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Saturday Walk/Run Intervals

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The rehab continues. This week I managed to get in 3 days of walk/run intervals without having to modify my schedule or downgrade my time and distance.

Did my walk/run intervals this morning, sticking to 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. It was cloudy and 46 F, chilly for walking but pretty good running weather. Same route as last time, 3.82 miles in 32 minutes even today for an average pace of 8:24 per mile. I had to slap Mr. Testosterone on the side of the head and remind him that I can't get faster every time, sometimes it's okay to go a bit slower.

The bad foot had only a couple of twinges during the run, and didn't complain about being barefoot afterward. There were some signs of fatigue in that foot later this evening, but not terribly serious. I'm on track to nudge it up a small notch next Tuesday. I'm thinking 10 cycles of walk 1, run 2 at that point. If things go well, hold it at that level for three sessions next week.

I'm beginning to believe I might be able to run a 5K all the way by the end of October. But I'm not confident enough of that to actually pay an entry fee for October 28.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 10/2/2012 5:38PM

    Sounds your on the right track!

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PLMITCH 10/1/2012 9:30AM


I upped my intervals yesterday to 4 minutes run / 1 minute fast walk, and turned in a very nice 31:25 time for 3 miles. The only time I varied was in the 2nd mile right after I had run up a hill on the trail I was running on. That was about a 3 minute interval, but was able to run the rest of the way and had a nice kick at the end.

I'm debating on my next 5K race -- there is one close by on Thanksgiving weekend (Rehoboth Beach) or one in Tucson AZ two weeks after that. I'm going to be there seeing my dad that weekend and I'm thinking it would be fun and different (and challenging since Tucson is about 2000 ft higher than the Dover DE area).

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KRISZTA11 9/30/2012 4:43AM

    That's wonderful!
Running 3 days in a week without any signs of worsening is great.
Your pace -which by the way is the envy of all of us ; ) - less important than building endurance of the bad foot.

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Thursday Moving, Intervals, and Mowing

Thursday, September 27, 2012

For a day off, it's been pretty busy.

The major event was moving my daughter from one apartment to another. Got that done pretty easily, thanks to daughter organizing her third move well and recruiting sufficient labor to make it quick and easy.

That resulted in my having time in the afternoon for walk/run intervals. As planned, I held the workout steady: 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30 followed by walking the rest of the way home. Took the same route as Tuesday, covering 3.82 miles in 31:42 for an average pace of 8:18 per mile.

Got home, and the next door neighbor was mowing the lawn. That made it obvious that my lawn needed to be mowed. Started mowing at 5PM, and had enough daylight to get it done but not much to spare. This will be the last mowing of the month. I'd be happy to have this be the last mowing of the season, but that's probably too much to expect.

Betweem moving, walk/run intervals, and mowing, my pedometer is over 14K steps for the day. That's high for me currently, and the bad foot is mentioning that fact periodically. But the foot wasn't complaining before I mowed, so I hope it will be fine after a good night's sleep.

Assuming the foot feels as good on Saturday as it did today, that will be the third day of the same 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. Yes, I want to add more running. But I'm sticking to a full week of holding this steady. If everything still feels good after doing the same workout on Saturday, I'll try doing 10 cycles of walk 1, run 2 next week. That would be 20 minutes running time, as opposed to the 18 minutes I'm doing this week. I *think* that's probably pushing things along slowly enough.

But I shouldn't get ahead of myself. First, deal with tomorrow as a non-running day. Then, evaluate whether I can do intervals on Saturday. If I need to rest an extra day on Saturday, the interval routine will need to stay constant next week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONEKIDSMOM 9/28/2012 6:17AM

    emoticon One day. And a full one. Life's good. All that encouraging stuff. emoticon emoticon

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BBECKER1955 9/28/2012 5:14AM

    Glad to hear the foot is coming along. emoticon

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NWFL59 9/27/2012 10:06PM

    You certainly were busy for an off work day. Hope your foot stops complaining and continues with its healing and your patience last as long as necessary to allow it to completely heal. emoticon

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Fitness Maintenance Musings

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lately my fitness thoughts have been focused on rehabbing the bad foot so I can get back to running. I've blogged several reminders to myself to be patient about this. Today I'm thinking forward to when I can run consistently. What will maintenance of fitness look like?

Most of the easily located material on fitness talks about *improving* your fitness level. Get stronger, become more flexible, run faster, improve your endurance, lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate. For the average American, these are worthy objectives.

But it occurs to me that improving fitness is a bit like losing weight. If I'm successful, there will come a time when I'm as fit as I need to be. At that point, the challenge will be to maintain my fitness level. Aside from the fact that I can't run regularly right now, I'm pretty close to that point.

