Zombies, Running and Rain

“Kid, I don’t care what exercise you do, you need to find one to do at least 3 times a week.  I’m sick of you sitting on the couch watching TV all the time.  I have three different workouts on DVD you can do.  We can look to see if there is one you like better. I don’t care – do something.”

My nearly-13-year-old is beyond a couch potato.  If it has a screen, she is drawn to it. For hours she will sit there flipping between shows.  When Indigo hit about 11, she went from this over active kid outside running around with friends, riding bikes, skateboarding, pogo sticking around the neighborhood to a sloth on the couch.

My mandate was she needed to get off the couch and do something healthier because this was far from it.

Indigo rejected the workouts I have, so I suggested maybe we train for a run.  We’ll pick something out and start running.  She thought that was kinda cool – so we started looking.

Then she joined the middle school volleyball team putting the run on hold a bit.

Don’t read that last sentence as something negative. Nope – something sparked with Indigo and volleyball which was awesome. She was excited by it – she was trying hard to be part of a team.  It was fun to watch.  Sadly her attempt to get on the no-cut-volleyball club for the winter came to an end when they cut her and six other girls. (That’s a rant for a whole different post.)

So, we were back to the run.  I signed us up for the Turkey Trot, a 5k that is actually 4 miles or a 6.4K.  Then I looked at the course and cringed inside.  2 miles down the hill – turn around – 2 miles back up the hill.   It was going to be much tougher than I anticipated.

Over the weekend, we chose a couch-to-5K program for our smart phones.  I knew we would come up about 2 weeks short of the usual 6 week program but that’s ok.  It’s about getting active and keeping active.  Indigo found a Zombie to 5K program she thought would be fun.  So I paid the $2 for us to get it.

Monday, she took running clothes to school – changed after the bell – and headed to the track to start day 1 of the program.  I got a text while in a meeting that read “I’m doing my run now – when are you doing yours?”  I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at it.  She was innocently holding me accountable in a way that I needed.

After she was done, she posted on FB she did her first run because she and I were doing the Turkey Trot and she had to get ready.  The response from friends and family was great.  And I was even more on the hook for getting my ass out there.

And I did.  Maggie and I went for a run that was amusing.  Maggie is used to running with people who are actually in shape and running 7-8min miles while I’m doing this whole walking thing.  She kept egging me on by looking back as if to say “Mom, can we run now?”

I haven’t seriously run in 5 years.  I know this thanks to Facebook’s Memories feature that recently reminded me of my Run from Hell half marathon finish which was six years ago.  That was my first half marathon – and I was in better shape than I even was when I ran high school cross country.  Nine months later, while training for another half, I hurt myself.  I pushed too hard – not listening to my body because I was too caught up in my mind.

IT band is what everyone suspected (chiropractor, my friend the athletic trainer, etc).  So I did what was prescribed.  But only after I ran a miserable half marathon.  (I’m not always the smartest in terms of listening to my body.)

Rest – adjustments – yoga – stretching – strength training – using a roller – heat – ice.  All things I did at the advice of others as I did not run.  Some days it would bug me more than others.  Sleeping was hard because if I laid on my side just wrong, it would hurt too.  I had dreams of running again – but no real expectation it would happen.  I would hear at times that the body can’t handle the running impact too long.  It was suggested that maybe this was my body’s way of saying I was done with that.

About 3 weeks ago, I pretty much did not sleep.  My hip to my ankle on that side hurt like hell.  SB and G both had been prodding me up to this point to get into the chiropractor.  After not sleeping and having advil fail to even dull it, I called right when the chiropractor opened.  He got me in that day.

I explained how it was hurting, and you could almost see the light bulb appear above his head.  “That’s not your IT Band – that’s your lower lumbar / tailbone issue.  You have a nerve impingement!”  He checked a few things – then put me in a weird awkward position on his table to take the pressure off of that part of my back.  Ten minutes later, I felt exactly what needed to pop back into place.  When he came in, I told him where the issue was, he chuckled because it was right where he thought it was.  Then he had me do a series of muscle contractions as he attempted to relieve the pressure I was feeling.

It worked.

Holy hell – I went from pain that was about a 7 to nada.

I told him I was about to start running again.  He said – do it. If I start feeling pain again, get back to him ASAP.  Otherwise, he would see me in a couple of weeks.

Doing the runs this week to keep up with Indigo has been wonderful.  She did her next run in the dark by running around our block over and over until it was done.  Last night, I did mine in the rain.

I was sore from the first run – my muscles remembering what it was like to move in that way but reminding me it has been too long. I kept reminding myself that slow is ok.  I needed to find that pace – that cadence that makes my body feel like it is flowing through the run.  When I find that place, I can go forever as I’m not forcing my body to do anything – my body is just going as my breath matches my feet and my arms.

In the dark and rain, I hit that point. I could feel my body relax and sink into it as I just ran.  It was wonderful.  I got back home, I was wet, I was happy, I felt tired but in that good way.  Did I run the entire 36 minutes? No. The point was not to go there yet.  But at the end when I was to run as much as I could – I sank into it. I told myself it wasn’t about speed or distance but about the fact I was out there doing it. A shift of thinking I never thought I’d have given how competitive I am, even with myself.

Making Indigo choose an exercise and having her choose running is like the universe tapping me on the shoulder to remind me I need this as much (if not more) than she does.

Funny how that works sometimes.

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