Run #1

The weather was nice today and finally, I realized that I couldn't make any more excuses and had to get out for some exercise. Then, it took another half hour to do so once I finally accepted that fact. I had originally planned to bike down to the bike path, then run for a while before biking home. Well, my ankle was feeling a little funny so I decided to nix the running idea and just put on my regular shoes. A few minutes after putting them on, my ankle popped into its regular spot [it didn't actually pop, but that's the best I can explain it! It's a recurring "normal" thing with my ankle, completely unrelated to the sprain] and felt absolutely fine. So off came those shoes and on went my running shoes. Although I had a bit of a debate about that, too-- should I bike in my running shoes, even though I'm going running? Should I stick my running shoes in my backpack and wear my regular shoes while biking? If I end up not running at all, I'll feel like I put unneeded miles on them. Well, I still haven't come up with a solution [although I did, this time, go out with just my running shoes] so I'd love to know how other people deal with this, if they bike to a running location or whatever. And I know, my cross training shoes should be fine for running as well, but they don't feel as good while running. They're great for aerobic exercises at home, but lack a little something for running. I don't know, maybe I'll have to go on a hunt for cross training shoes that will feel good with running as well. [Oh god I am spending so much money on shoes. Okay, I'm not really, I've spent $65 total on these two pairs of shoes because of sales and my mom's awesome bargaining, but that's still a lot for someone with no regular income!] Ahem. Anyway. After choosing a pair of shoes, putting air in my tires, filling up my water bottle, making sure everything on my bike was in working order, etc., I headed out.

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My bike. Isn't she pretty?
Let's be honest... the first few minutes weren't bad, considering I hadn't been out on my bike since early October. I was actually surprised, I was expecting a lot worse. But then I got to a hill and it was awful. To be fair, hills were a challenge even this past summer, when I was still getting in lots of miles every day, because Chicago doesn't have hills. They have a few man-made gentle bumps, going over highways and such, but not like New England has hills. So I was out of practice regarding them anyway. As it was, I knew I had to get up this big, steep hill, one that I'd previously gotten off my bike and walked up in October [the last time I took my bike out, actually!]. If you go back to my walking post from a couple weeks ago, you can see the top part of the hill in the first picture, but that's only the last part of it! So, I told myself that I'd make it halfway up this hill. I had to deal with hills eventually, but I could start small. And for the first half of the hill, it was hard. But I got there and told myself, "Hey, you made it this far, let's go up to another halfway mark!" I got to 3/4 of the way up the hill, struggling but still triumphant, and figured I should just finish it off. So I did. I surprised mself and made it all the way up the hill! Then I got to enjoy coasting down the other side [one of my favourite things to do because it feels like I'm riding a broom!], which was well worth the effort.

Then I made it to the bike path and took a few minutes to relax and enjoy the scenery. Of course, there wasn't much to enjoy because the trees still haven't bloomed but... the river looked nice, at least.

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After letting myself recover from the bike ride [specifically, the hill], I walked back to the path, locked up my bike against a pole [and set my other stuff down], and decided to try out this whole running thing. I didn't expect much, to be honest, but I knew I had to start somewhere. So, I looked down the path and told myself that I would run to the end of the bend.

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I know, that's a laughable distance for most people but I honestly haven't run in at least a year. Let me set the bar low for a few weeks. I started off, and honestly thought that I wouldn't make it. I was close to wheezing and felt like I was just running in place [after bike speeds, jogging is horrendously slow]. But I got down to the end, in 34 seconds [ahhh former me would say that's so pathetic, but I don't care, it's better than nothing!], turned around and walked back to my bike. And did it all over again. I was aiming for ten sets of running and walking. By the fourth, I was ready to give up. But I knew that was just a mental block and had to power through it.

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Look, I'm running! And showing off my tattoos!
Something happened during my eighth run. Two somethings, actually. Suddenly, I wasn't feeling so horrible. I was running with much better form, wasn't getting winded, and even completed it in under 30 seconds for the first time. This is it, I thought to myself. I knew I could retrain my body. Unfortunately, on the reverse side of that feeling... my ankle was starting to hurt. A lot. Whereas interval #4 almost made me stop because my mind was telling me I couldn't do this... I had to stop after interval #8 because I knew my ankle wouldn't hold up for much longer. It was frustrating, because I had just come upon that great feeling of being able to do this... but I also knew that my ankle would be better for stopping. Plus, I still had the bike ride home to consider!

I decided to take the bike path south towards home this time, instead of just hopping back on the road [you will not get me to admit that I was avoiding the other side of that hill]. I really did need to figure out where the bike path goes through my own city, and it would probably be a longer ride than the two mile direct route I took on the way there. Well, that worked out so-and-so [and there was an even tougher hill on this route!]. Because the bike path's largely unfinished, most of it diverted to random back streets with signs marking the direction to go to pick it back up. But before that, I did come across this long bridge:

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And discovered some paths leading off of the trail where you could go explore.

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I was worried that the bike path would drop me off in some unknown area once it was in my city. Not that getting lost in my city is really an option, since it's [literally] one square mile, but I'm not really familiar with anywhere other than my neighborhood. Luckily, it actually dropped me off in a spot my mom and I had driven through just two days ago, and right off of a street I know very well, so I was able to find my way home with no problem. Also, my house sits on the very top of another steep hill and I was going to let myself walk up it, since I accomplished so much already, but... I realized that was silly. Why let myself celebrate by being lazy? That's no way to get my body to change! So I biked up it, and I'm sure that I'll be better off having done that.

My ankle's a little sore, but I put some ice on it [well, frozen vegetables. Note to self: get some ice packs] and I'm sure it'll be fine soon. Actually, it's been almost two hours since I got back now and it's feeling almost entirely better already. Still, I'm glad that I didn't push it. After all, I still have my 30 day shred workout to do tonight!

Cycling: 25 minutes
Running: 4 minutes [hahaha]
Walking: 10 minutes