The classic response to a statement that I want to maintain fitness would be to point out that there's always something that can be worked on. To a certain extent, that's true. But there are limits to what is practical. At some point, the risk of injury outweighs the gain of shaving a few seconds off my running pace or deadlifting or benching 10 more pounds. When I get to that point, I'd like to maintain my strength, flexibility, speed, endurance, blood pressure, and resting heart rate without necessarily becoming stronger, more flexible, etc.

I want that magical exercise regimen that keeps what I have without injuring myself striving for more. Unfortunately, I don't know what that regimen is, or even if it really exists. I suspect that this is something like a maintenance diet; what works for one person probably won't be the same thing that works for another person.

One of my personal challenges for maintaining fitness is the voice of Mr. Testosterone telling me I'm not doing well enough. I caught him at it today. I was feeling like I wasn't doing much, as this is a non-running day. But when I look back at what I have done, I see three sets of 12 neutral grip pullups this morning that went very smoothly. The pushups were easier than a couple weeks ago, too. And I got in my TGUs and snatches while the steel cut oats cooked this morning, which hasn't been a given for me lately.

Maybe this is what fitness maintenance looks like. Do something every day, even if I'm not terribly motivated. Let the amount be steady for a while, and then switch to other exercises (e.g., DB renegade rows trading off with KB TGU/windmill combos) instead of straining for more and more weight. And live with the doubts about whether I'm working hard enough.

I don't know. I can push the hard thinking about maintenance to the back of my mind as long as I'm trying to improve. And right now I'm certainly trying to improve my running by gently rehabbing that bad foot. But eventually, when I can run regularly, I may face this same issue: Where do I stop pushing for more, and what does maintenance look and feel like when I get there?

Some people live with fitness cycles. They train for an event, be it a marathon or a triathlon or a 100 mile bike ride or a weight lifting competition. This produces a cycle of trying to get the fitness to peak for the event. Intellectually, I understand this. Done accurately, fitness reaches an attainable but not sustainable level for the event. Then there is post-event rest and recovery, before training for the next event.

I'm not opposed to participating in events, but I don't think that training for the next big event is going to be an ongoing way of life for me. I might end up putting a half marathon or even full marathon on my bucket list and training up to it, but I can't see myself in an ongoing event training cycle as a way of life.

So I think about what maintenance of fitness will look like if I'm not training for a big event, I can do everything physical I want to do, and I need to keep what I've got without risking injury trying to become higher/stronger/faster. It's a puzzle, and I hope I can stumble my way into a solution when I need one.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCASEY7 12/28/2012 4:49PM

    Lots of food for thought in your blog. I'm relatively new to maintenance and have concerned myself more with the nutrition part. I'm still trying new exercises and sports to see which I enjoy and would like to continue with. It seems like it's an ever changing set of nutrition and fitness goals.

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DESERTFLOWERG 11/16/2012 12:46AM

    emoticon You'll probably have to figure this out more than once as life throws you hurdles and as you change. For myself, I like having the event.

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SUSUSUZZZIE 10/30/2012 6:20PM

    You put in to words my not-so fully-formed thoughts about exercising for events. While training, it helps motivate me and push me but I have had trouble going back to a regular training (and I'm not even training that hard like one would for a marathon or tri).

Very interesting.

Let us know if you find that "magical exercise regimen that keeps what I have without injuring myself striving for more."

Thank you for sharing with us!

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VANANDEL 10/27/2012 10:38AM

  I guess I am a bit of an oddity. I love having "events" that push me to my peak physical state. Without an event, I feel a void, but I have no trouble continuing to work out and doing the things that give me joy. I love cycling - the freedom it offers and the fact that it's less body-impacting than running.

Since I live in Colorado, my cycling is affected by the weather. But then I switch to other sports, like snow-shoeing or hiking. And I continue to cycle throughout the winter, but just less often and shorter distances. I most love being outdoors, but I have a nearby club that offers me plenty of classes and other opportunities to get in weight-training. Look towards your passions to help motivate you to keep in shape. Plan a vacation where you can do the things you love to do, especially if you can't do them where you live. Now that you're an empty-nester, you might have more time to get away and enjoy an active vacation!

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AMARILYNH 10/26/2012 6:30PM

    Great blog! As I approach 65 years of age its something I have to continually remind myself of!! I ran 5 marathons in my younger days before being sidelined with a knee injury. For now I'm sticking with half marathons (which are MUCH easier to train for!) but I have to admit the old marathon bug has been buzzing around in my brain! As if to remind me I am no longer 40 I'm experiencing a small knee issue now. I consider it a healthy reminder - I really don't have anything to prove to anyone, INCLUDING me!!

