August 22, 2011

The 20 Minute Rule and Subwayless Sundays

Wednesday night, on my way out to dinner with the top executives at my client, I started to feel a slight tickle in the back of my throat. Luckily, for me, the dinner didn’t go long and I was back at my hotel by 9pm. I wanted to work out, since my soreness was finally easing up and I thought I could at least get in some light cardio – but I decided to skip it in favor of sleeping, just in case the tickle in my throat was evidence that I was about to get sick. But it couldn’t be, right? I had just been sick a month ago.

On Thursday, I slept just about as late as possible, but got in a quick 20 minutes on the treamdill. I planned to just walk, figuring that some exercise was better than none… but ended up kicking it up to a jog and then a run, interval-style. Sometimes the hardest part of working out is just getting your workout clothes and sneakers on and heading down to the gym. If you can promise yourself that you’re going to do 20 minutes of “something” (but not specify whether that something is walking or running), you might surprise yourself with how much you’re willing to do once the time is committed. If you just walk, hey, that’s 100 calories you wouldn’t have otherwise burned. But if you can even jog at a 10 minute clip, you get to burn an extra 100 calories in the same time. Bonus! I’m going to try to start implementing the “20 minutes of something” rule in the morning and at night from now on.

Unfortunately, things went a bit downhill from there. By the time I flew home that evening, it was apparent to me that I was coming down with something. I tried to further stave it off with healthy meals (pumpkin chili!), medicine, and sleep, but I woke up on Friday with an awfully tight throat – still a portent of worse to come. Realizing that it would be a terrible idea for me to go out drinking with friends that night but also knowing how much I wanted to go out (I had a birthday party I was supposed to attend), I solved the problem by inviting my mom to come visit for the weekend. It had been a while since she’d come to New York, and while I had just been home a few weeks ago, I had been so busy with many things that we hadn’t spent much time just hanging out.

Friday night, I was pretty tired and started to develop a fever, but we still enjoyed catching up on the last few episodes of Master Chef and enjoying a kind-of-sort-of ratatouille (kale, tomatoes, onions, and chicken sausage) before going to bed super early. It was a great night’s rest for both Mom and I, but I woke up on Saturday morning feeling even worse than before. Darn it, the sickness had set in! Now instead of a fever and a sore throat, I had raging congestion that required a box of tissues at the ready. Trying to make the best of it, I headed out on a jaunt for Trader Joe’s with my mom – but even that short 1/2 mile walk there and back was enough to exhaust me and send me to bed for most the afternoon. I spent the rest of the day/night reading, watching TV, and doing a little bit of cooking (tortilla pizzas) when my strength started to come back in the afternoon.

But by Sunday morning, I was feeling miles better. I still had some of the congestion, but a hot shower helped fix that so it was barely noticeable, and my energy was back up to normal. I felt so great that after my mom left late morning, I even made it out for a brunch date! The date turned out to be a bit of a bust (perfect nice guy; no chemistry or attraction), but I enjoyed a 3.5 mile walk home along the beautiful Hudson River, getting back just before the rain started to pour down. In my still-not-completely-better condition, the walk wore me out – but hey, that means good exercise without having to push it too hard, right? 🙂 Gotta look on the bright side.

And the walk gave me an idea. Sundays tend to be my “stick around the Upper West Side, go to brunch, and do lots of errands” days. I don’t usually take the subway much on those days, though sometimes I have other things going on. But I realized that while I could have taken the subway back from brunch, it was really only about 10 minutes longer to walk – which gave me some nice exercise as well. I’m now thinking about something along the lines of “Subwayless Sundays,” where I make it a point to walk (or maybe bike!) everywhere instead of lazily swiping my MetroCard. I’m lucky to live in a city like New York, which is extremely walker-friendly… perhaps it’s time that I really started taking advantage of that.

At least until the cold weather comes and I start to play the age-old single girls’ game of “wear as little as possible to the bar despite the fact that it’s freezing out and don’t bother with a coat because it’s just going to get lost/stolen/have drinks spilled on it.” 🙂


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