to where they don’t tire as quickly as someone who’s never done that type of training before. But my feet aren’t strong and neither are my shins when I compare them to my lungs and the rest of my legs. Eventually the shin splints and dead feet start to weigh me down. This usually takes anywhere from a total of 20-30 minutes of jogging. (Again, I’ve never been consistent with jogging.) Tonight I had this feeling where my legs seemed to outdo my brain and it was running quicker than I thought I could; running so much I had to decrease the speed as my stability once again was getting out of control and I was going to fall. So, finding the balance (that has nothing to do with the mind/body itself), but of my limitation is another challenge.
It took me approximately one month and a half to break in my running sneakers. This is a fresh new start to the world of jogging and running for me. This time I want to be consistent. I’ve made up my mind long ago to be well-rounded when it comes to fitness. I don’t only want to be good at one thing and nothing can replace my first love of dumbbells and weight-training. Still, I want to be good at multiple things fitness-related. Originally the goal was to run for a total of 30 minutes. I came up short and reached 25 minutes. I added an extra 5 minutes even though I felt like I had barely anything else to give because my body was failing me right from the beginning as my chest, traps, shoulders, back and lower abs were and still are completely sore from a workout the other night. I felt this made the jog excruciating in a sense. Nevertheless, I most likely prefer it to be this way.
Next time I’ll see if I could push more or at the least get better time while having my body on much fresher and recovered terms. After my delightful jog (the only thing that gets me sweaty in no time and for some reason also gives me water retention the longer I go), I stretched for 35-40 minutes. That’s one of the worthwhile benefits I found with jogging; the stretch after is remarkable as my entire body had zero choice in the matter, but to yield to laxity.
This is just the beginning of something different.