Today was a good treadmill day!
I've been working out on my treadmill since just after Thanksgiving. So if my math is correct, I've been going at this for eight weeks now. It dawned on me this morning, while I was enjoying "MY" time on the treadmill, that I really needed to document my adventure. I figured that it would be pretty signifcant to be able to read back over my challenges and success in training after I complete my 5K race in September of this year!
I don't think that I can pinpoint where my love of running emerged into my life. It definitely wasn't elementary school. In fact, I can remember getting in trouble in class and the teacher made me and a couple of other students run the perimeter of the school yard during our recess. That was probably my first long distance run, and before I got even halfway around the school yard I was having a hard time breathing. I'm not asthmatic, but I sounded like I was having an asthma attack. I was pretty scared and went to tell the teacher, who didn't seem very impressed. Long story short, my Mom took me to the doctor after school, and after a set of x-rays, it was confirmed that I had pneumonia. It was horrible and I missed the last week of school with all of the parties and everything else fun!
My next memory related to running was when I was in Jr. High and we had a big school track competition. I ran one of the longest distance runs and liked it. I think I may have even won a ribbon! I think there was a popsicle or two mingled somewhere in that memory!
More hairspray is always better...
We moved to Rancho Cucamonga just before my freshman year in high school. It was later that year that I attempted to join the track team. I didn't think I was going to be a good runner, and I really wasn't - in fact, I may hold a record for the slowest 2 mile time.... The challenge of the distance run attracted me. I loved running the long distance runs during practice and I absolutely hated racing! I was always so full of anxiety in the race that I usually spent all of my energy before I had even run half of the first lap of my race! I made it through 3/4 of the track season before my hip became inflamed. When I couldn't bear the pain anymore, Mom took me to the doctor and the doctor informed me that I would have to stop running for six weeks and he prescribed a big bottle of Motrin - a brand new prescription drug that not only relieved pain, but would also work on healing inflamation!
I didn't run track again in high school, but I did enjoy going on runs in my free time. I also took advantage of freetime in college to go for a run. It would have been great if I could have run more, but my schedule at BYU was pretty tight! I usually had a full load of classes and then averaged around 30 hours a week at work. I was pretty out of shape, but I still thoroughly enjoyed a good run.
After I graduated from BYU, I relocated back home with Mom and Dad and my siblings. This was a new home for me. My family had moved to Redding, CA while I was going to school and so I was curious to find out what it had to offer. It wasn't long after arriving home, that I started running regularly. I ran 5 miles a day and was no stranger to the runner's high! My run was during my lunch break. Usually after work, I would enjoy mountain biking the amazing trails in the Whiskeytown area, or playing raquetball or tennis at the local college with friends.
After meeting and marrying Tim, we soon were expecting our first baby. Pregnancy was always a miserable experience for me. I was always so sick that I avoided most forms of motion and as a result, I had a lot of muscle weakness to overcome after my pregnancies. I've had periods where I've been more active than others, but during the childbearing season of my life, I've always craved a good run!
Living in Missouri has been a big change in many ways and there are always some cons that go with great pros! One con is that it is really hard to run here! Our roads are so narrow, windy, and hilly, and there are no shoulders so I've never felt good about running on the road. I have to have music and I don't think that it is a wise thing to have earplugs while running on our rural route with so many blind spots. I can run through the orchard, but the grass is usually damp and it takes forever to dry out shoes, and what if a mountain lion decided he wanted a good chase before his lunch... OK - I know that is a little stretch, but someone did shoot a mountain lion about 20 miles north of us, and if 'Big Daddy Lion's' grandkids are stalking around the ditches on the property... at least I'd be gone with one swipe of those monster paws! One more reason for not running, I've never felt OK leaving the kids by themselves while I headed out for a run.
And now you've been brought up to a point of time, just a few months ago, when I finally decided it was time to stop wishing and time to start doing something about putting some running back into my life. My oldest monkey is now mature enough to be able to manage the rest of my monkeys while I take a little time for myself and hit the treadmill.
Starting up and getting going has been pretty challenging! Even though I spent late summer and fall throwing around 40 pound boxes full of apples (OK - I really didn't 'throw' boxes of apples -I would have wound up with lots of applesauce - but it just sounded really tough to say it that way), It was a tremendous effort to be able to run 2 miles. I was really excited to hit the 2 mile mark, but I was still pretty frustrated that my 'auto-pilot' hadn't kicked in like it always did when I used to run. I suppose that there is a scientific name for what I am describing! What I call 'auto-pilot' is when you start running and after a few minutes you kind of hit a point where your muscles aren't complaining and your breathing is steady and you can sustain your run for a long period of time. My other frustration was that I was still moving at a turtle's pace. Over the many years, when I've started up running, it never took much to hit that point where 'auto-pilot' started working for me. I have been filled with a lot of doubt lately, and have been wondering if I've lost it - forever! (I know - soooo dramatic!)
Another challenge has been my knees. At the beggining of this month, my sore knees turned extremely tender. It was no big deal before, I just thought the soreness had more to do with being a cranky, creaky old lady and it would eventually pass. When it didn't pass, and became unbearable, I did a little research online. I figured out that my knee pain was likely due to weakness in the ligaments (just under the knee caps) and that the remedy would be to stop running, and to begin doing knee strengthening exercises. I was devastated that I had to stop. It had been so challenging to drag my 37 1/2 year old gluteous max for 2 miles on the treadmill and the thought of losing the ground that I had gained over the last several weeks was down-right angering! The cherry on top, was learning that one of the best knee strengthening exercises to do would be squats. AW! I hate squats - I feel so cranky when I do those!
Its been two weeks now since I stopped running. I've been walking on my treadmill, and I've been doing squats. Lots and lots of squats. I really want to run that race, and I suppose I'm willing to pay a pretty good price for it too!
I'm actually chomping at the bit to get outdoors and run. Will pleasant weather ever show up? I'm strangely not so concerned about mammoth mountain lions challenging me to a race and I'm also thinking that if I waited until just a little bit later in the summer morning, maybe the grass would be a lot dryer and it wouldn't take much to have my shoes dried before my next morning's run. Its really amazing how quickly some of those old excuses evaporate into thin air when you put your mind to accomplishing something.
Today I got on my treadmill and after warming up for a few minutes I bumped the pace up to my jog. I hardly felt any pain. There was a twinge here and there, but I think I've turned a corner! I ran a 1/2 mile and walked 2 1/2 after that. It felt great!! Today, instead of entertaining those feelings of self doubt, I'm celebrating!
At this point, I really don't want to aggravate anything in my healing - so, as anxious as I am to start running my mileage and sprinting intervals in order to reclaim my 'auto-pilot' accessory, I'm going to exercise a little wisdom and take it a little slower! And I'm going to keep doing those awful squats! At least, with a turtle's pace, slow and steady wins the race, right?