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KARRENLYNN 10/26/2012 5:28PM

    I've been a yo yo dieter and weight loss person my whole life. This was a unique perspective to me because my exercise / fitness goals have always been to improve in some way. I've never reached or come close to the question of what happens when your goal is not to improve but maintain. Tripped me right up!! So I'm sorry to say I can't answer your question. Maybe maintaining is just like a habit, something you do to keep the status quo, so you might not necessarily feel like you worked out harder. Hope you find your answers and I hope your foot is back to 100% soon. Have a great day! :)

emoticon emoticon

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OOLALA53 10/26/2012 8:26AM

    Glad you're having fun.

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MIMICOTO 10/25/2012 11:45PM

    I really appreciated this blog as this is precisely what I have struggled with over the past 3 years. As a former competitive athlete, SP was my first experience in dieting and exercising for (post baby) weight loss....and now, 3 years into maintenance I struggle with staying motivated to exercise - keeping it interesting and challenging enough to keep me coming back and at the same time maintaining a satisfying level of fitness. With no 'end point' such as an event, there seems to be little sense in 'peaking' either.....

Great blog and wonderful to have this perspective! Thank you for sharing!

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LOGOULD 10/25/2012 10:41PM

    Best wishes on your recovery and rehab of the foot. Like everything else in this program, I think it all boils down to keeping things in balance and in the proper perspective. Tough call.....thanks for leading the way!

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BROWNCOFIDDLER 10/25/2012 9:07PM

    Hope your foot is back to normal soon. Foot injuries can take so long to heal. Wonderful blog and great perspective. Thanks for sharing it. emoticon

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KANOE10 10/25/2012 4:39PM

    Good blog. I am not sure where my fitness will end up either..I like what you say about always trying to improve. That is my goal also.

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BLUE42DOWN 10/25/2012 3:12PM

    It's interesting reading this after realizing just the other day that we sometimes have to handle "maintenance" in other areas of our life as well. Even if we're doing well financially, we have to work to maintain that and avoid pitfalls that could lure us back to an unhealthy financial state. Even if we're in a successful relationship, we have to work to maintain that and avoid pitfalls that could damage it.

And like you're describing with fitness, it is possible to push for peak performance in an unsustainable way (misers come to mind, putting so much effort into savings they do without needed things now) or in cycles (couples who go all out for holidays, but barely acknowledge each other day in and day out).

One key I would say about this level of maintenance that sometimes is forgotten: Maintaining is not about staying ~exactly~ the same. Nothing stays exactly the same. Goals change, circumstances change, the environment changes, we change. A couple coming up on their 40th anniversary is not the same as they were as newlyweds, even if their relationship is just as strong.

Oh, and one thing that several other replies bring up - purpose. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the physical activities we want to be doing (aka kayaking or rock-climbing or hiking). Consider ... what's the purpose of a pull-up and the stronger shoulders and arms it produces? To flex in a mirror? To see that we did 2 more than a month ago? Or to lift a kayak onto a car, pull ourselves up a cliff-face to a new ledge, or dunk another 3-point shot? Find the purpose to the fitness and that becomes the goal rather than "just five more".

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TUBLADY 10/25/2012 1:01PM

    Like some of the others, I have been in maintenance for 14 months, still working things out. I feel like since this is a way of life, there will be changes along the way. Sometimes what we want to do doesn't appeal to us down the road. there are so many options available now that we have got control of the weight, it's just keep trying what works and life will get more comfortable and normal feeling as time goes by,
Be strong, stay positive.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JEWELY_ROADS 10/25/2012 12:27PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CELIAMINER 10/25/2012 10:48AM

    I agree about training for the next event. When it comes right down to it, the only reason I ever run is to get ready for an event, but I dislike running, so as soon as the event is over, I stop running...until someone talks me into another event.

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-SHOREIDO- 10/25/2012 10:11AM

    Good read!! A lot of positive and thats always good to hear. Sounds like you'll be planning and plotting along the way here.
It'll keep your brain "toned" over the winter!
Good health in all area's is whats its all about so keep at it.
Have you tried (or do you already have) a Fit Bit?? I love mine! It's given me a whole different approach to keeping in shape. : )

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SUSIEMT 10/25/2012 9:23AM

    You have given me much to think about Mobycarp! Hmmm! Maybe things I don't want to think about. It will come. Keep up the good work!

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MARTHAWILL 10/25/2012 7:31AM

    Fitness maintenance- where you are at -at times makes the most sense. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts. Good blog.
emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 10/25/2012 6:39AM

    Very good blog. Right now I'm training for my first half marathon. Don't think I want to do a full marathon. Might go for a triathlon. After that, I'm not sure. Perhaps staying in shape to run a 5K monthly or a little less frequently. I've been thinking about trying a personal trainer for more intense strength training. But you've got a good point. At some point the goal becomes maintaining fitness. And, of course, with age reality is we are not going to maintain. We are going to get a little slower, and strength may diminish a bit. But at least at events there are age group competitions. Staying fit for our age may become the goal.

