The theme for this week's Take It and Run Thursday is Strength and Flexibility.
Sometimes, I tell Jack that he needs to eat some chicken nuggets before he eats more french fries. Jack likes chicken nuggets, sure. They're (relatively) good for him, yeah. But sometimes, they're just something to get through so he can get to the stuff he really wants, namely the fries.
For me, strength and flexibility are to chicken nuggets as french fries are to running. I acknoweldge that they're good for me and will make me a stronger runner, but the truth is, I pretty much just do them because I have to in order to excel at the running that I really care about.
Let's start with the strength training. My New Year's resolution this year was to take my running to the next level. Last year when my running renaissance began, I was happy just to be putting in the miles. This year, I am adding strength training back in to make me stronger - and to hopefully keep my knee injury from cropping up again. I'll lift 1-2 times a week on easy running days. Much like taking my vitamins every day, I'll do it, and I won't complain about it, but I'm not going to get excited about it, either.
My body? Does not bend.
I do stretch after every run. It's another example of taking my vitamins. I know it's good for me, and I know it will help prevent injuries. And I figure since I've already put in, at minimum, half an hour running, I might as well spend another five or ten minutes stretching. But Internet, it is not a pretty sight.
Remember when we had to do the Presidential Physical Fitness tests in school? I always did a respectable number of sit-ups. Managed to hang well for the flexed arm hang. Completely rocked out the running tests.
But then, there was the sit and reach test. You'd sit on your butt with your legs straight out in front of you and reach as far as you could.
Every single time, the tester would say, "Okay, go ahead and start," only to discover that I had already started, and was, in fact, struggling.
Also, I cannot touch my toes. Not even close.
I'm following Hal Higdon's Intermediate program for my Trisko training, and he designates Mondays as a Stretch & Strengthen day. I'll pretty much do whatever Hal tells me to do at this point, so I have designated Monday as Yoga Day. I even have a yoga DVD called - I kid you not - Yoga for Inflexible People.
I had my first Yoga Day this week, and it was pretty much the most pathetic thing you ever saw. For one thing, as I mentioned, I do not bend, so it really didn't look like much.
Even more amusingly, the DVD, of course, was a model of tranquility. Gentle music, lots of talk about breathing, blah, blah, blah. I was about the least tranquil thing you ever saw. Put aside the fact that I was red-faced and straining. Instead, consider the fact that I had to pause the catlicking thing three times to put Jack back to bed. I was not a model of peace and calm; I was a model of, "Sweetheart, if you don't go the hell to sleep, I don't know what I am going to do."
Still, you can't just eat french fries all the time. Sometimes, you need to eat some chicken nuggets in order to keep balance in your life.
Of course, it is possible that I have stretched this metaphor far more than I can stretch my body.