July: Summer Goals

As a parent and a teacher, I am constantly telling the kids around me that, if they want to improve in anything, they need to set goals, real goals, tangible goals, something that is achievable.  In essence, we need to have SMART goals.

At the beginning of June, I made a wish and I set a few goals for the summer.  My wish is to be running again and I have every confidence that I will be able to soon.  Ironically, my almost year off running has left me feeling stronger and fitter than ever (an insane amount of cross-training will do that).  I am hopeful that my PRP injection will give my hamstring the extra strength that it needs so that I can confidently start to run and race again. So my first goal is based on this wish: pool-running 4 to 5 times a week.  This should build and strengthen those same muscles and  will allow me, I hope, to resume to running with a bit of a base.

I also have 3 other fitness goals:

Test run on my mountain bike. I’m ready!

1) Cycling.  If you are following me on Instagram, you already know that I have spent many hours on my wind trainer this winter, leaving me with an average of 375 miles a month since the beginning of November.  Cycling is one sport that hasn’t bothered me because the ischial tuberosity doesn’t touch my bike seat.  But, since I have been healing, I haven’t been able to push myself with intervals either.  I am feeling ready.  My summer goal is to get back to cycling outdoors.  Dave and I are planning my first “test ride” later this week and I am pretty excited about it.

2) Swimming.  I have had an on-again/off-again relationship with the pool all winter.  I was quite proud of myself when I finally got back in the water after being away from swimming for the past 20ish years.  But family schedules and work hours have made it difficult for me to stick with it.  And, let’s face it, swimming scares me.  It’s hard and I have to work at it.  If swimming were my only form of fitness, I would be more committed to it but it’s an add-on.  I am also on my own almost every single time.   So my summer goal is to be consistent, to work at it at least 3 times a week.  I am really looking forward to seeing my distance in the water increase as the summer progresses.

3) Yoga – keep it up.  Yoga has been my saving grace through the winter.  It’s made me stronger and helped me to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.  It’s also let me sweat when I wasn’t able to any other way.  As strange as it may sound, psychologically, more than anything else, I just needed to be able to sweat.  Getting stronger has been an extra benefit.  As I spend more time in the pool, my time in the studio will likely decrease and I’ll adapt as I need to.  Right now, my goal is to hit the studio at least 3 times a week and that is doable.

Along with these is my goal to write more.  When I started blogging a few years ago, it seemed that everyone was doing it.  But as Instagram became more popular, blogging became “less of a thing.”  I have loved keeping this blog as it gives me the chance to be creative, to express myself and verbalize my thoughts.  Most of my writing is fitness-related, but I really enjoy writing the occasional, more opinionated piece too.   I like being able to share my story or information that can motivate, educate or impact others.

So how am I doing with these goals so far?  Since July 1st, I have ridden 37 miles (2 rides) on my wind-trainer, swam, ran in the pool and written this post.  In an hour, I am heading to yoga as I have just been cleared to go back.  All in all, I’m off to a good start.

Chasing my dreams……

Oh, What a Feeling!

After finally being able to run consistently, every other day, for the past 3 weeks, I have a renewed energy.   I can’t get too excited since running still hurts, but it isn’t the “Ow, I am broken” kind of hurt that I had all fall; nor is it the “I’m so out of shape” feeling that we often get when we have been off for a while.  It’s a stiffness, a type of knot, a sensation that I really can’t describe.   I like to think of it as a “healing pain” to remind me of Tammy and Izzy, my unruly tenants who moved in during the summer and fall, and of all the work that I have been doing to evict them.  It’s a message to not push myself just yet – to be careful.

At my chiropractic visit on Saturday, Sandy asked how my legs and hips were feeling.  “It’s just my glutes,” I told him, “and the very top of the back of my thigh.  I feel like I have gone for circle.”  In July,  I went for a massage because those were the two areas that were bugging me, but that treatment led to a chain reaction of a tightness, pain and tears.  “That’s it?” he replied.  “That’s good.”   “Well, my quads were killing me earlier in the week, but that’s because I am an idiot.”

You see, I am running but it isn’t enough – in terms of distance or intensity.  I need more of both. While I love that I am back on the road and running, I don’t feel like I am getting much out of that time healthwise, so I am keeping up with the lunges, bridges, planks, cycling (windtrainer) and yoga that I have committed through the fall.   Somehow, through my determination to get stronger and a touch of bad planning, I somehow managed to do everything within 24 hours.

On Monday night, I hit yoga class (warmed up with my bridge routine) at 6:00 and rode on my windtrainer after that.  Tuesday morning, I did my 360 lunges at school, ran 5K after school and had a chiropractic treatment at 6:00, 24 hours after my Monday night yoga class.  Then, to top it off, I rode for an hour before going to bed because it seemed like a good idea at the time.   When I woke up the next morning, my legs were sore!  But it was a good kind of sore, the kind you get when your muscles have been pushed and are tired, the kind of sore that feels better as you move around through the day, the kind of sore that feels great!

I haven’t had that feeling in months.   Sandy laughed after he heard my insane description, especially with the treatment details in the middle.  “You are obviously doing everything you can to get stronger and that’s okay.  It’s okay to feel sore.  Just overdo it.”

I don’t think there is a chance that I could ever repeat that Monday/Tuesday- at least, not in the near future.  But the satisfaction of thinking about what I did makes me smile.  It’s made me realize how far I have come in my overall fitness in the past 7 months and it gives me hope for chasing dreams and crushing previous times.   It makes me feel great!  So I won’t say “never again.”  We’ll see how long it takes me to lose my mind again.