Monday, January 24, 2011

Kettle-Hell: When Runner Meets Kettlebell

After three successful treadmill runs, I started to gain some confidence.  My nine-day hiatus from running had made me nervous about the upcoming half marathon, but all of the miles I accumulated over the weekend helped to ease my mind.  My legs were starting to get tired after their sudden jolt back from vacation though, and I decided today to take it easy.  After a full year of going to the gym, I had never once ventured past the cardio equipment.  I decided to branch out a little, so over the weekend I grabbed a class schedule and spoke to one of the employees about some good classes to get into.  I felt that this would make me stronger overall, would target different areas of my body while I rested from running, and break up some of the monotony of going to the gym. 
I thoroughly analyzed the class schedule to narrow down my choices.  It was a tossup between a spin class and kettlebell, but ultimately I decided against spin since it would be working my legs exclusively, which I was looking to rest.  I asked a few people about kettlebell and the responses ranged from “no idea”, to “it’s an okay workout”, to “sweet workout!”  In hindsight, the most positive response came from my running buddy Todd, who as we know is very enthusiastic about anything athletic and in my opinion is a bit of a masochist. 
My plan for today was simple: go to the gym, attend the 50-minute kettlebell class, run 4 miles on the treadmill.  If I just ran a simple 4 miles, that would bring my total for January up to 50, and that would make me pretty happy considering I was at a mere 30 just a few days ago.  When I arrived at the gym, I was in complete shock at how busy it was.  I speculated that the extreme cold temperatures would deter people from leaving their houses, but instead it appeared people needed a warm escape.  I parked near the back of the lot and was further shocked at the number of people inside occupying the machines.  I signed into the class and when I entered locker room, had a tough time even finding a free locker to stuff my bag into.  Indeed, the New Years Resolute were in full force.  I realized that I, too, fell into this category of sorts.  Never having attended this class before defaulted me to rookie status and it was an odd feeling.  It was also somewhat comforting because I could easily ask people questions without shame.
The class was very full and when we entered the training room, people immediately scurried around looking for equipment.  No one was there barking instructions so all I could do was follow some of the others.  I had no idea how complicated this setup would be.  I had to grab a kettlebell (or two of different weights), a weight bar, a mat, and then I had to construct a step with building blocks.  A quick little checklist would have been helpful, but I managed well enough by following others and asking for help along the way.  When the class started, the instructor addressed the rookies.  He said, “When you are done with this class, you will hurt.  Your butt will hurt.  Your legs will hurt.  Your thighs will hurt.  You won’t be able to climb stairs.  It will hurt to stand up.  It will hurt to sit down, and it will hurt to go to the bathroom.  This pain will last for days.  But it will make you stronger and it’s worth it”.  His scare tactic worked on some, and I glanced around the room at some of the rookies that were clearly about to meet their maker.  Luckily I knew I wouldn’t suffer such trauma since my legs were so strong already from running.  On the other hand, I was hoping to give my legs a bit of a break today, so I wasn’t really welcoming the idea of a tough lower body workout.  
I will spare everyone the details of the massacre that ensued.   But here are the highlights:
·         I was sweating profusely during the warm up
·         The instructor said the rookies could do half the number of reps.  I didn’t take advantage of this, and that was a huge mistake
·         I hate looking at my body in the giant mirror
·         I hate that monster instructor with his ripped body and enthusiastic attitude.  If my legs weren’t jell-o and I wasn’t out of breath, I would have run right out of the room
When the class ended, everyone collapsed.  Literally, 30 of us moaned and collapsed on our backs, where we laid for a few minutes before painfully rising to our feet and slowly returning all of the equipment to its location.  I slowly made my way back to the locker room and tried to figure out how I would possibly be able to run 4 miles on the treadmill.  I wasn’t sure I could even walk TO the treadmill in the condition I was in.  I had promised myself some miles on the treadmill though, and I couldn’t imagine leaving the gym without logging them.  So, I willed myself over to the row of treadmills and picked the first one I came to.  With any luck, I figured once I got started running, my legs would spring back to life.  Unfortunately this never happened.  Every step I took hurt, and the weak legs under me threatened to collapse.  Right then and there I promised never to again complain about achy legs while I was running.  After two very painful, strenuous miles, I gave up.
When I ran a half marathon in October, my legs weren’t sore.  Every mile I’ve ever run, I was never this sore.  I’ve been achy, sure, but never so sore that it hurt to walk.  This class delivered me an extra large slice of humble pie.  Today, I was the rookie.  My butt hurts, my legs hurt, my thighs hurt, it hurts to walk, it hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit down, and I haven’t even attempted yet to go to the bathroom.  At least he promised it would only hurt for a few days.  Perfect, just in time for the next snowstorm. 

1 comment:

  1. Update: One day later, I couldn't go to the gym. My beer is trapped downstairs and I may have to pay my dog to grab it for me. I'm considering sleeping on the couch in the living room because I don't think I can climb the stairs. Did I mention how I hate that instructor? But, I'll probably go again next Monday.