Running

I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. – Forrest Gump

Last year I got involved in running.  It started with a group of us signing up for Colour Me Rad.  The concept of having colour bombs thrown at me while running elevated it higher than a normal run.  We signed up in February, and I said if I was going to be able to actually run for this, I would need to start training immediately.  Despite the cold weather, we started group running almost right away.  Last winter wasn’t as dreadful as this winter was, and the sidewalks and paths in Airdrie were maintained much better.   I wasn’t following any particular plan, but started slow.  Walk a minute and a half, and run a minute.  We figured out our loop and went for it.  Sometimes we went for the small one (just over 1K), and other times we went for the larger one (over 3K).  I enjoyed it.  I had always had running dreams, so I figured my body wanted to run.

All of a sudden I was signing up for runs all over the place: one a month.  I had done the Tour de Airdrie (that’s the proper name…I still maintain it should be Tour D’Airdrie), The Mayor’s Run, Relay for Life (which was more of a walk than a run), NStep run – to provide school supplies for kids, Colour me Rad, which had been postponed due to the flooding, Allies for Autism run, and finally the Superhero Run, which due to poor path marking resulted in my turning back too soon and running the fastest “5K” I had done.  I had signed up for the night run, but due to a very painful muscle strain, and a winter storm, was unable to run that one.  The muscle strain stopped me from running the Resolution Run as well.  I thought my days of running were over.  The massage therapist I saw said my knee transit was out of whack (layman’s terms) and it was very possible I would have pain in all my runs.

Last year, I had a ridiculous amount of injuries as well.  I hate talking about it, because it seems like I’m copping out.  When I first started running, I was using my very old New Balance walking shoes.  They were very comfortable, but probably not the best for the activity I was now using them for.  I started to get hip pain.  It soon became so bad, it would wake me up in my sleep, and I could barely walk.  During that time, I switched over to Merrill barefoot runners.  (Not the ones with the individual toes).  I also saw a physical therapist.  My IT band was extremely tight, so I needed to make sure to stretch a LOT better than I was after a run.  Gradually the shoes helped, and I believed having the barefoot runners was better aligning my stride, etc.  In early June, just as I was one the home stretch after a run, I got a muscle cramp.  It wasn’t one of those charlie horses you get when you sleep.  This was a cramp that rippled up and down my entire calf.  I hobbled the rest of the way home, and I was out for almost 3 weeks.  Around Canada Day, I began feeling a lump in my throat.  It might have been there before then, but I probably had ignored it, as I tend to do sometimes.  Eventually, it became visibly noticeable, and affecting my breathing – it felt like it was pressing on my larynx.  I had had something like this a few years ago, but it had “gone away”.  Now it was resurfacing with a vengeance.  I got the cyst taken care of, but I had lost a lot of momentum.  At the end of summer, my foot began bothering me.  Those barefoot runners may have been good for stride, but I needed a lot more shock absorbency than they offered.   Finally, just when I thought everything was going away, and I could start again, I got a muscle strain that caused so much pain, I could barely get in and out of my car.  That problem again eventually took care of itself, but since I didn’t know what caused it, I’m not sure if it could happen again.  The same is true with my calf cramps.  At just about every workout I do, they begin to form, and only by immediate action and stretching do I manage to keep them at bay.  I figured my running days were over.

But this year I signed up for Colour me Rad again.  It is just so fun.  And last year, I didn’t do much running during the course.  I hadn’t trained for dang hills!  I’ve been seeing so much momentum, and doing so many more things that I never thought I could do so I figured why not try running again.  I have told myself (and my running crew) that I won’t do as many as I had done last year, but it’s hard to stay away.

Saying that, I decided I have to be more consistent.  Last year, I never really got over the 1.5(walk):1(run).  Several times I tried the 1(walk):1.5(run), but I could never sustain it.  This year is going to be different.  Friday, I started using the Couch-to-5K app.  The first week (with 3 workouts/week) is the interval I am familiar with.  My goal, as I do each interval 3 times, is to gradually build up my pace.  For example, when I started Friday, I did about 2.8K.  Sunday, for my second workout, I pushed myself to go at least 3K.  Today, for my third, my goal is to be over 3.

It’s hard to look at the end result of the plan, and see that I would be running for about 30 minutes.  I can’t fathom that now.  So I have to remind myself to just see the glen in the trees that’s just ahead.  No more, definitely no less.  I also have to be careful, because I am starting to have hip pain (darn that IT band!) and cramps are always at the surface, but I know how to help with hip pain, and as my muscles form and change, hopefully the cramps will settle themselves down.

It looks like my first race is May 31, with the Boys and Girls Club (Airdrie) Race for Kids.  Last year, my best time was just over 47 minutes.  My goal is to be faster than that.  I don’t have a specific number; just faster than 47 minutes would be enough for me.  And then I’ll move on from there.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to other runners, but what I like about going to these runs, is that every runner I’ve come across are just so happy to see other runners, regardless of skill level that they shout out encouragement.  It’s a great feeling to know that whether you’re the slowest or the fastest, you all come across that same finish line.

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