Well, it’s that time again! I’m off my latest round of antibiotics, feeling mostly better, and I am ready to start working on my fitness. Did I say ready? Perhaps that’s a stretch. It’s more like I’m to the point where I have no valid excuses to further avoid it. Welcome back Operation Lace Up.
I started testing the waters about a week ago to see where I was at strength-wise. The first day I told myself I’d only go one mile, and alternated walking and jogging every quarter-mile. That went pretty well. I was able to walk at a 15-minute mile pace and jog at a 12.5-minute mile pace. The next day the sorest part of my body was actually my arms because a few times I leaned pretty heavily on the treadmill handles. I’m pretty sure that’s cheating but sometimes I have to do it to get through a run!
Later that week I was able to use the same alternating pace to walk/run 1.5 miles. Then yesterday evening I headed outside for a jog. Mentally, running outside is easier for me. There’s pleasant things to look at and the time passes much more quickly. There are a few challenges, however, such as airborne allergens, hills, and having to talk to people as you pass them. I’m sure it sounds rude to categorize that as a problem, but when your lung function is somewhere around 40%, you don’t have extra breath for conversation during exercise. Sorry neighbors!
When I began, I figured I would try to run a bit longer than the quarter-mile, maybe up to a half-mile. I started to feel stubborn once I got going, however, and decided just to run the whole thing. I managed to get through, but it wasn’t pretty. It felt awful, but I got through the 1.5 miles at a 14-minute mile pace. I should have been proud of myself, but honestly, I was a little upset initially. It was so hard, and having just come off antibiotics, my lungs are less congested than usual. I was hoping it would feel better than it did. But then I realized I have plenty of things to be happy about.
First, I’m not all the way back to square one in spite of multiple setbacks this winter. After my first bad illness last winter the best I could do at first was walk at 17-minute mile pace. I’m glad I’m not there. I don’t even think I’m going to need the Couch to 5K program this year. I’ll just build on that 1.5 mile run, slow though it was. Second, I have a new pair of shoes. And I got them for free! I’m part of a Facebook exercise group for CF women and there I heard about a program through the Rock CF Foundation called Rock CF Kicks Back, where you can apply for a free pair of running shoes to get you started with exercise. I applied and they sent me an awesome pair of shoes! Thanks guys!
Third, I have my Fitbit this year and that’s motivating. It’ll be fun to see how many miles and steps I can rack up this summer. And fourth, I won’t be doing it alone since Jaime is reinstituting his One for One pledge. It’s always easier when you’re doing something unpleasant together 😉 Lastly, as I was brooding over my difficult run, I remembered an incident that happened just a few weeks ago. We had just bought Lucas a little orange balance bike. He was so excited!
One afternoon, I went on a walk with him so he could practice riding it. He’s not generally super persistent when something is challenging, but he’s been trying really hard with this bike. As he was pushing himself along the other day, trying to get the hang of it, he started singing. The songs were from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which has been a recent favorite cartoon. First he sang, “If something seems hard to do, try it a little bit at a time. Try, try, try, try, try it again…keep trying you’ll get better! Try, try try.” Then he transitioned into, “It helps to say what you’re feeling.”
It was adorable, and encouraging to see him applying those lessons to his situation. It’s what I need to do too, keep trying and remember that it will get better, even though it feels impossible at the beginning. How am I feeling? A little frustrated, but I don’t need to be back to my optimal fitness level tomorrow. This is hard to do, but I can do it a little bit at a time. Thanks for the helpful reminders, Lucas.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress! Maybe by my birthday at the end of June, I’ll be back to running two miles in 25 minutes. That’s my current goal, but it’s subject to modification depending on how things go.
Well, I’m off to lace up my new shoes. I can do this! It’s going to get easier 🙂