I had a never-before-experienced moment on Saturday evening. We were staying in a hotel for my daughter's soccer tournament. We'd spent the entire day waiting, pacing, watching, sitting beside soccer fields, ie. zero exercise. It was brutally hot anyway. I'd brought my running gear but decided to wait til the evening and run on a treadmill at the hotel.
I was the only person in the exercise room. I have no idea how far or fast I ran because it seemed to be in miles. All I know is that it felt fabulous to run off all that angst and anxiety and restlessness, and that I kept pushing the button to go faster. At the end I ran a few intervals, fast, then slow, then fast, then slow. I was pouring with sweat when I stepped off the machine.
I walked to the elevator with another woman and her two children, who were coming from the pool. She said, "You look like you've come from a sauna."
"Nope. Just went for a fast run," I told her. I was feeling a little self-conscious, as I always do when I'm pouring sweat in my exercise clothes. (This situation happens to me often at soccer practice, and I always take care to stand a small distance away from other parents, because, frankly, what I need is a shower.)
On the elevator, she said, "Do you run a lot then?"
"Yes," I said. "I swim too." I almost added "and I swing weights around once a week, and sometimes do spin class," but I didn't want to sound like an exercise maniac.
"That must be how you got this fabulous body," she said. "You have a fabulous body!"
The women's heptathlon went on Saturday. Now those women--they have fabulous bodies. I would trade bodies with them. Who wouldn't want Jessica Zelinka's abs? But I must say that it was quite an ego boost. Out of the blue, being complimented on my body, which is not a fashion model body by any means -- it's strong and muscular. That was quite the ego boost.
In the ego busting section, despite having worked my body into what looks like its athletic prime, I can't seem to run any faster. Why??? I'm working so hard! Sometimes I think my body is a bit of a fake-out for anyone looking on. I look faster and stronger than I actually am. Here's the thing. I didn't start this project to look fabulous. I started it to become an athlete. That's still my goal.
After the success of the swimming experiment, I've decided to start laying on some miles. I plan to run every other day for the next couple of weeks, in hopes that it boosts my fitness in that regard. Otherwise, I can write off the chance to run that 25km trail run in less than eight weeks ...