Breaking old patterns + returning to an old fitness friend

When it comes to working out, I’m a quitter. Perhaps that’s something you may have picked up on since I literally went years without writing on this here blog.

I’m the type of person who can get really into a routine of exercise, only to allow myself to be derailed by pretty much anything. Stressful week at work? Skip the gym, and eat that bag of chips! Pissed at my commute/loud AF neighbors/etc? Don’t work out — eat your anger! Feeling sick? Curl up on the couch and say goodbye to the gym forever!

As I’m not getting any younger, I’m really — like really really — trying to break that pattern this time around, especially now that I’ve made a commitment to #C25K.

Speaking of, I had a really shitty #C25K workout Thursday morning, when I started Week 2. I hadn’t been sleeping well all week and was feeling sore and achy as New York had seen nothing but rain for days on end. My body felt like lead, and I really struggled with the extra 30 seconds of running time.

When I got off the treadmill half an hour later a hot, sweaty mess, I told myself that while I didn’t make it through every full 1:30 run time, what mattered is that I kept going — and that I needed to keep going to the next workout.

But even as proud of myself as I was for actually sticking with the whole #C25K workout, I avoided the gym the next two days as I fought feelings of discouragement brought on that day’s bad workout.

Revisiting Winsor palace again

With Kona, though, it’s not like I can be the gym-avoiding couch potato I once was, so I went on tons of walks with her in the interim, and the fella and I took a huge walk home from dinner in Astoria last night. We followed that up with her night walk, and I started my Sunday with a hot and slow long walk with her as well.

After I brought Kona home, I put my gym sneakers on and took myself downstairs, where I had a truly great #C25K training workout. It’s like my body needed those few days of nothing more than pup walks recharge and be ready to, well, run.

Since it was the second of Week 2, there were four minute-and- a-half running sessions followed by two one-minutes, and unlike the first workout, I did them all! Please, please, hold your applause.

Not only did I not feel like lead or too wiped out, I felt so good and amped up on endorphins that I actually wanted to do a little more. So I came back home and dug around on YouTube until I found the 20-minute Winsor Pilates workout I used to do on the reg when I lived in Pennsylvania.

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A clip from the 20-minute Winsor Pilates workout. (YouTube)

While I am so not as flexible as I used to be, the familiar poses and stretches felt almost as good as the sheen of sweat and accomplishment that covered me by the time I was done.

I’m so glad that I found the workout because the magic of Mari Winsor really helped keep me limber and toned before I let myself go all those years ago.

In fact, as I was feeling sore and achy last week because of the weather and my previous workouts, I had, without even realizing it, turned to two Winsor Pilates moves — the saw and spine stretch forward — to stretch myself out.

As I used to have a big folder of exercises I ripped out of magazines that I used to rotate between, I couldn’t remember where I had learned the two moves until I became reacquainted with them today.

It must’ve been a sign from Mari that I needed to return to my old standby!

I’m back — and starting #C25K

Welp, it’s been a hot minute — or more than 1.6 million of them if we’re being technical — since I last blogged on this site in late 2015.

A lot has changed in the past three years, yet many things have remained the same, namely my struggles with my weight and my desire to get healthy and fit continuing to be underminded by my addiction to food.

I think those are wars I’m always going to wage within myself, but now, at 41, I realize the importance of running into them full stop with my battleax aloft as a show of strength and warning that the status quo is no longer a welcome guest.

So what makes this time different?

The fella and I became empty nesters when the Girl Child moved out after starting college, so we moved from Harlem to Roosevelt Island, a wonderful suburb-within-the-city with — are you sitting down for this? — our pit bull rescue Kona, who we adopted nearly a year ago.

Roosevelt Island has great views of Manhattan and is two miles of plentiful greenspace that we love exploring with Kona, who has kept me from entering the complete sloth mode I used to dive into after work and on weekends.

But walking a dog, especially one who must stop and sniff as much as our Kona, does not make for a lot of fat-burning opportunities. So last week, I finally paid a visit to the free gym in our building and am happy to report that I’ve gone five times since last Saturday.

Enter #C25K

After using mostly the treadmill for fast-paced walks with a handful of jogging bursts, today I started the #C25K plan on the 5K Runner app.

The app aims to have users go from 0 to a 5K — or from the “couch to 5K,” hence #C25K — in just eight weeks using the app for 30 minutes a day, three days a week.

While it might sound almost too-good-to-be-true, more than 4.2 million people have shared their success stories using the app, which also has a 4.9 star rating in the Apple App Store.

Among them is the fella, a former marathoner, who used 5K Runner soon after having bariatric surgery in the fall of 2016.

The app breaks up the workouts into intervals of running and walking. Since today was my very first time, the workout consisted of running for one minute then walking 1.5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes. There is also a five-minute warm up and a five-minute cool down to make for a 25 minute total workout.

Over the course of the eight weeks, the running times will increase, preparing me for, you guess it, a 5K.

As a way to hold myself accountable, I intend to blog my progress with the #C25K program right here on Run, Nikki, Run, and detail my quest to eat healthy among other things.

I’ll also be documenting my journey on Instagram, where you can find me as @nikkimmascali, if you’re so inclined.

I shared a photo of my disgustingly sweaty shirt from day one today and am astounded by the support and encouragement I’ve already received from friends and strangers alike.

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I can’t wait to see what sort of self transformation unfolds over the next eight weeks — and beyond — and hope you come along for the journey.