Last #workoutwednesday I told you a bit about my origin story and asked you to come along on this journey back to fit with me. This week I planned to tell you about putting together the best program for getting back into a regular fitness routine. But the weather had a little something else in mind to motivate me.
I’m away from home, working in New Jersey at the moment, so I spent part of the last week looking for new trails to blaze on my comeback. After I finished teaching my class on Tuesday afternoon, I was excited to try a 2.9-mile loop trail that one of my students told me about.
I laced up my Merrell Pace Glove 3 barefoot trail shoes. These are my fifth pair of Merrell minimalist shoes. I logged hundreds of miles on them when I was actively trail running in the past. They are the shoes that changed my running style and made me love it again. I can feel the earth under my feet with every step and they even helped strengthen my joints in the past. These little shoes weigh practically nothing and have a great protective Vibram sole with a toe box that grips even in wet and muddy terrain — just what you want to get the most out of lateral movements while trail running.
Next up was the playlist — also a topic we need to explore later in more detail — because the pacing you can get from the right bpm on your playlist can be the difference between a great workout and a lackluster one. I went with a custom mix today, something easy since I am just getting started again. A little Imagine Dragons, some AWOLNATION, and a dash of Fall Out Boy.
Start the fitness app on my iWatch to capture the workout and I hit the dirt. The skies were mostly blue and it was a bit of a scorcher for May in the Northeast, but I could see some grey skies coming in the distance. No worries I thought, I have plenty of time.
Not so much.
I was about one mile into my warm up when I came across a woman with a rather frantic look on her face. She was waving at me, gesturing that I remove my AirPods from my ears. I obliged and heard her say “You need to turn around and run the other way, now!” She went on to explain that a storm was coming our way and that her friend had just called to tell her that some wicked weather was inbound. I stopped to check the weather app on my phone and what I saw was ugly. There was a storm bearing down on my little blinking dot, and it was moving quickly.
As the woman and I were standing there looking at the horrible waves of purple and red on my phone and several accompanying tornado warnings, we were joined by a man who came sprinting from the direction I had just met my new friend. He said, “Better get a move on ladies – -we have a storm coming.” Ok I get it. Time to cut this workout short and not because I was being lazy for once. The grey skies that had seemed so far in the distance now felt like they were trying to swallow us and the sound of the wind was downright creepy.
My new friend’s name was Amy and as we made our way back to the cars, she told me how she walked or jogged this trail five days a week. She had just lost 138 pounds over the last 11 months and was 4o pounds from her goal. 40 pounds — that is MY weight loss goal. This woman beside me was struggling to run as fast as we needed to go but she was pushing herself, telling me her story, making a connection with a random stranger. I was inspired and suddenly the shin splints I had been whining about just a half mile in seemed only a minor annoyance.
I probably could have run to my car faster if I had left Amy behind, but she was the reason that I wasn’t still out there in the storm. In my origin story, I told you that four years ago I lost my workout partner to a devastating act of betrayal, and that for years I hadn’t been running, but I was still running from something — psychological. On this day, as I was running from something real, Amy reminded me that is was nice to have a partner again. She reminded me about commitment and steady perseverance. She and I were going to finish this sprint together and live to run another day.
When it comes to getting back into a genuine fitness routine after years off, it’s not always about being the fastest — it’s about staying in the race.
Featured image: This was the view from my hotel room on Tuesday evening – ominous green skies