Alternatives to Running

Last week, the first after my half marathon, I kept all activity to a minimum. This week I planned to reintroduce exercise, but only non running exercise.

Sorry dailymile, you’re going to continue to be disappointed in me this week.

I went to the Carondelet Park RecPlex and rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes. I did this while reading, which the multitasker in me loves, but I was still a little bored. The plus side is I could feel different muscles being used and I felt no pain in my right leg/shin, so this exercise was doing what I hoped. But while I did sweat, it was nothing like when I run and my sweat covers the treadmill, which is so satisfying. And I never got out of breath, so it didn’t feel like a “real” workout.

I went to the South City Y for my Zumba class. I hadn’t been in weeks due to my workouts being so running centric in the last month of half marathon training. It was nice to see so many friendly faces. My Zumba friend Megan was there and gave me a hug and told me how proud of me she was for reaching my race goal. She’d already told me this on Facebook (as did a lot of people–want to feel great about yourself? PR a half marathon and have your splits auto post to Facebook) but wanted to tell me in person so I knew how sincere she was. She’s checked in with me at various stages of training when I would see her at Zumba so she felt invested in my success and it made me so happy to see how happy she was for me.

The class itself was hilarious because my muscles were so confused. I barely remembered the moves to the songs I’ve done before and there were also several new ones, including one where you swing a partner square dancing style. (Imagine my surprise when that showed up in the middle of a song!) All the newness took me back to when I first tried Zumba years ago and was really self conscious because the regulars knew the moves and I didn’t. This time I wasn’t so self conscious and just laughed at myself and looked at it as a physical and mental challenge. Again, this isn’t as hard as running in terms of cardio, but I do feel like Zumba utilizes my abs more and does a good job of stretching everything out. And I did get sweaty (again, not out of breath). Plus, it’s fun! The only bummer is there were a few moves that triggered my leg/shin issue, specifically one where we have to kick one leg while hopping on the other. Apparently hopping on the right leg is the same as running on it. Once I realized that I took it easy on that side. I could still do everything, just not as all out as I’d have liked. Oh well, at least there were cupcakes!

Someone in my class has a contact at Jilly’s Cupcake Bar, a fancy cupcake shop that won an episode of Cupcake Wars, and this person gave her a giant box of cupcakes to give away for marketing purposes. So she brought them to Zumba, and I was thrilled that I chose Tuesday to make my Zumba return.

Tonight I went back to the Carondelet Park RecPlex and hopped on the elliptical machine. I read Runner’s World while doing this which made me really miss running but at least I was moving in a similar manner. The gentleness of the elliptical was good for my leg/shin, but I did feel the pressure, annoying to me since I wasn’t getting the cardio results of actual running. I did sweat but it didn’t feel hard. This bums me out but I know the elliptical is a perfectly effective exercise. In fact, the elliptical and weights were all I did when I first resolved to get back to the gym at the end of 2005. Doing just those things, and eating more fruits and vegetables, I lost 25 pounds over the next year or so. I don’t want to lose weight now–I want to sweat as much as possible and push myself further. But I know running isn’t smart until my overuse injury heals, and I need to use it less for that to happen, so the elliptical is going to have to become my friend again. After I finished my 33 minutes on my friend I lifted some weights for about 20 minutes. I only used the leg machines because I wanted to finish my magazine, so when I got home I did 20 push ups.

I also foam rolled and stretched. I’m not great with just waiting for things (like healing) to happen, so I’m going to make an effort to take care of myself as well as I did in the week before my race. The foam rolling and stretching really seemed to help then so I’m confident it will now. I’m just not sure how long it will be until my right leg feels as strong as my left. Since I’m not training for anything, getting my right leg feeling 100% before running again is the goal (before I was willing to run through pain as long as I didn’t think it was getting worse.) In the meantime I’ll keep trying out alternatives to running. Maybe something like this, which I found on Facebook:

I like that it’s a schedule as well as the fact that an anonymous stranger is encouraging me by saying “yes girl, we can do this!!”

Since I’m not running now I’m struggling to come up with material for my (mainly) running blog. Fortunately I’m seeing P!nk (that’s how she spells it; I just looked it up) on Monday night. That will give me some material for writing as well as inspire me to workout–I hear the show is quite acrobatic.


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