Runners come in all shapes and sizes. The reasons we run are as diverse as our body types.
Respect is often part of the equation. Sometimes, it’s self-respect, a by-product of confidence. Other times, it’s to prove something to someone else. To prove we can lose weight. To prove we can endure. To prove we can stick with something – anything. To prove (?) that age hasn’t caught up with us yet. Continue reading “The Genius of “Run Fatboy Run””→
After eight months of no running (in an attempt to soothe my angry Achilles), I started running again a few weeks ago.
It’s been a slow progression. I’ve only added about a half mile in distance to my longest run each week, starting at a half mile back in November.
Due to travel and the holidays, I didn’t do much for the last two weeks of December, but have picked it up since then.
At first, I was only running three times every two weeks, then twice a week. This week marks the first time I’ve run three times in a week since the re-start. I’m cautiously optimistic.
I’ve deliberately kept the pace a little slower than what I’d like – typically between 9:00 and 9:15 per mile, and it’s been great.
I took my daughter on my third run of the week yesterday. We ran outside (😱) on a January day in northern Virginia and didn’t freeze to death!
I took her on this run deliberately. Although a track runner, she doesn’t typically run longer than 2-3 miles, so that helped force me to keep the pace sane. We went 3.9 miles at around a 10:00 pace, which was fine with me, given that it was on rolling hills.
Of course, having Jana running with me gave an added bonus – we got to run together, which rarely happens! And…the biggest milestone so far was achieved – more than 10 miles in a week!
I know that isn’t that much, but it still means a lot to me. Sure, there were weeks where I was averaging more than 10 miles PER RUN, with five workouts per week. But that was years ago, before I was hurt, and when I was in the best shape of my life.
Even so, this is important to me because I’m starting to feel like a runner again. That means the world to me!
I’m not sure why I’ve waited so long to simply get over the odd looks and occasional comments I get when doing Achilles stretches in my building’s stairwell.
They are almost always harmless – stuff like “You OK, man?” or “What’re you doing?” Other times, it’s a confused look or the occasional “hmmph” as someone has to slide to the other side of the stair to get around me. Continue reading “The shame of stairwell stretching”→
So I’ve simply decided to ignore Achilles pain and drive on with a conservative training regimen.
OK – maybe ignore isn’t the best way to describe it…. In the past, I’ve been advised to stay off the treadmill or trails for a couple weeks after a flareup. It led to a cycle that played out something like this:
Achilles flareup -> one week no stretching at all -> two more weeks no running w/light stretching -> start running very short distances -> add a mile each week -> another flareup after a few weeks
After several of years of this, I’ve decided that a more aggressive stretching plan is needed. The heel drops and toe raises do not stop just because of a flareup, and neither does running, and a wider program is needed.
At the moment, if I run on a Monday, I’ll be somewhat hobbled on Tuesday, a bit better on Wednesday, and ready to do a split elliptical/treadmill run on Thursday. So that’s the plan. Run, stretch/recover from soreness for two days, re-engage.
I’ve noticed that even while I’m slowly increasing the mileage, my Tuesday soreness has lessened over the past two weeks. I’m attributing this to the fact that I’m not passing on stretching and strengthening, regardless of the level of soreness. Tuesday morning sees me limping a bit, but by Tuesday evening, after at least three stretching sessions during the day, I’m walking normally, albeit with some discomfort.
Starting this week, I’m adding more stretches and strengthening exercises aimed at the Achilles/calf/hamstring/glute chain. While I think the real problem might be having a slightly reduced range of motion in my left ankle (many, many sprains in my youth), it can’t hurt to increase my flexibility.
After three weeks of NOT giving this thing a break, I’m starting to see results, which always makes me worry, as I wait for the other shoe to fall. I’ve increased mileage to five miles, and my level of soreness is slowly dropping.
So today marked my first track meet in nearly 30 years. The last time I competed as a varsity athlete ended in 1988 with me doubled up over a garbage can, distraught at missing my state qualifying time in the 800m by less than a second, only learning later that I had set my school’s record in the process.
I was a little apprehensive as I entered the athletic complex. Funny – I still feel like I can compete, but I know I’m not nearly in the shape I was all those years ago. Sure, I still run, but all the ten-milers, half marathons and marathons in the world can’t train you for this.
…with all due respect to Long Limbs Lenore (of Forrest Gump fame), I don’t believe in New Year’s Eve, as far as it being a chance at renewal. We have that chance each and every day, and all we have to do is step across the line and get moving.
Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? They’re really kind of silly, when you get down to it.
We look back on a year coming to its close, focus on those things we didn’t do, or didn’t do well enough, and resolve to fix them. We focus on the negative, with the intent of fixing it, and because a new year is dawning, we rally around the symbol of renewal to start over. We focus on things we’ve neglected, and out of guilt, shame, or whatever reason we choose, WE RESOLVE to do whatever it is that we should have been doing all along. Continue reading “A pre-New Year’s rededication”→