For a minute there, I thought I was having a fitness identity crisis. I identify myself as a runner. I am a runner. I love running. I love racing. My blog is called RUNNING for dummies. This is what I do. This is what I love. Except I haven’t been running much at all lately. I've been averaging 10 miles a week. The old me would scoff those miles, the old me ran 10 miles a day!
I've been running for about 10 years. I came to the realization about two years ago (I’m a slow learner) that in order to become a better runner, I needed to get stronger. I joined a boot camp and started doing some strength training. I would do boot camp several days a week, then run several days a week, still focusing on putting in as many miles as possible. This went on for a year or so (on and off) until the beginning of this year when I decided to start a more serious weight lifting program. Boot camp was great and brought me far, but it was time for the next level. It was time to say good-bye to the 8-10 lbs. weights at boot camp and start to lift heavy on my own to get stronger! Over the next 12 weeks, I lifted heavier, ran less, got much stronger, and to my surprise, became a much faster runner. I lifted weights 3-4 days a week and ran 3-4 days a week (doubling up some days). I liked weight lifting much more that I thought that I would , but after several months of the same routine, I started to get bored. I progressed to the point where I couldn't advance to the next level without some professional help. No, not from a psychiatrist silly, from a personal trainer. I wasn't interested in getting injured, and I didn't have the comfort level to go there alone.
After about six months, I started to lose my motivation to get up at 5am to hit the weights. I was missing more and more of those morning work outs . I knew it was time for a change, but what now? I knew strength training was important, I knew that (just) running alone would never be enough anymore. I was proud of the muscle (abs, hello!) and the speed that I gained and I wasn't willing to lose them. This is when I decided to do Insanity .
Insanity was the first program that I ever did where I wasn't able to incorporate running into my routine. Insanity was a 6 day a week program and was pretty intense. I was committed to following the schedule to the letter. During the first month, when the work-outs were easier (easier. Ha!) and shorter, I would get in about 2 runs in a week, but once I moved into the second month’s longer and more intense work outs, I was luckyto run once a week. I missed running but I knew this was only a nine week program. It was OK to take a temporary break.
Insanity, without a doubt, made me stronger. Much Stronger. The proof is in my before and after fit tests . But interestingly, my running pace slowed slightly (15-30 seconds a mile). I guess if you want to be a good runner, you have to actually run! I finished up Insanity and was so proud of myself! It was really hard and I saw it through to the end, but I was ready to start running again.
What was next? My fitness style is that I have to be involved in a program or I have trouble with commitment. I have to have a written schedule for a set amount of time and follow it to the letter. I can’t just decide on a whim every day what I will do, or frankly I will probably end up doing nothing. Maybe I should repeat Insanity? Yes, that is what I would do. I talked about it online . I even did the first two work-outs. Wait, no, maybe I should try P90X instead. Yes! Rather than repeat what was known (Insanity), I would venture into the unknown with P90X.
Last Sunday night I planned to start P90X on Monday morning, but then I stayed up too late with a bottle of wine over-slept the very first morning. Instead, I woke up Monday morning to a text from my friend asking me if I would be interested in joining her CrossFit box. It was a great deal and I was intrigued. Maybe this was the next level that I was looking for in my weight training earlier this year. I could work with trainers, lift heavy weights, and get stronger. Less than 12 hours later I was starting my first CrossFit on ramp class.
My new CrossFit experience started this week (yikes!) and I am paid up until mid December, at which time, I can decide if I will continue with it or move onto something new. I am committing to 5 days a week at 5:30 am. It is going to be tough. Really tough. I am going to try to incorporate some easy leisure runs into my evenings for enjoyment, and a long run on the week-end to train for the San Antonio Rock 'N Roll Half in November.
So maybe I not having a fitness identity crisis after all. I am a runner. A runner who has a passion for hitting the pavement, for long runs, for slow runs, for fast runs, and for hills. Yes, I said hills. I will never again be that runner who logs 50+ miles a week, but just because I will not be running as much these days, it doesn't make me any less of a runner. I just happen to be a runner who does other things.
I am a runner forever, even when I am not running.