Sunday, July 22, 2012

Injury Time-Out

Down but not out. I went to the doctor yesterday (Saturday) to have an X-ray done on the outside of my left foot. I have been having a pain just past the pointy bone (at least that's what I call it). It has been bothering me for over a month without much change in the pain level. The X-Ray came back negative. At least they couldn't see anything that was obviously wrong with it. They did send the films out to a radiologist for a double-check.

The diagnosis is a deep tissue bruise. The doctor told me to rest it and for two days and apply ice. She also said that if I didn't hear from her by Sunday night, I could resume exercise on Monday. Well it's Sunday night, and no news is good news. I will be out bright and early tomorrow for my easy run, a 30 to 45 minute run at slow pace.

My foot is still bothering me but the pain is not terrible. It's more uncomfortable than anything. It is just taking forever to heal. I think part of the reason it has been slow healing is because I have not been good at icing it. I know the importance of icing an injury when the treatment calls for it. See, I had arthroscopic surgery on my left knee a few years ago. Part of the treatment was icing the knee after Physical Therapy. I cannot tell you how wonderful my knee would feel after applying ice.

Naturally, when I began running, I would apply ice after each run. Guess what? I had little trouble with my knee post-run, and I haven't had to ice it for a very long time. So, knowing what I know, I should have been applying ice to my foot this whole time. Perhaps, I'd already be back to 100%, or at least on to the next injury. For you seasoned runners, you know what I mean. For you beginning runners, you will soon know what I mean.

In any event, I am going to continue running and cross-training; but I will be sure to apply ice regularly while elevating my foot until it gets better. Doctor's orders. So long for now, it's actual time for my next ice treatment. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Addiction Sets In

My friend Mel asked me how I became so addicted to running. Her follow-up question was how can she become addicted to running. I can answer the first question no problem, and I can offer some advice on the second question.

My addiction did not take hold the first time I ran. The first month or so that I really started training was terrible. I would say I hated it about 40% (or more) of the time. Running wasn't as easy at 35 as it was when I was as a teenager. I was running 7 minute miles in Jr. High and now I could barely run 7 minutes. That realization really got into my head. It made running  mentally and physically challenging for me. I struggled so much during those first weeks.

Then one day it happened. I became a runner. I wish that I could tell you that I had some epiphany; that the Running Gods smiled down upon me, their latest follower, and opened up the heavens while hosts of Heavenly Angels sang the Hallelujah Chorus. It was a little more subtle than that. My runs started to suck less. I could run up the hills I previously had to walk up. More and more, I looked forward to my runs. 

The rest is, as they say, is history. I got better and better with each run, and I continue to get better each time I go out. The best part - I still have a long way to go. Each run is a challenge in its own right.

To answer Mel's second question as to how she can become addicted, well, I can provide some pointers. 
  1. Get out there and run.
  2. Pace yourself. So much of my trouble during my first runs resulted from me running too fast too soon. 
  3. Sign-up for a 5k. This will give more reason to get out there and run. This is especially helpful when you first start out running.
  4. Join a Couch-to-5k program. You will be running with other beginners and that could make all of the difference.
  5. Find a running club in your area. The running club I belong to is a tremendous support team. 
I cannot guarantee that you will become addicted to running after following these tips. Hey, it's worth a try. 

Before starting this or any other exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor. I did.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm Back!

Today was the first time that I have run since completing the Peace, Love, Run 13.1 Half Marathon on June 24th. I always take at least 3 days off after running a Half Marathon. This time, however,  I ended up taking off 15 days. Why so many days? That wasn't my initial plan; but, in the end, I was glad I did it.

The Monday after Peace, Love, Run 13.1 I was stricken with a stomach virus. I was in the bathroom 30 minutes after eating (Sorry if that was TMI). That joyousness lasted until Thursday night. To rest my body from that wonderful experience, I decided to take off the rest of the week. I have found that in the long run my body responds better if I take a couple of additional days off after symptoms from an illness have dissipated.

Then last week, we took a family vacation to visit my Dad in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. I had every intention of packing up my running gear so that I run while I was down there. As I was packing, I decided to leave the gear at home. There's very few things that I love more than running. Spending time with my wife, children, and Dad happens to be one of them. So, I left the gear at home. That time with my family was time well spent. It truly was one of the best weeks of my life. I know! It is hard to believe I could have had such a great week without running being involved. I'm still boggled by that one.

Alas, that great week with my family at the beach had to end, and we headed home Saturday afternoon arriving home at 1:30 am on Sunday morning. With Sunday and Monday being non-running days for me, today was the first opportunity that I had to run, and it was all that I could think about all day. The run did not disappoint. Running up and down the hills in my neighborhood was like getting reacquainted with an old friend. Best of all, the temps were in the low 90s. It was totally awesome.

I have no intention of taking another two week hiatus for quite some time. However, I will be taking advantage of any rest days that I have between now and my next big race - the Hershey Half Marathon on October 21. That race is another reason why I think tonight's run felt so good. It was the official kick-off run for my fall race training. I am really upping my game this time by increasing the number of days per week I will be running and I am adding cross-training in the form of P90X. Here's to being back in my running shoes and embracing an intense training regimen.