Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Cottonwood Club Revisited

Last week, I "renewed" my membership to the gym I used to go to twenty years ago. It's part of the Prairie Life Center chain now, but back in the day it was The Cottonwood Club. The gym looks pretty much the same, except the lounge in the lobby has been cleared out and they've added more cardio equipment there. Really? You're not supposed to lounge at the gym? What's changed the most is me!

Back then, I went out dancing most nights of the week with my friends Jodie and Tami, and although I didn't feel like it back then, we were in great shape! On my gym tour, I had a flashback... I went to an aerobics class upstairs and got there about half an hour early, so I hopped on the stationary bike and rode it until class started, then took the hour long class, and was still barely breaking a sweat! That's not exactly the case these days! I guess a marriage, divorce, some failed relationships, a few career changes, and doubling your age will do that to a person!

If you remember, I joined a running class about a month ago and sprained my ankle. A week later, I was running on it. A week after that, I was told that it was broken. A week after that, I was informed that the bottom of my ankle bone is, in fact, broken off, however it happened four years ago, so don't worry about it. By then, I was quickly losing my motivation... especially since it's so freaking humid here! I could hardly breathe anyway, and now I'm trying to run out there in it? Um, ya. But since I did still have some motivation and a twelve-pound weight loss, I wanted to keep moving! So I joined the gym again!

The thing is, I feel different! The last gym I joined was Lifetime Fitness back in Chicago (in the 'burbs, anyway). When the trainer for my complimentary session asked me how committed I was, my answer was "Oh, about 60%"... if my PLC trainer Becke asked me the same question, I would have to say that it's more around 90-95% right now! I'm not completely obsessed and spot on with my diet (which allowed me to take my sister and the kids to Old Chicago yesterday), but I do watch what I eat on a daily basis (no processed food, no white flour, no sugar, plenty of protein, plenty of veggies, plenty of fruit) and if I go off track, then it's a conscious decision and not just autopilot.

I've also made it through my first week at the gym exactly on schedule! My goal is to go 4 days a week and do my run/walk thing on the treadmill (hello, air conditioning!!). I'm not concerned about increasing my mileage or my interval times right now... my goal is just to get there on a regular basis and make it a habit. Especially since I'm still working 2 jobs and the only day I've had off since mid-May was the day after I sprained my ankle. Next weekend is my last one out at the track, so I'm completely comfortable with "taking it easy" until then.

That being said, today was my best run ever!! For the first time, I made it through my 5 min warm up, and then 20 minutes of running for 30 seconds and then walking for 30 seconds, and then my 5 minute cool down.  Until now, I've lasted the whole time, but had to build in more walking breaks. I felt very focused, my breathing was under control, my form was semi-controlled, and I probably could have done 10 more minutes of my intervals if I'd wanted to push myself. But that's not my goal right now. I went, I feel good, and I'll be at it again tomorrow!

I have plenty of time to realize my full potential as a runner/exerciser! For now, it's enough that I'm pushing myself just a little bit harder... seeing myself as being a little bit stronger... and getting a sneak peek of the future me that I'm creating!


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