Monday, July 4, 2016

Never Underestimate Natural Alternatives to Working Out

At least two of us got a workout at
Glastonbury has become the gift that keeps on giving. I have learned more about life, love, community, friendship, and spirituality in the last two weeks than in the last two years. But there was another offshoot I never expected.

I learned about exercise.

Before we left for our trip, I was in the midst of heavy swim training. My options were to stop all training for eight days or figure out how to train without a pool in the middle of 200,000 people. Without looking like a complete fool.

I thought about bringing my running shoes. I even found a video of a Glastonbury 5K run that takes place every year. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't attempt it. I can't imagine how anyone could have run in that mud.

I did, however, bring rubber resistance cords I use to simulate the arm motions of swimming in the absence of a pool. I actually told Andy I planned to do some kind of workout while we were at Glastonbury. 

Not good for running shoes unless you
want to leave them behind.
His answer? "Hahahahahahaha!"

He laughed not because he thought I wouldn't have time to workout, but because he knew I wouldn't need to.

And I now know getting around the Glastonbury Festival is a workout in and of itself. The place is huge! When I said there was a 5K run, I meant: there's a 5K run that takes place completely within the festival grounds. (And it isn't a looping course.)

The truth is that when we were at the tent, I never once had the energy or the desire to pull out my cords. That opening-day multi-mile trek from the car to the campground with heavy bags and deep mud was one of the hardest workouts I've ever done. I was sore for days. In fact, I was surprised people weren't keeling over with heart attacks from the exertion. I suspect everyone goes home in better physical shape than they arrived - well, unless they just parked themselves in front of one stage. (Although, this year, even THOSE people probably got a workout trying to stay un-stuck in the mud.)

Mud in the walkways
Mud in the fields
Mud everywhere
The rest of the days weren't as bad as the first, but they WERE exhausting just getting around in the mud and walking in heavy mud-covered boots. By the time we were in our sleeping bags (1-2 am?), no amount of loud dance music and people talking all around us was able to keep my usually-restless soul awake.

It was a daily physical workout, but I wasn't convinced it would keep me in shape for my sport of choice - swimming (or running, even). I guessed I would find out when I got home.

The first workout I did when I got home was short because I ran out of time - 2500 yards of swimming. In was surprised it didn't feel like I had taken  nine days off. The next day I did 7100 yards. Another surprise - I hadn't lost much speed. Maybe there was something TO those "workouts" we inadvertently got at the festival.

But the biggest surprise came yesterday when I went for a run. I had run only once, five miles, in the week following the festival and only once, three miles, the week before. Yesterday, I ran ten (!) miles. In less than 80 minutes! My hamstrings are only a tiny bit sore today and my quads don't even feel like I ran yesterday. I'm still wondering how this happened. Is it possible all that hard work, especially on the uphills, worked just as good as running and swimming for fitness?

I think it's safe to say it doesn't matter how you get your fitness. Just get it.

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