Look after your knees – You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Ok so my love/hate affair with running seems to have ended. After 3 gruelling months of getting up and out every other day to go for a run, I am still on week 2 of the couch to 5K programme, and Laura has lied to me – she promised that if I stuck to it, she would have me running for 30mins in 9 weeks. Well thanks very much Laura. Now what do I do?

running

See – doesn’t that look nice – freedom, peace, fitness!

To be fair to Laura I wasn’t running every other day the whole time, August was a bit of a naughty month – I’m not too sure where it went but between having my routine thrown out the window and a bit of ill health, the running kind of took a back seat for 3 weeks over August, and when I went to visit family in Edinburgh I had the best intentions to carry on but my running shoes just wouldn’t fit in the bag! Darn it.

But from June to August I was up and at it every other day – and I did get up to week 5 where I was running for….wait for it… 5 mins then 3mins then 5 mins then 3 mins…. that’s like 16 minutes of running and ok it was very very slow running, and it absolutely killed me – but I was doing it. But really I ought to have been on week 8 after two months – but I have to keep repeating weeks due to being terminally feeble.

After my 3 week break I went back to week 4 – and it was ok. First run I thought – ha – got away with it – I have not lost all my fitness I built up in one swoop, but for some odd reason, every single run since then has been hell – I had to actually stop in the middle of one 3 minute stint as I was burnt out. 3 minutes! I mean honestly – it’s hardly the marathon is it???

So what’s wrong with me? Why am I so very very hopeless at running, why am I not getting fitter and stronger and better? Is it a feeble body or a feeble mind?

And I am sad because, although I still hate running with a firey passion, I can now see why people love it, I get it. If I could only be quite good at it then I think I would quite like it too.

Now with autumn creeping in, I am wondering how much I can be bothered to try and get back to where I was, when I know in my heart that as soon as it gets dark and cold and slippery and muddy, then my motivation and resolve will evaporate. If I am struggling in ideal beautiful conditions, I am going to sink like a stone in the winter.

So my hubbie and I have been talking about setting up a gym in the garage.

garage gym

The garage of the future? (nice car!)

But who wants to shlep out into a freezing cold manky old garage in the middle of winter? Plus it would mean – tidying the garage which would involve many trips to the dump. Plus we would need to make the garage a more pleasant place to be, which would mean investing in stuff that we can’t really afford, and removing the mice and spiders. So I’m not convinced this is the way forward.

In a fit of fitness enthusiasm I bought myself a Zumba DVD this week. (Soon to join the exercise DVD collection that I have invested in over the years, now gathering dust on my shelf, The Y-Plan, Tai Chi, Qui Gong, Pilates…etc..etc…)

See - doesn't that look like fun? Smug fit fun!

See – doesn’t that look like fun? Smug fit fun!

Now I have always hated the idea of Zumba and resisted it at every turn when friends have suggested I come along, mainly because I have the co-ordination of Frank Spencer and don’t want to embarrass myself.  I have had 2 very traumatising experiences involving exercise classes that require co-ordination over the years. The first at University when I went to the one and only aerobics class I have ever been to and spent most of my time apologising to those around me for crashing into them when the lady in front told us to suddenly change direction and my legs got all knotted up and confused. And secondly when my hubbie and I decided to attend a Salsa class in Islington when we were young and hip. And I got singled out by the instructor about 15 times for doing it completely and utterly wrong and spent much of the class holding my head in my hands and sobbing ‘but I just can’t do this’…

***Shudder***

However, I have always had a sneaky hankering after Zumba as I love the idea of ‘dancing myself fit’. I love music and I love dancing. I am totally and utterly hopeless at dancing but I love it, and I am sure someone once said that with Zumba it was all about the fun and it didn’t matter if you weren’t doing it quite right. However, I couldn’t face the humiliation of a class – but in the privacy of my own living room… ha ha… have I hit upon the perfect solution?

No I have not.

Having just done my first session today  – I learnt the steps in section one and despite realising that yes this is really just a souped up version of Salsa as I had long suspected, it was really fun and I was enjoying it and I was certainly working up a sweat and getting my heart going. Yes I was doing it all wrong, Yes I was utterly confounded and baffled 90% of the time, but it was quite fun.

However… half way through the ‘dance dance dance’ session, I suddenly became aware that my knees were really suffering. Much of the Zumba moves involve twisting your body side to side and I cannot for the life of me fathom how you do this without twisting your knees. I keep stopping and studying their feet but there doesn’t seem to be enough time to do the number of steps their feet seem to do, in order to step to the side and not twist your knees.

My poor knees are now in a terrible grump with me, they feel like they have been put in a vice while I twisted the rest of my leg around 360 degrees.

I keep hearing the warning from Quindon Tarver’s advisory song ‘Wear Sunscreen’ where he says “Look after your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.”

I’m so so sorry knees, please forgive me. Come to think of it – I’m not too sure my back is talking to me anymore either. Ooops.

Am not too sure I dare try again, being too terrified to visit a class to learn what I am doing wrong (probably everything) surely I am just going to inflict more damage on my poor unsuspecting knees?

So now what? Do I join a gym? ***shudder*** Do I give up and just stay unfit and slightly wobbly? Do I just make sure I keep up my walking – I am making myself walk to and from the school every opportunity, rain or shine and walking more in general rather than use the car and am averaging 4000-7000 steps a day – my all time record was 12,633 which I got this week! Walking is good right? Maybe combine with a spot of Yoga or Pilates? Do I really need to get my heart rate up? Really? It’s ok you can give it to me straight, I can take it.

Answers on a postcard please.

Not this postcard

Not this postcard…