Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Days 3 and 4

Day 3: Weights!

I do not belong in a weight room. I have no idea what I am doing in there, because I have never made the effort to learn. I have read enough to know that proper form and appropriate weight load are essential, but my knowledge ends there. I know just enough to make a trip to the weight room at the Y intimidating, almost a fool's errand. Everyone in there seems to know exactly what they are doing. I look at the free weights, the balls, the mats, the machines and it all feels like an insurmountable Everest of unexplored terrain. Perhaps I'm just too dumb to be a weight lifter!

I should probably try to hire a trainer, but that sounds crazy to me: expensive and time-consuming for a person with very little time or money to spare.

Where does one BEGIN?

I slunk over to the Y on a beautiful Sunday afternoon because I figured the weight room would be sparsely attended and I was right. There were just two women on the machines and a couple of bulky lunkheads grunting over the free weights. (You see my level of intimidation: those lunkheads are probably Rhodes Scholars, but I must take comfort in age-old stereotypes just to get myself in the door.)

I opted for the machines, mostly because the seats and straps more or less force you into the proper position. This was probably the best place to start. I did 3 complete cycles of the Cybex machines: abs, arms and legs. I worked efficiently from machine to machine and the whole business took about 45 minutes. By the last round I felt shaky and weak, but not overwhelmingly exhausted.

While I was working out, our local Gym Rat (GR) came in and started chatting. Every gym has one of these guys: he is ALWAYS there. He chats up all the ladies and makes buddies with all of the young weight room studs. GR had heard that I ran the VT 100 and he started asking me about it (as I was laboring intently under the Lat Pulldown) in a voice loud enough to be heard around the gym. This caused a small sensation among the lunkheads: "Dude, that's a WHOLE 'NOTHER LEVEL!" Nice people, really. Definitely helped me feel much more at home.

I was not as sore the next day as I would have imagined. If I can get out today, I may go back and try another round on the machines.

Day 4: This Not Running business is getting harder. My ankle/shin/foot feels much better. I really, really, REALLY want to get out and give it a test run.

Mornings are the most difficult. Typically, I am a morning person and thus a morning runner. I hoof through town in the pre-dawn dark while the kids are sleeping. I absolutely love this time of day. And I feel safer running early in the morning than late at night (my other option). I figure all the axe murderers are probably home sleeping it off by 5 a.m.

But I persevered. I got up early, got some good writing work done, and resisted the urge to tie on my running shoes and head out the door. The boys, as always, came bolting down at 6, eliminating the possibility of escape.

Brian goes back to work this week (Waaaa), so he is trying to pack in quality kid time before school starts (he's a physics teacher). All three kids are currently obsessed by musical instruments. Simon in particular spends every waking hour drawing instruments, playing orchestra with his Webkinz, and incessantly asking anyone and everyone: "What instrument do you want for your birthday?" and "What's your favorite instrument that we don't have?"

Simon, for some reason known only to him, really wants a trumpet.

So Brian decided that this was the day to take the kids to the Caruso Music in New London. Caruso's is a wonderful store with a tremendously indulgent staff. They do not freak out when the kids bang the drums, strum the guitars, shake the tambourines and play the pianos. I decided to go along as well, because I knew if I stayed home I would run.

We spent almost an hour testing instruments, mostly drums. I am always hyper-vigilant with the kids in this place because I do not want to test these good people's patience. They really are amazingly enthusiastic and good-hearted. We fitted Nell for a violin (she desperately wants to play the violin) and they will call us when a good half-size instrument comes in.

Simon kept eying the trumpet in the window.

"Can I look at the trumpet?" has asked me over and over.

"Yup, " I replied over and over. "Go ask the guy at the desk if you can see the trumpet. He's very nice."

I do want these kids to learn to ask for what they want. I am terrible at this. I figured this was as good a place as any for a little assertiveness training. Simon, however, disagreed. He wanted me to ask for him. We went back and forth like this until he finally summoned up his courage and requested a few toots on the trumpet.

"That's a very expensive orchestra trumpet," the man at the desk explained, "but let me see what I have over here."

He pulled a dusty case from the shelf and handed it to Simon. "This is a trumpet that a friend of ours refurbished for some kid interested in music," he told me. "He (indicating Simon who was very excitedly spinning the trumpet in his hands) seems to fit the bill. I don't feel right trying to sell it."

He turned to Simon, "You can have it," he said.

Nell just had to verify: "You mean we can bring it home for FREE?"

"Yup. Enjoy!"

Wow! Simon was beside himself. He thanked the man on the way out ("Thank you for giving me this trumpet!") and preened proud as a peacock all the way back to the car, trumpet case swinging by his side.

This is how he spent the rest of the day!

Not Running in the afternoon and evening was amazingly simple. Brian and I both seem to have come down with a little bug. We both had sick bellies and sore heads. And we could barely keep our eyes open. So we put on an Emergency Video.

(I never do this. The last time I put on an Emergency Video was last Christmas Eve when I was desperately trying to finish my annual Buche de Noel cake for Christmas dinner).

Brian and I crashed out for an hour, ate Raman noodles for dinner and called it a night. I cannot believe I have not run, biked nor swum for four days. So weird that this is something to be proud of!


  1. I'm glad you're taking your recuperation seriously and I know it's very, very difficult! I am not into weights either and go through periods when I refuse to go to the gym and switch over to body weight matrixes after my run. However, I found out about a great program/book last year after my marathon that I used for months. "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" What makes it so good is that there are pictures for every move and the author gives you a home version if you don't want to go to the gym. Plus it changes every 4-6 weeks so it's hard to get bored. I got my paperback copy through Amazon.

  2. Thanks, Helen. You are the second person to recommend that book. I'll have to check it out.

  3. Pam, I've become a 'Gym Rat' in my own basement...when I'm not running, I'm lifting weights and cross-training in the comfort and privacy of my own home. I have never liked the gym (too self-conscious) and I like not having to work around the gym schedule (too hard with three little ones & work). I use a rotation of the many DVD's that I have (I DO need SOMEONE to tell me what to do), and it has been a godsend. I don't run nearly as much as you, but I feel stronger and don't have that dread factor that I used to have when going out on my longer runs. My favs are Cathe Friedrich, Amy Bento & Kelly Coffey-Meyer. Maybe give them a try? I don't think you'll be disappointed. Take care of yourself!

  4. A bit off-topic but is it possible to put a link on your blog to the Day article about your VT 100 experience written by Wojtas? I see that there was an article but I didn't catch it before they took it off their website.

  5. Karen, yes I do have a stength training DVD called Runner's Core by local coach Al Lyman. But I rarely do it. Perhaps I should drag that out again...

    Mcazrajfa, I have a link to the Joe's article on my August 3rd blog (the word "article" is in green and you can click on it). But you have to pay $2 to read it because more than a week has gone by since the article ran. Alas.


  6. Okay Pam, Quit your whining!! It has only been four days. You probably should be thinking about not running for at least two weeks and even that would be too little. More like a month. It's tough-been there, done that-but in the long run, you will be able to go out for the long run without any pain. One week is just asking for trouble right around the corner. Suck it up. Talk to you soon.


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