We sold the last of our horses (the Arabian) when I was 15. High school had meant I was too busy to go riding nearly as often as I did when I was younger.
Fast forward to 2014. The area I’ve lived in for the last 8 years is chock-full of horse farms. I’d slowly been developing a “fever” to ride again but A) didn’t have a horse of my own and B) have more than a bit of social anxiety and was worried I wouldn’t remember most of what I’d known inherently as a kid. There’s a certain fear in tackling a childhood activity as an adult and WANTING to be good at it. Finally, in October I started taking lessons at a really great horse farm/jumping school here in Jacksonville.
How does this tie into The Gingerbread Girl? Well, you see, my riding lessons are on Tuesday afternoons. And my first experience with running with the C25K app was Tuesday morning. Let’s just say I had the MOST FRUSTRATING riding lesson I’ve had yet. Even my trainer gave me the “Oh noes, I’m SO sorry! WHAT is going on with you today??” face.
It wasn’t until I was DYING and gasping for breath at the end of my lesson that I realized…umm, DUH. My muscles are almost certainly STILL FATIGUED FROM RUNNING THAT MORNING. Exercise Noob indeed. I was foggy-headed that evening and utterly wiped out. I had really over-done it.
I talked to our friend Clay, who does competitive cycling, to ask him for advice. He recommended stretching, hydrating and resting until it didn’t hurt to move. Two days later on Thursday, I was still pretty sore but feeling better. I didn’t want to give up running already but I was going to have to do it on any day OTHER than Tuesday. For one thing, I could get hurt if my muscles were too fatigued to allow me to handle the horse. (I actually got off pretty lucky.) I decided to walk Thursday to stretch out my sore muscles and at least do something other than sit still at the computer.
But when I got outside, even though I could still feel my thighs and ankles yelling at me, I decided instead to pull up the C25K app again and see how it went. I could always stop early or skip a 30-second run if I had to. And you know what? I got through THE ENTIRE 30 MINUTES.
The app alerts you when you’ve finished half the set by saying “You’re halfway there. Start running.” And I was really surprised. I was listening to a Discworld book (The Last Continent) and hadn’t been counting sets. I had just planned to keep going until I felt like I should stop. When I got to the last set and the app said “Start your cool down” I was REALLY surprised because I felt like I had at least one more 30-second run in me! This was a noticeable difference just between the first two days of using this app. I wasn’t DYING. I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up. I was sweaty and panting for sure. My breathing had gotten out of control, especially on the last 30-second run. But I still felt okay!
Here’s me, sweaty, sore and super pleased with myself, post-run. I didn’t collapse on the living room floor because I didn’t have to! (I did make sure to stretch really well, though!)
Note: The Gingerbread Girl title is taken from a Stephen King short story of the same name about a female runner who has to escape a killer on a beach in Florida. It’s a great non-supernatural short read.