It’s been fairly quiet here at the Pink Ticket. The girl hasn’t been doing much by way of cooking, let alone writing recipes. Sure, I’ve whipped up a few new things I hope to be able to share soon. I’ve also spent some time with the new Engine2 cookbook; mostly in lust with the Adonis Cake. I’m a little over that now—as much as anyone can be over chocolate cake that is practically guilt free. The truth is, I’ve been doing some work putting together my collection of recipes and writing the actual text of the cookbook I want to have out this year. I’m a storyteller at heart, so with the recipes is a story… and one that hasn’t been so easy for me to write, but I’m getting there.
I’ve felt a little bad ignoring this space though, so I thought I would share a little more of what I’ve been up to. Back in February, you may recall I made some resolutions. I’d not been tracking to the 300 mile running goal as much as I’d wanted and I was finding it frustrating in building back my consistency. I love running the elliptical, but something was a miss. I had hoped during my vacation that I would really spend some quality time in my Adidas and Bondi Bands. It was my intention, actually. And then the first few days of vacation, I found myself feeling a little ill. Might have been stress catching up with me, could have been a little bit of a bug that was going around… doesn’t really matter—the bottom line was I was only able to get in a mile or two those particular days. And that was when my wake up call came.
Really, Nikki? You weren’t feeling well and only got in a few miles? Really, Nikki? You had back spasms so bad from whatever was happening in your body that you only managed to get a mile in? And you think you somehow failed at what you set out to do with your goal?
By Saturday, when I started feeling better physically, I ran a little more. Sunday was a little more than that… by Monday, I was feeling it. By Tuesday, I actually got it. I wasn’t failing at anything. Yes, the numbers hadn’t been tracking in the “300 Miles to Ink” goal I’d willy-nilly set, but the real goal of building my consistency, getting my pace back, and re-engaging in a sport I loved was being met. I had physically hurt and still felt it in me to do what I could. Wanted it. Needed it. Knew in the end, it would make me feel better. I’d been searching for that passion without realizing it existed the whole time. And I have to wonder, how often does that happen?
There was one small problem, however, that had to be fixed: my beloved Adidas. No matter what I did, whenever I wore them on the elliptical (which is where I run now due to far too many recurrent injuries), my feet would hurt, painful and eventually numbed. It didn’t happen on trails or hikes, just on the elliptical. Over the weekend, I begrudgingly meandered into Lady Foot Locker and demanded to see their selection of Adidas running shoes. As it turned out, this particular store (and perhaps others, I usually don’t buy my shoes from them) only sold Nike running shoes. I explained that this simply wouldn’t do, I never met a Nike that fit right. She asked me to give it a try. Five shoes later, I walked out with my first pair of Nikes and headed straight for the gym. Ok, ok… I stopped for a coffee first, but then right to the gym. An hour on the elliptical, no pain. Maybe I got this after all.
The Plus FIVE
“An hour on the elliptical?” I hear some of you say. Yes, you heard right. Some days, I can only do about 30 or 35, other days, I’ve gone two hours. It was 12 or 13 years ago that I started using an elliptical. At that time, I could really only do five minutes. So that’s what I did. I did other things too, but I had a love hate relationship with that machine that wasn’t sitting still.
Over time, running and my mean competitive streak would land me in physical therapy no less than three times… no matter the trainer I worked with or the amount of care I paid, I am simply not a graceful runner. Last year I even managed to tear a calf muscle on the elliptical (ironically, it was the same day I finished a course of PT for a shoulder injury related to a hiking fall), but that’s another story entirely. The last round of PT for running injuries, the trainer and therapist both pretty much said I’d continue to cause damage to the injured area; I could strength train and slow it down, but running on an elliptical would be my best option. Of course, I didn’t immediately buy into this plot to undermine my efforts. And while strength training helped, I finally (a year later) came to the conclusion they were probably right.
But here’s my point and one I make to ANYONE who asks me, no matter what stage they are in… Use what I call the FIVE MINUTE RULE. If you are starting out exercising, don’t ruin your efforts with an hour at the gym. Set a goal of 5 minutes. Maybe it’s 4 times a day to start, maybe it’s less. The thing I have to continually re-learn myself: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. When I run now, I start at 30 minutes. Every song, or approximately every 5 minutes, I evaluate how I’m feeling… do I need to change my pace? do I need to adjust anything? do I need a freaking drink of water? At about 26/27 minutes, I make a call: can I do five more minutes (before the 5 minute cool down)? If I’m feeling good, I add five minutes. And I continue with this process, adding five more minutes every 5 minutes or so, until I’m done. You know it when you are. Like I said, some days, 30 is tops. Other days, I can do an easy hour. It isn’t the quantity of minutes; it’s truly the quality of them. For me, it’s a great run and listening to 80s hair metal that I don’t get much opportunity any other time. It reduces my stress, helps me think clearer, and actually gives me more energy when I’m done.