Things were so busy that I didn't even hear about Frankenstorm until just a couple of days ago. Now, I am reading/hearing about literally half of the U.S. population buying out entire hardware stores and grocery stores, barricading themselves in their basements, and fleeing westward. Yikes! My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Frankenstorm's path.
Thankfully Chicago should be spared from the brunt of the storm. However, I'm unfortunately dealing with my own Franken-effects right here at home. Not anywhere near the scale of the real storm, of course, but devastating to me a-plenty.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I went for my first true post-marathon run this morning.
I ran 5 miles. A few weeks ago, 5 miles would have been a walk in the park for me. But today, by mile 3, I was already calculating how much time I had left to go and contemplating cutting things short. It was a rude awakening to find out how much conditioning and mental strength I've already lost in just a few weeks.
|[Add your best nosedive sound effects to this]|
I knew that I wouldn't be able to maintain my conditioning forever, let alone after taking almost 3 weeks off. But it was so unsettling to actually feel the decline for the first time. It was such a sudden deterioration that now it's hard for me to believe that I ran 26.2 miles just three weeks ago. Was that really me that did that!?!?
On the optimistic side, my injuries are starting to show some improvement. Over the past few weeks, I've upped my cross-training efforts to help reduce some of my lower-body muscle imbalances. I had read that biking is one of the best cross-training exercises for runners since it works many lower-body muscles that running doesn't. Therefore, I've been riding on the recumbant bike a few times a week. And WOW, do I ever feel it in my hips and glutes. My muscle imbalances are apparently a lot worse than I could have ever imagined.
|Has anyone ever noticed that Popeye has huge forearms but tiiiiiny little biceps?|
Apparently he's got some muscle imbalances, too.
I'm planning to try to go on the stationary bike two or three times a week until my hips and glutes feel better. And hey, the timing couldn't be better for this plan as I've got a nice long winter ahead of me to work on cross-training. Chicago winter and franken-rocks be darned.
Aside from strengthening my hips and glutes, I would also like to get back into weight-lifting, both upper- and lower-body, and maybe even get back into swimming. I don't currently belong to a gym or have access to any strength-training equipment, save for a set of 10-pound dumbbells that I have at home. Therefore, I am starting to consider joining a gym, preferably one with a swimming pool. But, I am balking at the cost and also at having to deal with impossible-to-cancel membership contracts (of which I have heard many horror stories).
If anyone has recommendations for fitness centers in Chicago with good value propositions, I would very much appreciate your suggestions.
Now, on a more positive note. I did take my new running skirt (first mentioned here) for an inaugural run. I am a fan. I even wore green compression socks and a green shirt with the skirt. This was a completely new look for me - I usually just wear black or gray shorts or pants, white no-show socks, and various shirts or jackets. So dare I say that this new outfit actually even made me feel the slightest bit trendy?
|As seen on the fashion runway - the usual runner's suit|
It was nice to get a bit of a mental boost to be running in what I considered to be a cute outfit, especially when I was passing people (i.e. walkers) on the sidewalk. (It's pretty rare for me to pass other runners in training.) Lesson learned that there really is something to the mentality that you feel better when you look better, even in running. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? Once again, I've apparently been living under a franken-rock. (The bad part about this discovery, though, is that I've found yet another type of running gear to spend more money on! Sigh.)
OK - I'm off to prepare for the upcoming workweek. To everyone in Frankenstorm's path, stay safe! I will close by sharing some great advice that Adam's friend Filoni posted on Facebook today (slightly edited):
"...my friends Heather and Jon are visiting from eastern Pennsylvania. Despite my offer of refuge, they have duties and responsibilities to attend to and are bravely going back home tomorrow to brave Frankenstorm. We made sure to stop at Home Depot and Giant Eagle to stock them with provisions. This included the usual assortment of batteries, lanterns, bottled water etc., but also Oreos and Chips Ahoy because who really wants to face the Armaggedon if there are no cookies at least?"
Truer words have never been spoken.
Actually, I think I'm going to take Filoni's advice on the cookies, myself. One never knows what else can happen while living under a franken-rock.