Against the Wind: Part 2

Well, there have been a few developments since the last time I wrote about my new “favorite” hobby, running. When we last met, I was trying to get into running and I enrolled in a beginners’ running study at the U of C for motivation. The first thing is that I went through my baseline testing for the study. The session took about two and a half hours, and involved me standing on one foot while wearing sensor balls in front of bright lamps like some sort of CGI yoga star. (That’s not actually a thing, don’t Google it). I had to run about 10 feet, landing my foot in the same spot on the ground in the middle 20 times, which is actually more difficult than it sounds. I have a hard time controlling my speed, limbs, etc. She took measurements of my strength with a machine and then assigned me to a group. The Stretching Group. Sigh. I hate these stretches. Well, just the dynamic stretches. And hate is a strong word. But I hate them. I’m supposed to do them 5 times a week and run at least twice a week for 8 weeks. Which leads me to another development: I fell off the running wagon and signed up for a 5k in May (Because logic).

I’m not going to go into the myriad excuses (sick baby, teething baby, vacation) I have for not really holding up my end of the bargain on the running and stretches—there really isn’t anything justified in it, I could have done it, didn’t anyway. I tried to get back on the wagon and I overdid it. And my thighs and feet were not impressed. Google searches for “best running shoes for bunions” and “how to avoid blisters when running” aside, I was feeling pretty good. As long as I didn’t have to run uphill, I was making good progress. I mean, for me it was good progress.  I ran an entire mile straight, and that was the longest I think I’ve ever run without stopping to walk. I don’t know why running for twenty minutes is so difficult when I can do an hour-long spin class (albeit, emerging from the class a sweaty, red-faced mess) without stopping, but it is. All cardio is not the same. And that is what I will keep telling myself until I am in passable running shape.

Unfortunately, my right ankle is not happy with my progress. Apparently all that advice to take it slowly was not just bluster. And just like that, I’m benched. It became sore after overdoing it, and I searched Dr. Google for what to do. All of the advice seemed pretty reasonable: take it easy, elevate the foot, ice, NSAIDs. So, of course, I didn’t do it. I stopped running and figured that would be enough to fix the problem because I guess I believe in magic. Not so surprisingly, it did not improve on its own because I’m not Wolverine. It actually wasn’t until I had to ice my cat’s hip post-surgery (yes, cat hip surgery: a surefire way to turn your low maintenance pet into a full time job. But he’s doing well so I’m not complaining) that I started to ice my ankle afterwards. And guess what—it helped. A lot. So I revisited all that unheeded advice and started heeding. Big improvement! It is still a little swollen, so I’m not back running yet, but I’m actually looking forward to getting back out there. I’m not one of those runners with a utility belt full of coconut waters or anything, but I am getting into it.

Running articles on the Internet recommend possibly getting new shoes and a friend of mine recommended joining a running group so someone can tell me what I am doing wrong. The trouble with joining a running group is that the whole reason I wanted to get into running is because it’s something I can do on my own, at any time. Kind of defeats the purpose, but I clearly need some kind of help. I have ignored a lot of advice so far and I think I’ve paid the price, so I should probably learn from my mistakes. I’m not saying that I will learn from them, but I should. Probably. So that’s the next chapter after my ankle heals: a shoe fitting and a running, and hopefully I’ll be back on track to run this 5k! And if you never hear from me again, it’s probably because I ran away figuratively because I can’t run literally.

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