Whenever I start working out after any time off, whether it’s a week or 5 years, the third day of the program is the one I dread most. It’s the worst day, hands down.
Day 1 is rough. Part of you wants to do it, part of you wants it to start tomorrow, which is why Day 1 can sometimes take weeks or years to actually end. Ahh, you seductive minx, Tomorrow, how you promise everything will be much better then, how easy it’ll all be. Once you get past that, though, it generally isn’t too bad. Sure, you might struggle through the workout, things that you did so easily before might leave you panting and grunting, but when it’s over, it’s over. You feel good.
Day 2 is a little harder. Those muscles that you hadn’t been using? Yeah, they’re all sore now. You’re a little stiff, but not too badly, not yet. Instead, it’s that feeling of good, I-accomplished-something-yesterday soreness, the best kind. A few minutes into the routine, your muscles are all warm again, the soreness and ache is gone, and your back on track. Again, you get out of breath quicker, your muscles hit fatigue faster, but still, the pain is generally better.
Day 3. Oh, dear god, Day 3. It really starts as you go to bed on Day 2, the little squeal of aching muscles juuuuust before your butt hits the chair, or when you stand up. It’s a little taste of things to come, but it’s more of a tease. It hints, but it doesn’t reveal all of itself: it’s waiting for the right moment. It’s like Medusa doing a strip-tease in a veil: You know it’s going to be bad, but until you are actually turning into stone, your mind cannot comprehend what is going to happen to you.
I felt like I was halfway to petrification when I woke up this morning. Alarm going off (it’s the sound of waves breaking on the shore – I think if I ever get woken up by one of those BRANG BRANG BRANG alarm clocks again I’ll shred that plastic cacophony apart with my bare hands) and I try to get up. Ooof. My hamstrings and glutes feel locked, steel cables jammed in their pulleys and no way to get WD-40 to them. Back is stiff, arms sore. I hate you, Day 3. I even briefly think of going back to bed, but that is the kiss of death. It’s like drinking your hangover away – you are going to pay the price eventually, and if you don’t get it over with, the price gets higher and higher.
Lady Aravan is up anyway, so I know I’m locked in. I groan like an old man as I sit, and that’s exactly how I feel. Get dressed sitting down, only raising my butt an inch to get my shorts on before flopping back down. Our youngest dog Lili presses against my leg, tail thumping excitedly, since me being awake equals her getting fed. Stand up. Oh, ouch. I head downstairs.
Mix together our protein shakes (today its vanilla whey protein mixed with orange-flavored sugar-free Metamucil. It’s like an Orange Julius, but packed with fiber. I am not sure what it says about me that this has become a treat) and get the water. All three dogs get excited by the ice dispenser, and we dole out an ice cube to each of them as a treat, which makes them happy. I am not. I am grunting inarticulate answers to my Lady’s questions and comments. Feed the girls, fill up the water bowl, and there is nothing else I can do to postpone it.
I am wrapped in my own cloud of misery, but Lady Aravan has a headache. Ouch. I couldn’t work out with a headache, I don’t think. I get bad ones, but they are thankfully rare. When I get them there is little I can do except lay down until they go away. She isn’t backing down though. More power to her – I don’t think I could have in her place. She’s an ass-kicker though.
We decided on Jillian’s Banish Whatever and Something Else cardio video, since we snoozed once this morning, meaning that the 68+ minutes of Bob’s strength video is a no-go, and neither of us can face the prospect of Bob’s cardio and its swings today. Lady Aravan’s lower back – her “swing muscles” as she refers to them – is sore, and I can’t imagine trying to squat that many times today.
Part of the warm-up involves bending down to touch your hand to your opposite toe. Ha. We both get to – maybe – our knee the first few times. I loosen up a little, finally and painfully, but Lady Aravan is still too stiff for it. The workout for her is rough, as the heart starts beating hard and it redoubles itself as a throb in her head. She takes more breaks than normal, but still not many, and pushes through it all with Amazing (50) Endurance. Any bitching I might do about being sore is swallowed by the prospect of what she’s going through, so I shut up and just power through.
Finally, it’s done. The cooldown and stretch shows just how much flexibility I’ve lost in a short time, but I still feel good. Day 3 is over. The Worst Day is behind us. Smooth – well, smoother – sailing lies ahead.
My glutes are still really sore, though.