Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Past Deadline: Boot Camp Vacation

What I did on my summer vacation, as told in the Perth Courier on Sept. 1/09.

Boot camp vacation

A couple of weeks ago I went to boot camp. Okay, not really, but it felt like it. Okay, actually, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I’ve never been to boot camp. What I DID do was continue my beginner running program while our family vacationed at a cottage in the lovely Madawaska Highlands near Plevna.

Regular readers may recall I have joined a friend of mine who lives in Calgary on a self-improvement mission that includes a regular running regime. We report our results to one another. My best friend here in town has also joined in this quest, so I have an actual physical running partner, too.

As I write this I am on week seven of the plan, which involves three sets of running for six minutes with one-minute walking breaks between. At the end of the plan I’m told I should be able to run for 20 minutes straight without keeling over.

You may also recall that a Small Angry Muscle in my lower leg was giving me quite a lot of grief. Thanks to perseverance and some recommended exercises that issue has mostly disappeared, with an occasional muted muttering emitted from the SAM in question.

But back to my self-imposed boot camp. I learned a huge lesson: I am not ready to run up hills.
My goal on this vacation was to take advantage of the opportunity to run along some lovely cottage roads and enjoy a change of scenery and the cool shadiness of the hilly forests. In principle it was dreamy. What I didn’t count on was the humidity making it feel more like a jungle.

Oh, and the Drummond Street Hill has got nothing on the Madawaska Highlands. Not that I’ve actually run up the Drummond Street hill yet. I’ve been sticking to the casual inclines of the Perthmore subdivision.

Anyway, to stick to my plan I had to run three times on my vacation. On the first day I marvelled at how easy the initial 10 minutes were. Then, when I turned around at the halfway point, it occurred to me that perhaps the cottage is located on top of a small, ancient mountain.
Even the downhill parts seemed to go uphill, and the humidity, even in the morning, forced me to throw in an extra minute of walking just over the halfway point in order to catch my breath.

For my second jungle run two days later I had graduated to a new week, meaning I added an extra minute to each set of running times. As a result, my halfway point was slightly farther than previously, meaning I went all the way down one big hill and part way up another. That day I had to actually stop and put my head down for a few seconds until the wheezing stopped.

Silly girl.

On my third run I smartened up. I turned around before I got to those big nasty hills and opted for a nice, flattish side road instead. I also did three loops around a lovely level boat launch parking lot. Call me a wimp if you want to, but that day I actually enjoyed my run and was winded without feeling as if I were about to collapse.

Ah, exercise. I’m surprised not everyone wants to do it!

It wasn’t all about the running, though. Almost every day I spent between one and two hours in the lake. At this cottage there is a great dock system, but it’s deep at the shore. This means certain three-year-olds do less puddling and more leaping into mama’s arms while she gamely treads water. I used a noodle under my arms in order to stay afloat as small people jumped on me, but I also took the opportunity to do some heavy-duty scissor kicks. Feel them muscles holler! Throw in some actual swimming along with canoeing and kayaking and I almost felt like a new woman, albeit one who weighs the same as before. That’s because my boot camp subscribes to the “vacation diet,” aka “not always entirely nutritious meals punctuated by downright junky snacks.”

Ah, well. It’ll go much better now that I am home and free of any and all food-related temptations. Ha!


Monnik said...

Great job keeping up a fitness routine while on vacation! I did a similar plan for running a couple of years ago. It was called the couch to 5K plan and it got me running 30 minutes at a time in something like 10 weeks. Great plan.

I also hate hills and am the slowest. runner. ever. But I'm freaked out by swimming. Not sure why - I can swim, just not very prettily.

Keep up the great work!

Steph said...

Thanks, Monnik! At week 10 I should be at 20 minutes. After that, who knows!

Sparky said...

hehehehe. cute.

apparently I am comment challenged right now.

that is all.

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Good for you! I'm soooo going to join you when my town stops burning.

Steph said...

Tell me when, Andrea. I will help you!

momma's heart said...

Hoping to see some vacation pictures!

I'm starting to believe what they say about parents never sleeping again. Not much going on here--baby's longest stretch is 2.5 hours during the night.