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Nike Dart 8With over a month of regular trips to the gym under my belt, I thought I’d share a little update about how it’s going.

After I signed up to play rec league soccer, I realized I was going to have to get in shape in order not to collapse on the field in the first half of the first game. Endurance has never been my strong point, even when I was playing in high school. Eleven years later, it’s probably the worst it’s ever been. Last summer didn’t see me on my bike as often as usual, and I go into hibernation mode as soon as the temp drops below 50. So I knew much work was needed.

The Ferg and I got a 30-day “Family Pass” to the ARC, Columbia’s public recreation facility. We set the goal to make the most of the pass and go to the ARC every single one of those thirty days – except on my game days. We started out strong, going daily, until the snow came. And came. And kept coming. We still made it there more often than not, and I pushed myself to go, even when the Ferg wimped out due to shin pain & over-exertion in the weight training area.

I’ve been rotating through several forms of cardio exercise, mostly running, walking, and stationary bike. I also do some flexibility training and abs several times a week. I’ve tried to get the Ferg to teach me some good upper-body strength training, but he seems baffled by this request. I don’t think he knows how to really teach it, even though he’s super knowledgable about it himself.

I have definitely seen an improvement in both my speed and endurance in just one month. I can run a full mile, though not all at once. I alternate laps of running & fast walking. I haven’t really tried to do more than a lap of running at a time since the first week, because it was so rough on my joints. I have kind of crappy hips, knees & ankles, so injury is always stalking me and I intend to keep it at bay as long as possible.

I finally got over the hump of the plague of shin pain & side stitches. So I think my body is becoming accustomed to this new form of torture. My breathing is easier now when I run, and my recovery time is shorter. So I’m able to run every other lap, instead of walking two laps between runs, like I did at the beginning.

But my hips have continued to plague me. I’m sure it’s just mild inflammation, and as long as I keep up the running, it’s going to persist. But it’s both sides, so it’s not throwing off my gait, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse, so I can deal. The worst part is during the day at work, when I sit for long periods and then get up. Ay, no bueno!

In general, though, I do feel better. I seem to cycle through times that I feel awesome & energetic, when everything feels easier, my endurance is up, I’m sleeping well at night and I can see a noticable difference on the scale in the morning. Then I have stretches where I feel tired & achey, my body seems to be holding onto water like a sponge, everything I do is hard and exhausting, and the aches keep me up at night. I’m trying to persevere though, and give myself a chance to adapt, rather than give up when I feel crappy.