By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
December 24, 2015
I got to tell you, it has been a pretty soul crushing couple of weeks. Yeah, I have mentioned it before, but I really didn't realize it until things finally came into fruition this past week and I was able to inspect the damage. For weeks on end, I heard how much money and how many hours would be available to me when the Christmas season would start. I heard so much that I began making plans and conceiving of ideas to help myself out for the beginning of the new year. I was looking to update my glasses, something I haven’t done in years. I desperately needed to fix my darn phone, which is a cracked mess that cannot hold its charge for anything. I damaged my car, but I guess the good thing is this happened right as my insurance was adjusted and re-upped, which means I will not feel the brunt of my accident until June when the reapplication is utilized. There will be no trip to Denver and no trip to Austin, where I was hoping to sneak onto a Ragnar team to run in the inaugural event (which might be a mess since it is the first one). Heck, it will be a struggle to scrounge up the cash for my Ragnar Del Sol team, which is looking like a pretty solid squad, where I will be the literal anchor and the last man to cross the finish line. I was even dreaming of getting a new bed, where I might find some relief for my back. But all these things have been tossed to the wayside. For so many years, I have wished people would stop being slaves to consumption and not buy so much junk they didn’t need or even afford. It always amazed me how every year there would be fights in stores, where people were needing security intervention before they started throwing punches over Star Wars toys or toasters. Sure, the media loved to over blow the handful of incidents that happened, but the fact they even happened in the first place is a pretty massive disgrace and a further indictment on society’s lust for garbage. The one year I wanted society to change happened to be the year where I was relying on the same old same old. I guess my wishful thinking was some strange form of Murphy’s Law, pointing a finger at me. Or maybe it was Alanis Morissette’s old song “Ironic,” (yup, whipping out 1990s music references….but then again, who DIDN’T own the album Jagged Little Pill!), illustrating the strange directions the universe takes when you beg for something. I can’t be too angry about it I guess, for the disappointment was even worse for all the people who thought they would be working until the middle of January and find themselves out of a job a week before Christmas merely because society showed some restraint. My disappointment isn’t as bad as a couple of my co-workers who were hoping to visit their family this upcoming year, which makes me wonder why they thought moving to Tucson was a good idea in the first place. Anyway, despite all of this happening and the downer it has produced, my mood has been delightfully chipper.
I was complemented about my body twice during my birthday weekend (December 19th), one time it could even be construed as sexual harassment in lieu of the idea a couple of my female co-workers not only complemented my derriere but also noted I had some nice legs. It was certainly the offset I needed, considering I had been stood up and canceled at the last second by not one but two prospective dates, which ticked me off since I am trying to get back in the dating scene and I’m not even getting a chance to do it (the prospectives seemed more intrigued by my healthy, plant friendly lifestyle than confused). But here is the thing, in spite of all the weird setbacks and the disappointment, in spite of the fact I won’t get to check out XIXA at the Rialto Theater for New Year’s (or celebrate New Year’s period), I’m not terribly upset or in a place where I would wish local watering hole Veg in a Box had an all you can eat buffet complete with hard liquor. Nope, I’m actually pretty relaxed and kind of nonplussed on the subject. Now you have read this blog for a while and know I can get pretty upset over the most minute issues, but what gives? Well, the hidden pleasure of life has returned to me. I feel like a strong part of my soul is kind of back and I’m feeling better than ever. Yup….I can actually run again!
It’s pretty simple why I feel a little better. When you run a lot, the endorphins in your body start flowing more freely and you feel a little more positive. That is all fine and good and all, but the biggest reason for me is the freedom factor. For so long, I felt confined to walking and confined to the same old routine of doing weights and functional workouts, but now I can get back on the trails and start running again. Sure, my shoulder is a bit wrecked right now and my legs are now ridiculously sore due to my workouts, but I can freaking run again! It’s been at least a month since I have been able to do anything with my feet, especially since I have been suffering through disgusting blisters and foot pain that I was never really prepared for. When you have gone nearly 38 years without getting a horrible blood blister, it means you have a decent job that doesn’t wreck your or it means you have been lucky. Either way, the month off was something of a nervous and anger inducing time for me. Not only do I use running as a bit of an escape for myself, I use it as a way to free some of the ugly and disgusting thoughts in my mind. I know so many people don’t enjoy running or even like thinking about it, but I have come to see it as the vital and necessary yin to the yang that is weight lifting. You can’t really have one without the other in my book, and the ability to run distance and speed has me feeling better about everything in my life, even if so many things are going haywire or some disappointments have been thrust upon me. It was something I desperately needed, and it was something I might have put off an extra week or so in the process.
