I spent a while talking to my coach yesterday after the run yesterday and tonight (texting: because talking all night on the phone would be just silly).
So much of the difficulty of the run yesterday was mental, like I said, and not just in the ways I explained. There’s a fear there, I guess, that moving back into what I’ve always done will lead me back to the hospital bed again. I mean, yeah, sure, the doctors have now decided that the bleeding was probably caused by AVMs (arterial malformations), which are a total fluke and random; not a soul out there believes that running in any way causes me to bleed. It’s all in my head. But…I can’t get it out.
And then there’s the fact that I’ve lost so much. I’m so far from the person I was before all this. That run wasn’t fun…and if it’s not fun, why am I doing it?
Now. Now, here’s the thing. I’ve mentioned before that since November, I’ve been doing boot camps and strength work. My coach, whom I initially hired for running, is actually also the instructor of boot camp and of other strength classes I’ve tried and enjoyed. This past week, when I wasn’t allowed yet to try to run, she worked with me with hand weights, barbells, body weight work – and it was hard, and I was exhausted, and it was so very rewarding that I began to crave more and more.
So we’ve started hatching a little plan.
Now, it still requires quite a lot of fleshing out (I’m giggling over that turn of phrase, and you’ll understand why in a moment), but I’ve decided that this is an absolutely golden opportunity to change focus. Starting now, I’m going to switch from primarily endurance-based cardio (well, almost exclusively running), with strength work as cross-training to improve those skills, over to almost exclusive strength-training, and high-intensity cardio designed to improve form. My form. A while back, I ran across a woman on SparkPeople who was just beginning to do competitive bodybuilding, and I was utterly fascinated, but at the time I was very focused on running, and the two things are really just as antithetical as you can get. You don’t want aerobic exercise for that kind of training; you want anaerobic as much as possible.
My coach, though a runner herself, has a background in training people for lots of different goals, including training big “muscle men” to get even bigger and more muscled. She’s never worked with anybody doing figure competition before, but the idea caught her fancy, too, and she’s eager to help me get wherever I want.
Six months. Six months is a good point to shoot for, as a first step, and, as it happens, just about exactly six months from the beginning of April, the INBA Natural Universe competition will be held in Chicago. Now, I don’t really have the self-confidence to think I could change my physique so much in six months that I could straight-out compete as a bodybuilder, figure competition (which focuses on muscle tone over muscle size) could definitely be an option in that time. Hey, they even have a “Ms. Figure Classic” division, in which competitors wear one-piece suits instead of bikinis. (You are going to have to forgive the almost unforgivably bad website design, but here is an explanation of all of it.)
Anyway, I promise not to go over-the-top with this (Gabe already told me I “can’t be scary!”), and I think I can promise that spray tanning is Right Out (I have yet to be able to find any photos of true redheads in competition to see how they handle that aspect of things, though). Muscles, ahoy, though! I’m scheduled to hit the gym bright and early to begin training. Abs, back, biceps, and calves…