Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hurt so good

Every muscle hurts today. I don't know if it's from my return to the pool on Tuesday or the intense cardiyoga yesterday, but as soon as I tried to move this morning my body lit up like a switchboard, a symphony of lights and sound.

But this hurt is the good kind of hurt; not the sick and achy kind, not the heavy and fatigued kind from lack of sleep, not even the I-had-too-much-too-drink kind that makes you feel like you've been hit by a truck, but the kind that makes you feel alive and aware of every muscle in your body, muscles you didn't even know you had!

It's also the kind of hurt that feels better once you start moving again--the muscles stretch out and warm up as the blood begins to flow, the stiffness ebbing away bit by bit.

Swimming was exactly what I needed today to really work out the kinks in a non-impact, weightless kind of way. Unlike Tuesday's speedy interval workout, today's focus was on endurance and kicking, thankfully giving my sore arms and shoulders a break. In the afternoon, I kept the blood flowing with a brisk one-mile walk.

The human body, amazing machine that it is, has the ability to adapt to new routines over a period of time, and fitness gains plateau. This is never more apparent than when you embark on a new athletic endeavor. Never mind that I've been practicing yoga regularly, running 15 miles a week and lifting weights every other day. All it took was one hour back in the pool to realize how many muscles I'd been neglecting with my regular routines. It reminded me how important and necessary it is to keep things fresh--to shock the body by shaking up the routines and adding new challenges.

As the day winds down and I have been still for longer periods of time, the tension is starting to creep back in, my muscles tightening as they repair and rebuild. But I welcome the feeling. It is a reward for my hard work, the results of my effort and a reminder not to become too complacent. Because fitness is never finished--it is a continuous work in progress.

And as the saying goes, if there's no pain, there's no gain.

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