You see, I really wanted to get the ball rolling this past weekend, especially since my hours were getting cut left and right. I wasn’t too pleased about going home early all weekend, but I dealt with it. It just meant I would be able to save my feet and possibly run that day. But for some reason, I just kept putting it off. I really don’t know why, especially when I got a pretty good ego boost about the art of running during a mini-meet-up at Veg in the Box on Saturday. No one seemed interested in the idea of running, but then again, I was kind of in the company of cyclists mostly. But that was the fun thing about our conversation, how I stated I am interested in doing triathlons in the future and everyone seemed to agree that running would be the worst part of it (even though swimming for me would be the worst part!). I could have—I should have—gone running during the weekend, but I opted not to like the idiot I was. I mentioned to some people this past Tuesday would be the last possible day for meet put it off, and like the typical procrastinator I am, I finally laced up my shoes and got the ball rolling.
Now, I wasn’t really planning on doing something hard, for I was planning on a little 30-minute run that would shock my body out of its complacency. When you haven’t run for a good month, who knows how you will feel when you finally get the engine pumping, like turning on your car on a cold winter day. My plan for the moment is to get my body back into shape with some shorter runs, usually three to three and half minute runs. I plan on doing this until the New Year, which I think will be enough time before I start pushing longer distances. You see, I want at least a month to get myself back into the longer distances, especially since I will be doing two seven-mile runs at Ragnar Del Sol. I wasn’t planning on doing anything fast. Heck, I was running without my camel pack for the first couple runs, and the results were pretty unexpected, especially on Tuesday. You see, I completed a pretty solid morning session at Parsons Training, blowing up some deadlifts, bench presses and other difficult exercises. I wasn’t going for heavy weight but rather for reps, but doing 50 dead lifts at 205 pounds is still quite taxing. And let’s not forget I decided to walk my dogs first, which means I put an extra three miles or so on the trail before going on my adventure. Despite all of that, I went through my first run in a month inspire of the win and the cold. It was pretty awkward at first, for I really had to make sure my posture was good and my stride was not too long. These are the sort of things that will mess you up pretty quick if you don’t keep an eye on them. I really had to watch my posture since my shoulder was still feeling a lot of tension in spite of the massage work I got on it. When my body isn’t right, sometimes I tend to lean in one direction too much. Either way, I made some good time on the first run, gunning out a pretty good pace of 9-minutes per mile on the money, stringing out 3.36 miles. I was pretty shocked by the time, and my body sort of reacted the way I thought it would. I was pretty dizzy, and my legs felt like pulsating strands of muscle and fiber, like a cramp would hit me at any moment. But the cramps never came….not even once. I got some good rest that night, mainly because I was just freaking tired!
I felt so good the next day that I opted to run once again. Since I will most likely have two runs in the late afternoon for Ragnar Del Sol, I felt it was best to start getting used to running in the sunlight. You see, it can get up to 80 degrees in the Phoenix Metro area, and let me tell you, if you are not ready….it will be hell on Earth. Now it wasn’t exactly hot or anything on Wednesday afternoon, but I was still pretty sore and tired from the previous day. And to top it off, I was also running the harder “South to North” direction on the path, which is harder due to the incline on the first couple miles as well as the fact the wind was blowing in my face. Despite these little things, I made some pretty good time on the second run in as many days, cranking out a per mile average of 8:47. Now I will admit, it was partially because I saw some decent looking women running on the path well ahead of me, and the “creeper” in me decided pick up the pace and get ahead of them. You see, I was hoping to get so far ahead of them that I could make it to my stop point and possibly say hello to them. Of course, the plan backfired, for I got so far ahead of them, they actually stopped at another spot along the path and went on their way. But hey, I still had a good run even though the motivation was a little juvenile. Besides, it is so rare to see other runners on the path near my house, I was pretty surprised to even see them in the first place.
Now I don’t know how many more runs I will be ablate squeeze in this week, but we shall see. I’m hoping to get at least four runs in this week and maybe another four the next. Personally, this should be more than enough warm-up runs before I start attempting longer running distances. Personally, I could probably do it right now due to the strength in my legs, but I want to make sure I don’t blow my money on the first hand. Injuring myself is not something I would want!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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