I’m not a runner

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I hate it. I’ve never gotten a runner’s high. I get bored on the treadmill. Even running outside doesn’t excite me–it’s just one monotonous, heaving step after another to me.

I have a few friends who love it, and I think it’s great they’ve found their thing. If you enjoy running marathons, more power to you! Someone needs to raise money for those cancer walks and rare disease races.

I’m totally okay with my running aversion. I’ve never felt guilty about it. But I’ve had trouble finding a kind of exercise that works and that I can stick with. I’ve done yoga on and off since I graduated college, but that’s not enough of a workout for me to notice a difference. I sometimes go to Bikram yoga, but the repetitiveness of doing the same moves every class always bothers me after two or three classes. I never know what to do at the gym, and I feel uncomfortable working out in front of people who at least act like they know what they’re doing.

I’ve never been overweight, so convincing myself that I needed to exercise has always been a problem. Since I graduated from college about six years ago, I’ve probably gained about five or 10 pounds–nothing THAT noticeable, but I’ve been unhappy with how clothes have fit me lately. I was lacking energy, and I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do to combat this that wouldn’t involve endless poundings on the treadmill. (At least I could watch reruns of “The West Wing” on Netflix.)

For my birthday, I asked my mom for a gift certificate for personal training classes. She got me one from Inline, and after an evaluation by the owner, I was matched with Tanya. She seems like she’s about my age, but she’s clearly in much better shape. I saw her four times, each an hour session. She’d email me the exercises we did each session so that I could do them at home and at the gym. I really liked working with her–we hit it off and talked about our lives for most of the sessions, which made them go by quickly.

The one-on-one sessions are pretty expensive, so I couldn’t really continue them after my gift certificate ran out. I was thinking that I might buy the unlimited class package, or go to the small group sessions once a week.

The studio sent out an email about a holiday evolution series in December–three classes per week for three weeks, with weigh-ins and measurements done on the first and last days. They also give you one complimentary class per week so that you can try out their barre, yoga, or Pilates classes.

I signed up for the morning version as a way to postpone making a decision about what to do next (and so I wouldn’t quit). I go to Inline on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 a.m. and on Saturdays at 8 a.m. (I am not a morning person, so this was a strange choice for me.) There is a group of about 10 of us, mostly women, in a range of physical conditions. The class is based on high-intensity interval training, meaning you go hard for short periods of time. For someone who gets bored with running or the elliptical after three minutes, even with Josh Lyman and President Bartlet, this is ideal.

I’m in the third week of classes, and I am surprised to say how GOOD I feel. Exercise is supposed to boost your mood, but I hadn’t really experienced that with anything other than Bikram. (And that was temporary–as soon as someone cut me off in traffic, I was back to my regular self.) I feel markedly better day to day, and I feel really great after a workout, like I’ve accomplished something. I push myself hard in class, harder than I do in other exercise classes. When they are guaranteeing results, and you actually start to see and feel them, I figured I should put as much effort as possible into that hour of exercise. Plus, because I’m paying $129 for the series (a big chunk of cash for me), it made sense to make it worth it.

These classes are hard, though. I’ve never had my ass kicked like this before, at least not consistently. But when you’re surrounded by people who are struggling through it, too, it’s not so daunting.

Surprisingly, as tough as it is to get out of bed in the morning, I like working out before work. When I exercise after work, I feel like that’s the only activity I can fit in–it takes me probably 2 1/2 hours round trip, including the post-workout shower. If I’m meeting a friend or going to dinner, I need to dry my hair and put on makeup–I’m not one of those girls that can let her hair “air dry,” put on chapstick, and leave the house looking acceptable for the world. I’m not high maintenance, but I NEED to put on concealer and blush AT LEAST so I don’t look like a strung out meth addict.

Because I work a short walk from my house, I can get home from class at 7:05, sometimes go back to sleep until 8, then shower and get dressed and get to work by 9. And then I’ve got the rest of the day to do whatever I want, including eat a burger at Hamilton Tavern.

I’m so glad that they’re doing a six-week program beginning in January. It’s $249, which is normally not something I would even consider, but I’ve had such great results so far that I can’t wait to actually get rid of this belly. LET’S DO THIS.

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