Spring is finally here! Unfortunately, that means I’ve taken up running with the beagle again. The inexpensive elliptical machine I received for Christmas (I know it was inexpensive because I ordered it, in case I didn’t like it) did its job of preventing me from putting back on the weight I lost in Peru last year. I started with a measly 20 minutes three times a week and worked up to 30 minutes 3 times a week. I thought this was remarkable!
The problem with a cheap, um, inexpensive machine is I never know when the read-outs are giving me correct numbers. I never could find precise directions for how to set up the digital thingie, so when I get on the elliptical, sometimes the calories are burning, burning, burning off! Other times, I hit a different setting and my speed is suddenly slower (even though I swear I’m going the same speed as my last time on the machine) and the calories don’t burn off as quickly. This is quite aggravating. However, I don’t have the time to figure out the instruction manual. All I care is that I’m using Program 2 (so it’s like I’m going up and down hills, which I never do when I run, because in real life it wrecks my back). And the second thing I care about is that my time is increasing. Up to 30 minutes 3 times a week!
That kept me eating chocolate bars while fitting into my new jeans all winter.
Except when I went away for two weeks. Then I had to kind of start over.
As the snow melted after this very long winter, I vowed to myself that I would start running outside again as soon as the street-cleaning machine cleared away all the gravel and the dog park wasn’t so soggy I sank up to my knees while stopping there for Allie McBeagle’s constitutional. I had taken quite a liking to the elliptical, but exercising inside really sucks up my writing time. Because Allie, you see, still needs her exercise. And so, all winter, I was walking the dog for 40 minutes (depending on what other dogs were in the dog park, which would lengthen the time of our stay) and then, upon arriving home, I’d do my 20-30 minutes on the elliptical and then spend another 10-15 minutes stretching, because, you know, I’m old.
Late last week, the street-cleaning machine came along. So I started running with Allie again on Monday. I extended my run two or three telephone poles beyond what we were doing before it began snowing and the roads became unsafe. By the time I reached that last telephone pole, I was exhausted and my thighs were burning. Well, guess what? I’d only run 17 minutes (with a break at the dog park). (The break isn’t factored into the time).
How can 30 minutes on the elliptical without a break not feel as bad as 17 minutes running with the dog?
Well, running with a beagle is kind of like salmon fishing during a marathon. You’re always reeling the dog in. And the running must work different muscles, because my inner thighs hurt!
Plus, I can keep a bottle of water near the ellipitical to grab and gulp. I can’t carry water when I’m running. It puts me off-balance and next I know I’m in the traffic. I’m lucky I can manage the dog!
Apparently, I am not running far enough.
Although, I must admit, at the end of my runs this week it hasn’t taken me as long to stop huffing and puffing. But I have nearly run out of telephone poles before I would have to go uphill. Sorry, sisters, I’m not running uphill! Running in itself keeps me going to massage therapy every other week. Running uphill is torture on my poor, middle-aged lower back.
The plan is to stretch my running time to 30 minutes, even if I have to change my course to do it. One telephone pole at a time, per week. My endurance sucks, and I don’t mind admitting it. Hey, I’m proud that I’m out there at all.
Has your exercise plan changed with the onset of spring? Or do you live somewhere where it’s a balmy 75 Fahrenheit year round?