Aches and Pains

This week, I started training to run faster to meet my 9:00/mile goal.  I did a little research and decided to run 10% faster than my normal pace for 2 minutes followed by 4 minutes at my regular pace and repeating this 5 times.  Well, seemed to go well Monday, until I got off the treadmill and had shooting pains in my left knee when walking around.  The adrenaline of running must have numbed the pain while I was on the treadmill.  Tried icing it and elevating it, but didn’t do much.

To make matters worse, I also woke up with a stiff neck on Monday that got progressively worse throughout the day.  Rather than get discouraged about it, I had a laugh about it with one of my co-workers who has been a runner for most of her life.  I confessed to her, “look at me, I’m falling apart running.  I’m limping down the hall and can’t move my neck to the right or up or down.”  She immediately started laughing about the situation as I explained that this all happened in a matter of two days.  The stiff neck was from some ab exercises I did on Sunday and the knee was just from one 30 minute run.  As a long time runner, she recommended getting fitted for a pair of sneakers as that may be the cause of my knee pain.  I thought, great, what an easy fix.  Then she proceeded to tell me that an employee at the sneaker store would have to watch me run on a treadmill at the store.  Well, not so easy after all.  So far, I’ve only run on my treadmill at home.  Just me, myself and I.

That day I thought, maybe the knee pain will subside and I’ll be fine with the sneakers I have.  Tuesday came along and I did the same running workout and my knee felt even worse than Monday, although it still did not seem to hurt during the run.  So, I decided I would muster up the courage and go to the store to determine if it’s just a sneaker issue.  I plan to go this Friday.  I’m still not looking forward to running in front of a store full of people, but I guess there is a first time for everything.

As I’m writing this, I know its probably not the smartest idea, but I plan on doing the same running workout tomorrow.  Stay tuned to see if I still have a knee cap post workout. 🙂

Why Run?

I never thought I would take up the hobby of running.

First of all, I think I had a fear of sweat.  I do not like to sweat myself and am not particularly fond of looking at a sweaty person.  But, now that I’ve started running, it doesn’t bother me as much. Now I relate it to endurance and strength as opposed to a disgusting slippery residue with a noxious scent 🙂

The second reason for my dismissal of running before now was my lack of athletic confidence.  I played soccer in elementary and middle school and then switched to cheer-leading in middle school and freshman year of high school.   As far as I can tell, I wasn’t terrible at either sport, but I didn’t feel like I made much of a contribution either.  Sure, I could run up and down the field in soccer and do the toe-touches with a peppy smile in cheer-leading, but I knew there were other teammates who really excelled in both sports.  I think its only natural to compare your skills to others in a team setting, especially as a teenager.  But now, I’m not concerned about how fast or long other people can run.  I’m concerned about improving my own running and achieving the goals I set for myself.

Lastly, was my lack of motivation.  I once told my cousin Nikki “why should I work out when I have a body like this?”  Not my most modest moment, but I thought it was a clever response to her questioning me about exercise.  Although my motivation is not for weight loss, I am driven to run for both the challenge and the health benefits (and abs of steel and buns that won’t quit are a welcome bonus).  I found an 8 week beginner’s guide to running and decided to try it.  By the end of the 8th week, the goal of the program was to be able to run for 30 minutes straight.  Well, I succeeded!  Today was the last day of the program and now my new goal is to improve my speed.  Right now, I am running a mile in 10:45.  My new goal is to get that down to 9:00.

I guess it’s true to never say never.  Despite being a novice, running has already changed other habits in my life.  Before running, I ate relatively healthy, but I did eat more processed foods, like my weekday snack of chocolate teddy grahams.  Now I am trying different cookie recipes for my weekday snack and substituting less healthy ingredients like refined sugar, butter, and all purpose flour with healthier ingredients like coconut sugar, agave, applesauce, flax meal, chia seeds and whole wheat pastry flour.  I can’t wait to see what other habits may change for the better as I continue to set new running goals.