Running Adventures: Prelogue
👆 (What am I holding? If you don't know... stay tuned...) 👆
It's not much. But it's what I could do this morning (safely... I hope). And that's okay, I guess. Even if it's a little disappointing when I consider how well I was doing just a couple weeks ago.
I was up to 3 miles a day, every day, and had already made serious progress cutting down my time. But due to an unfortunate (somewhat painful) circumstance, my new running project had to go "on ice" for 2.5 weeks or so.
If you're thinking something like:
"Running?? Why are you doing that??? Are you a masochist?!"
...you definitely wouldn't be the first one with that reaction. Just about everyone we've told returns a brow-furl and a squeamish look of fear and anxiety.
They look as though the very word "running" is going to chase them down and force them into a fat-jiggling, heart-attack-inducing activity that would culminate in a 9-1-1 call and one of those out of body experiences you see in the movies.
They can see themselves soaring over their own body as the ambulance pulls up and the first responders fling out a gurney. They watch their body as the paramedics pull out the paddles.
"Clear!" The workers say, before shocking the person below and causing them to convulse like a ragdoll.
But I'm not running because I'm a masochist or because I have some desire to take an ambulance ride. My reasoning for throwing my body into a 23+ minute-panic every morning doesn't include a twisted desire to self-destruct.
Rather, I have some other goals in mind...
I want to be in amazing freakin' shape (who doesn't... right?). I want to breathe amazing. I want to feel amazing. And I'd love to have shredded abs to impress my wife with.
...heck... to impress mySELF with.
I also have a strong belief that a healthier body leads to higher energy levels, more mental and emotional stability, stronger labido, and greater productivity and focus.
All of which I could use in my life since I sit at the computer during most of my day trying to focus and tackle problems that seem to grow more problems like the mythical hydra.
To be honest... there really wasn't much of a plan...
It all started with buying a pair of shoes:
My wife and I had been talking about running for a while. We both needed to get more exercise, and I ran cross-country back in high school and remembered how good it felt (when I was 16).
Then again, I'm pretty sure everything felt good when I was 16. But I firmly believe that we can maintain our youth if we maintain our activity levels (as long as we don't face other health crises).
So... here was my logic...
The difference between someone who is in great shape and someone who isn't is usually this:
- One chose to do something about their health.
- And the other one thinks about it but never takes the first step.
My wife and I were both sick of being #2. So the first step was to buy me a pair of running shoes because my wife already had a pair - and I only had some "un-runnables."
And here's another pic of my shoe, if you're bored of words:
Looks like I need to clean that one off a bit (gross)... but they're a nice pair of shoes and my first pair of $70 Under Armor shoes.
A little pricey but totally worth it.
After purchasing the shoes, the next step was to start running. And we started the very next day. It was kind of like jumping into cold water to go swimming.
You just do it so you can start having fun - experience life and stuff.
And to be honest, there are few things I hate more than jumping into cold water, so comparing it to stepping out the door running made that action seem much less unappealing.
I had also plotted the course using the "measure distance" feature of Google maps. My goal was to run approximately 1.4 miles - which was the distance between our trailer park, Plainview RV park, and back.
Once the door was open and my feet started moving, I felt great. Nothing could stop me. I was doing it! But of course, I overestimated my stamina.
Soon, I was huffing and puffing. My lungs were on FIRE. And I was sure my lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen. I pressed on as far as I could go, but I couldn't make it all the way back to our place.
I made it just over a mile and felt like I was dying.
The next day, I went out again at 7:30 AM. I was ready to take down that 1.4. I made it the whole way and even ran a little further making almost 2 miles. And the progress continued for the next few days.
My wife made similar breakthroughs. She started her first day at just 0.7 of a mile jogging, walking most of the way back - and over the next few days was running over a mile.
In our vigor, we also bought a couple more items (which we just got from Amazon) to make our running even better.
Remember the thing in the image at the top? Here it is...
Exhibit A: Tribe Arm Phone Holder Thing-ey
These nifty little arm bands are to hold our phones to our arm while running so we can listen to music - or maybe track time one day if we decide to get smart watches or something.
And we got these:
Exhibit B: Running Headphones
Our current wireless headphones wouldn't do the trick, seeing as we're pretty sure they'd fall out of our ears while running. So we got a nice pair of running headphones for cheap along with our order.
The little "ear strap" thing makes them not fall out of your ears and they're super comfy with good noise-cancellation for about $35 bucks.
"Ear strap thing-ey"
Before injuring my right knee, I was really starting to feel the difference in energy, emotional stability, focus, and productivity. Running was positively affecting my work at the very least. I simply got more done.
Even outside of work, my ability to "shift gears" in my brain was at an ATH, which is generally a problem for me. I'm one of those people who finishes work for the day and then "contemplates" every possibility for the next 2 hours - robbing themselves of any actual relaxation.
Worse, my habitual mental "cloud hopping" steals that time away from my wife, who deserves more focus and attention from me in the evening hours.
And running, I believe, was helping with all of that too.
Granted, my running expeditions only lasted a single week before I hurt myself. But nonetheless, in just 7 days I'd lost a couple of pounds, experienced all the wonderful benefits I've just described, and nearly tripled my running distance from just over a mile to 3 miles daily...
...and I'd even shaved about 2 minutes off my 3-mile pace. Which may have (as I found out) been a little too much.
As I'm now learning, it may have been what my wife calls "overdoing it."
Definition: "Overdoing it" - Something my wife tells me not to do that I, as the manly man that I am, cannot understand and will never experience - until I actually do, and consequently, am forced to limp around and sit in the house for 2.5 weeks.
I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm running on pavement. But it happens to be the only thing outside to run on where we're living right now, and therefore, it's what I'm running on, like it or not.
A Lesson Learned
It's in my nature to push myself. In some ways, I have a warrior spirit. Never quit. Never back down when it matters. Never compromise with what you know is right. Do everything with excellence. Etc.
But pushing myself beyond reason is just ignorance.
I've definitely felt the difference between the "running version" of myself and the "non-running version" of myself over the last 2.5 weeks since my knee injury.
The mental fog, depleted energy, and low drive I had just climbed out of had rolled back in within just a few days, perpetually worsening and bringing in feelings that bordered on depression this last week.
It sucks when you know what you need (physically) but your body refuses to allow you to do it. So, I learned my lesson.
Maybe taking it easy isn't such a bad thing. I have no desire to continue injuring myself because I simply feel inclined to push myself too hard - even if it's "in my nature".
Ready For Try #2
Today, I was able to go on a run again.
And even though I was NOT going to push myself, I did push myself a little - but not too much. I think I'm alright.
I started feeling a bit of pain in my knee at almost 2 miles - and I actually stopped running instead of going the whole 3. It was hard for me to say, "Okay... that's enough... you can run tomorrow..." but I still stopped.
Even though I felt like every passing car was saying, "Oh... looks like you couldn't make it!" "Why are you even running?" "Clearly that idiot thought he could run..."
I know none of them are thinking those things. But it doesn't stop me from feeling like it. And yet, I resisted the urge to care about my nonsensical fantasy.
I just detached... and looked out for myself.
- One me... Zero the voices in my head.
Anyway, I'm thankful for the injury I sustained because it gives me the opportunity to share my running journey with you all on Hive.
If you're a runner, are thinking of running, getting in better shape, or just wanting to better your health - I'll be posting updates here and there on our health journey from now on.
We're playing around with:
- Dieting and recipes
- Various exercises
Hope you stick around and join my wife @audiefaith and I!
P.S. What kinds of health journies have you been on lately?