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fitness

Injured. Again.

Life has gotten busy over the last 6 weeks. August was filled with weekends working on renovations at BF’s rental house, a trip to Seattle, and a long-weekend home in Victoria. And as soon as it looked like everything was settling down, field hockey season started. :)

I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in years. I can run 15-20km fairly easily, and I’m about 10 lbs. lighter than I was going into last season – which means I’m a lot quicker on the field. The team has changed a lot as well – a lot of new faces … and while I think I’m playing better than I have in years, I definitely notice that it’s getting more difficult to keep up with the younger players. Even with being in better shape. Getting old. Not cool.

Speaking of field hockey, remember this time last year when I injured my foot at practice? I played on it for a while, and then realized hockey and running were too much for my foot. So in January of this year I stopped running. And when field hockey season ended, I started up again. I was pain-free for most of the summer… but my first practice of the season? And  yep, the pain is back. :|

So with the Victoria GoodLife Half Marathon less than a month away, I had to make the extremely hard decision to not run. In fact, I haven’t run in about 2 weeks. I’m not in excruciating pain with I exercise, but it’s definitely there and it’s uncomfortable just to walk to work.

I’m really bummed out. That’s two half marathons in a row (BMO Half Marathon, GoodLife Half Marathon) that I’ve had to quit training for. Paying the entry fees and not running makes me a bit sad, but I wonder if I’ll have to eventually choose between field hockey and running – because it’s clear I can’t do both at the same time and stay healthy. :|

Over the weekend, BF and I met up with one of his friends who was visiting from out of town. She talked about getting in as much traveling and exercise as she could now, while her body would still allow it. And she’s right. I’ve been holding off on dream trips to Machu Picchu as well as Kilimanjaro for years, in the hopes that I could find someone to travel with. But now that I’m turning 32 next month, I know that my window of opportunity for the kind of adventure travel (and experience) I want is getting smaller. I need to make these trips a priority in the next 5-7 years, otherwise I might never get to do them at all.

So from now on, I’m going to funnel as much of my freelance income as I can into my Travel Fund.

A fitness update

Fitness is a big part of my life, but I haven’t been blogging about it recently, so now that I think I’m fully (?) recovered from the foot injury I suffered last fall, I thought I’d take a few minutes and write about how everything is going. :)

Running
This has taken me the most time to get back into it, but it’s been going fairly well considering I haven’t really run since January. I’m comfortably running 10-12km right now at a 5’35” pace, which I’m happy with, but I still have a long way to go. I remember a few weeks ago, I decided to go hard for a short 3km run. I thought I was sprinting – for sure close to a 10km race pace (about 5’00” km) – but in reality? I was running 5’20” kms. Yikes.

My best half marathon time was 1:53:51, and I’m hoping to race in under 1:50:00 in October. That’s going to require some dedication this summer for sure.

I’d like to stick with the half marathon distance, because the thought of doing 10km races gives me such anxiety. For some reason, I see 10km races as an all-out sprint. They are not particularily enjoyable because there’s no room for error – if you have a bad few minutes, you’re done. There’s almost no coming back from that. My best time is 49:59, and I really struggled to cross that finish line. I’m not sure my body could run any faster than that, but I’d sure like to run a sub-49 this year. :)

Right now, the only races I’m considering are the Vancouver Eastside 10km, Victoria GoodLife Half Marathon, and the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon. I think that’s enough to keep me motivated.

Field Hockey
Try-outs are coming up again for the fall season, so I’m hoping that I’ll be placed on the same team as last year. My mom keeps telling me that I’m getting too old to play field hockey, and that I’d better quit before my body quits for me. :) I do sometimes worry that my back will cause me problems, since that’s the reason my mom quit playing. But for now, my back feels fine. I know I can’t keep playing at this level forever, but I know I have at least a few good years in me. So I’ll keep going until I can feel myself slipping, and then I’ll reevaluate. But I’m thinking I have at least 2 seasons to go.

Tennis
Well, I’m not very good. My forehands are weaker than my backhands, if that gives you any indication of my progress. :) I know I should be practicing in-between lessons, so I’m going to try to do that during the next few weeks. I think I’m lucky because I have good footwork and agility (thanks to a lifetime of field hockey), as well as stamina (thanks to running). All I need to learn is how to, you know, hit the ball.

The past few months I’ve made a real effort to eat healthier and exercise more in an effort to lose a couple of pounds. I started out at 135 lbs back in April, and am now down to 127. It’s been a slow process, but I feel like I’m doing this in a healthy, sustainable way. :) It also really helps that BF is on board with healthy eating, and he’s trying to exercise every day as well. My goal is to settle in at around 125 lbs.

Learning a new sport

62737se101080-zmYesterday I spent $50 on a tennis racquet and headed to the courts in Stanley Park. I’ve never played tennis before, although I’ve always wanted to learn. But with so many other competing priorities, and no friends in town that play the sport, I’ve just never gotten around to it. Until now. BF loves playing tennis, and he was willing to teach me some of the basics – so I jumped at the chance. It also helps that the courts are free to play on (when you can actually get space), and are just a short walk from his house.

After spending about 90 minutes learning how to hold a racquet properly and hitting balls against a cement practice wall (which also meant hitting the ball into the other practice court about two dozen times), I decided I liked the sport enough to take the plunge and invest in tennis lessons.

After asking Twitter about recommendations for lessons in Vancouver, I decided to stick with Stanley Park for the convenience factor and the good reviews it got. I paid $80.75 for 4 lessons of 60 min. each (approx. $20.19 per hour). Class sizes are no more than 12 people, and there are 2 instructors that teach the course. This seemed a bit expensive to me, but after talking with a few of my out-of-town tennis friends, they confirmed that this was pretty normal.

I’ve stuck with “comfort” sports like field hockey and running my whole life, and have stayed away from sports I’ve never played before, or that I’m not good at. As someone whose played competitive sports for many years, I don’t like the idea of not being good at something. Or having to start with basics and work my way up to being competent. But I know that being uncomfortable with something means that I should do it, and that it will help me to overcome those feelings. Plus, learning a new skill is never a bad thing! Tennis seems like it would be a great summer sport to play, and good cross training for field hockey and running.

Another worry I have is that I won’t be able to find anyone to play with. BF is a lot better than me, and so are his friends. I’m sure he’ll play with me, but it’s not going to be as fun for him until I can reach a semi-adequate playing level. So until then, I’m going to have to find other newbies to play games and learn with as well. Since this whole tennis thing is a bit of a departure for me, and I’m really excited to try something new!

Does anyone have any advice for a newbie tennis player? :)