Two years ago, when I was training for the half-marathon, I started jogging or running intervals: first just between lamp posts, then I worked up to whole blocks. One block walking fast, one block running, one block walking fast, one block running. I should have started this by telling you I hate running. Hate it. Love walking. Just love it, love it, love it. Then why did I do this, start running? Because I knew it would be good for me. Good for my marathon training. Yes, I can make myself do things I don't care for in the name of "good for me." It's a sickness, really.
But, as much as I hated doing it, I really think it helped me prepare for the half-marathon and get me in better shape. But another but...then my dog got sick and died, then my other dog got sick, and just after I got him healthy, then my cat got sick, and a year and a half had gone by before I knew it with no interval walks.
I started my old exercise routine again May 1, the day after Lalecka died. I'd kept up with the regular walks, even some long race-training walks on the weekends with The Awesome J, my friend who does 3-day cancer walks, but no running.
Then last month I started the interval running again on my Tuesday/Thursday walks (direct fallout from the "Oh my goodness!!!" reaction to seeing my naked body in a full-length mirror in a dressing room. I don't have such a thing in my house, and now I know why. In some sense, it's my own fault for not having bought any new clothes since the year 2000. I might have been better prepared for the shock had I slowly watched my body fall from late 30s firmness to late 40s flabbiness.). Tall Ginger Boy gets taken out for another mile-long walk those two days so that he can walk faster without Mr. Big strolling along. Don't worry, Mr. Big has walked the first mile and gets to relax and cool off at home while Doodle Bug and I go out again. I started this last year when I got Doodle, thinking it was a good way for us to practice loose-leash walking and bond. He loved it.
I thought for sure I'd be gasping and shin splinting before the first lamp post hove into view. But no, I sprinted straight past the post to the end of the block, no extra effort needed. What?!? Could this be muscle memory from a year ago? Maybe. Or maybe the stars were aligned. Who knows? But not a single gasp, not a single shin splint in sight.
Best of all? Doodle Bug loves it! The first block he wanted to take off, and I had to hold him back. The second block, he changed his pace up and down, trying to sync with me. The third block, we were in perfect striding harmony. We ran three blocks (or three-tenths of a mile) that first day, and now are up to running 7 blocks (or seven-tenths of a mile). And you know what? I can't believe I'm going to write this "out loud," but I'm loving it.
Maybe because he loves it so much, his enthusiasm is infectious. Maybe it's the fact running creates a breeze to mitigate the dang 85 degree heat at 6:30 a.m. Maybe it's because I was in better shape than the scale and my clothes and that evil, full-length, dressing room mirror told me I was. Who knows?
But starting September 3, I'm switching my exercise routine from M, W, F--walk the dogs and weights, T/Th--walk the dogs + second walk/run to M, W, F--walk the dogs +second walk/run, T/TH--walk the dogs and weights.
Who woulda' thunk it?