I did it; I completed my repeat weeks of 3 and 4 and tomorrow I will begin Phase Two of the LiveFit program. This is a bittersweet moment; sweet because, holy crap, Phase One is over and I am still going to the gym and, for the most part, enjoying it, and bitter because tomorrow the dreaded cardio workout shows its ugly face. It shows its ugly face FOUR times next week! And a rest day is being subtracted, we only get ONE rest day! This is ludicrous! This is asking too much! This is……..how most people maintain a healthy physique, and I guess I’m going to have to stop grumbling and get over it by tomorrow.
I wouldn’t be dreading the cardio workouts so much if I had any innate athleticism or grace. Unfortunately for me, those genes come from my Mom’s side of the family and my brother got them while I was blessed (cursed) with my Dad’s lack of coordination and natural athletic ability. It’s not for a lack of trying; I have worked pretty hard at some things and only managed to achieve a level of mediocrity verging on ‘not too bad’ while ‘pretty good’ remains forever out of reach. Forget about ‘Great!’ or ‘Fantastic!’, I’d settle with just being pretty good at something.*
The problems begin with my lack of coordination. I don’t run, I galumph. I make so much noise slapping my enormous feet down on the treadmill that when I begin, the person on the treadmill in front of me never fails to glance over his shoulder to see if someone has brought a circus elephant in for some training. I would take my one-woman show outside to the privacy of some secluded running trails, but I can’t run without the treadmill’s speed settings. Try as I might, I cannot self-regulate. My run will begin at what I believe to be an appropriate and sustainable speed but then I keep accelerating until eventually I trip myself (those big feet again) and fall down or twist an ankle. So, treadmill it is.
After I have galumphed for a bit on the treadmill (maybe two or three minutes), I start to sweat. “Well, duh,” you’re probably thinking, “we all sweat when we run,” but I mean SWEAT. My shirt will be soaked and if I forget to wear a headband, the sweat will drip into my eyes. It wouldn’t be embarrassing if the timer on the treadmill read more than 5 minutes, and if the excessive sweating didn’t lead to what I like to call Tomato-face. My face gets really red. So red that people have stopped to ask if I am feeling alright (to which I’d like to reply “I’m running, and not doing it very well, so, no, I’m not feeling alright” but I can’t catch enough breath to say all that so a thumbs-up has to suffice).
In reality, I am probably my own worst critic and it is entirely feasible (probable!) that nobody else is paying that much attention to me. It can be hard though, really f*ing hard, not to compare yourself to those who are more fit or have a ‘better’ body than you do, and even harder to haul yourself up onto that teeny-tiny little spin bike seat next to someone who looks as if they were born on a spin bike. ** In all honesty, that is probably what I am dreading MOST about starting the cardio workouts tomorrow; that I will look like a rhinoceros running next to a gazelle, a sumo wrestler running next to a ballerina, Pumbaa running next to Timon.
So, think of me tomorrow around 10:30 am (Central European Summer Time). I will be on my treadmill; size ten women’s sneakers flapping against the belt, tshirt drenched in enough sweat that it looks as if I’ve sprinted ten miles before I’ve galumphed one, face a volcanic red, but chugging along just the same, putting one gigantic foot in front of the other, in the name of good health. Hakuna Matata!
*My sport of choice is riding, and while I had a few shining moments during my collegiate career, they came by a LOT of hard work on the parts of myself, my coaches, and many very forgiving horses, as well as some luck and good timing.
**’Better’ is a relative term and I think it would help us all to stop comparing ourselves with other people and instead focus on our personal progress and goals. It does nobody any good to wish to look like someone else, we have to instead wish to look like our healthiest selves. I’m not saying this is easy, but it is something we could all work on.