As I sit here with two Hello Kitty icepacks (you know, the kind that’s meant for a lunch box) on my legs, I disclaim that this blog is ultimately not about working out. But over the past day or so, I’ve learned the importance of stretching.
I ran seven miles on Sunday. That’s right, seven.
On Monday, it was absolutely beautiful outside. I just can’t resist pretty weather. I ran four miles.
On Wednesday, I was in *pain*.
I got up to my desk at work (bright and early at 7:30 in the morning) and realized I had to walk back downstairs for something. And those stairs were daunting. The stairs and my tired hamstrings, quads, calves, adductors, and abductors haunted me with every step. They haunted me when I went to lunch. They haunted me when I was downstairs for afternoon break. They haunted me when I left work for the day.
And it was today that I realized the importance of stretching.
Even after seven miles of running. *Especially* after seven miles of running.
Of course, I had to learn the hard way. I usually do.
Something happened to me after I ran seven miles. Actually, it happens after every really hard run or workout. I mean, I don’t remember what I was thinking about before I ran seven miles, but I know once I finished the run, all I wanted was a hot shower and a big glass of water. And if you know me, you know that I get what I want :). Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to stretch after my hard run- and I was feeling it a few days later.
So, why should you care? Most of you aren’t going to go out and run seven miles. Most people don’t ever run that far. Most people are far too sane for that.
I started thinking tonight about how I neglected to stretch after my run, and how sometimes, we don’t stretch in our lives. We achieve something- and that’s it. After running so long, and being tempted by a nice, hot shower, with a brand new bottle of body wash and a fresh white towel- who *really* wants to spend an extra 10 minutes stretching, right?
That’s *more* work. That makes my workout even longer- and it already takes me *forever* to run seven miles.
Far too often do we get complacent. We don’t stretch *ourselves*- we work hard, we obtain whatever we were working toward, and we STOP. I know I’m guilty of not stretching- and not just the kind of stretching that prevents sore muscles, either.
So, why do we just stop when we get our reward- why not stretch? When we’re about a year old, we start walking. I remember walking around and around my parents’ coffee table, then eventually, I was good enough to walk on my own. Not long after that, I attempted the stairs at our two-story home- and always got back up even after falling repeatedly.
Why don’t we try walking on the roof, or tightrope walking? We jump on trampolines, and we learn to jump rope, but why not jump out of planes?
I guess my aching hamstrings really have led me to a revelation- or perhaps it’s these Hello Kitty ice packs…