I know that I have mentioned in some of my past blogs that I am an avid runner. However, I should probably clarify and say that I was an avid runner. For many years, I ran 5-6 days a week, easily averaging 40 or more miles per week. However, for the past four years, between raising kids and working full-time, my passion for running took a back seat to normal adult responsibilities. Not that I didn’t miss hitting the pavement for a good long run, because, I definitely did. Driving through town, I would get so jealous of those people out for their daily run. I can’t say I didn’t try to start running again, but starting is the worst part of running. When you are out of shape, the first few weeks, or months of training are MISERABLE! Between side stitches, sore muscles and shortness of breath, there is little to enjoy. However, once you get over the “hump” of being out-of-shape, it can be pleasant and FUN!
My sister-in-law recently got back into running since having children. Hearing about her hard workouts and the successes she has had in races, has reignited my passion for running. I can no longer justify my excuse that I am too busy with work and raising children to run, since my sister-in-law has children and works full-time, as well. She recently signed up for a half marathon that is scheduled for mid-January. It’s a half marathon that I have been tempted to run for the past 4 years, but was never in any kind of shape to run it. All it took was her suggesting that I run it, and I was in, training for a half marathon! I am on week number 3 of training, and saying it has been a challenge would be an understatement. Between the pain of training and finding time to train, it hasn’t been easy. To make it even more difficult to find time to run, my husband has been traveling for the past few weeks! Obviously, I can’t leave my 2 and 4 year olds at home by themselves while I go for a run, and I am not in enough shape to push them in my running stroller. However, as hard as it is to find time to run, I am actually enjoying my runs a lot more! They give me a little peace, quiet and “me” time that I desperately need now that my husband isn’t home.
Another challenge to getting back into shape, is remembering that I am not a teenager anymore. My body can only handle so much at one time. When I was in High School and College, getting back into shape only took a week or so, and didn’t hurt nearly as much as it does now! Between the normal effects of aging and having children, my body isn’t as tough as it used to be. 6 years ago, when I would start training for a race, I would already be running 4-5 miles a day by Week 3, along with a lot of plyometrics and weight training. Currently, I am on Week 3 and can still barely run 2 miles a day. The idea of adding weight training is absolutely out of the question. It has been a challenge to listen to my body and not get too frustrated with my “lack” of progress.
I am sure if you have been driving (or running) around town you have seen the signs for the 10 miler that we will be having next Saturday, Oct. 6th. The course is challenging, fun and unlike any course you will run in Northern Virginia. If you are training for a half or full marathon, this course will definitely make a good training race. If you are not quite up to running the 10 miler, we have plenty of other fun ways to help you train. On days when your muscles or joints are aching, or to help recover from a long run, try Aqua Jogging. We have the flotation belts in the pool that you can use while you are at the Community Center. Aqua Jogging helps increase endurance, while allowing your muscle and joints a break from hitting the pavement. We also offer Water Walking Monday-Thursday evenings from 6:30pm-7:20pm. The resistance of walking in the water helps build endurance and muscle strength, while taking pressure off your joints. The wellness center also has treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes that can be a great change from your normal run!
If you are an advanced runner or beginner runner, I wish you the best in your straining and like I keep telling myself, stay strong and push through it. I hope to see you around!
Sarah Barnett is Aquatics Supervisor for the Manassas Park Parks and Recreation Department. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 x3672 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Matters is a blog created by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. The blog features program updates, announcements of new services, special event notices, or information of general interest.