As you find the answers for you, I hope you will continue to share. Very interesting. Thanks for raising this issue. I had some thoughts along this vein, but you have helped me think a bit further. -Marsha

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HANSBRINK 9/27/2012 11:54AM

  Interesting ideas, both in your blog and in the comments. Like the others, I haven't figured it out either. There are certain activities that I enjoy and others that I wish to try. My definition of fitness is a level where I can participate in those activities, feel satisfied with my level of effort, and not become injured.

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MSLZZY 9/27/2012 10:10AM

    When you figure it out, let me know. I have
been working on this for some time and have
no firm conclusion either.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/27/2012 8:43AM

    I figure it's about doing what makes me happy.

Kayaking makes me happy. Therefore, I train to sustain a level of fitness necessary to enjoy that, as well as I can. For me that involves a particular strength to weight ratio and flexibility.

For someone else it might be about a certain running speed, or being able to lift a certain proportion of their body weight, or looking good for a bodybuilding competition.

Unless you work at it, fitness does tend to slide. And the line between sustainable and achievable is a personal one, depending on how hard you're interested in working. This is why I suspect most of the resources out there are about improving fitness, just as most resources about weight are about losing it...

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    Interesting thoughts and perspectives!

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KRISZTA11 9/27/2012 7:17AM

    Very interesting thoughts about fitness maintenance!

I have a mental image or perception of being fit, and a general good mood associated with fitness. My body feels right, so I'm happy to be like this.

For strength training I do the same basic exercises, swapping one or two at a time, but length and intensity is about the same. It keeps my core and upper body muscles toned and shaped, so I'm content. Running does the same for my legs. May sound too easy but when I stopped doing it for just one week, I lost muscle tone rapidly and had to work to get it back!

There is more pace for improvement in running as my pace is still quite slow, but I'm not working on that, as hopefully I have 25-30 years of running ahead of me, and my pace will improve anyway over time.

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SWEDE_SU 9/27/2012 5:11AM

    you raise good questions here - i need a goal, whether an external event (not to excel, but to get it done), or a personal challenge type goal. but maintenance is a phase like weight loss - it needs its own strategy, it's just (?!) a matter of figuring out what works! emoticon emoticon

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BALLOUZOO 9/26/2012 11:45PM


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WATERMELLEN 9/26/2012 10:22PM

    I liked this blog . . . maintenance is not just about maintaining weight loss, it IS about maintaining fitness at the sustainable (not highest achievable) level. I don't compete and I can't run anymore (having overdone that in the past and ground out a hip and a knee), but I do love "changing it up": golf in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter, and varying my gym routine all year round. Right now I'm trying the rowing machine for cardio (instead of the elliptical cross trainer) and really liking that.

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CARRAND 9/26/2012 9:08PM

    Some of fitness is just fun. I really love my yoga, and spin, and weight lifting. I hope I will continue to get fun out of fitness so I will continue to do it. Nothing is going to keep me alive forever, but I want to be fit enough to do the things I enjoy doing.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/26/2012 9:05PM

    If you figure it out before I do, let me know! I don't have Mr. Testosterone, but I do have Polly Perfectionist, and the competitive "a bridge too far" syndrome. I seem to need to have something to be training for because I won't do the activity "just because". I have to be scared to death of embarrassing myself in six weeks or some such!

emoticon That said, I don't train for peak performance. I train not to embarrass myself. And to not get injured. And to keep wanting to do it again.

What happens as a disaster is that I listen too much to Polly and take on one more goal than I can juggle. Then it all unravels.

Something I HOPE I've learned in the past three years is how to draw "a line in the sand" and allow myself to drop back to a basic level of fitness activity that I *will* not give up, no matter what. For me, that has been 30 minutes worth of brisk walking a day, and some strength training thrown in. But I've noticed the line has shifted a bit since the Summer's highly athletic time... I don't want to lose the triathlete edge.

What's a body to do, as the light begins to wane and the hibernation temptation kicks in? Stay tuned... we'll see how a trip south and a half marathon on the opposite end of the calendar works out!

Great to see you trying to figure it out, too, though. We SHALL have lives worth living... one day at a time! emoticon

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Back to Tuesday Intervals.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The bad foot felt better yesterday, but time didn't allow me to do intervals. Today was a work at home day, with midday sunshine and temps in the mid 60s F. The intervals were a go.

In the six days I took off to rest the foot, I've had plenty of time to think about how to limit the intervals. I decided on 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. That was just a shade too much the last time I did it, and pushing to 13 cycles was definitely too much; but perhaps the foot has healed a little more now?

Got out, and did my walk/run cycles. Planned to follow the same route I did the first time I did these, but I missed a turn and took a slightly different route. That turned out not to be material. I finished running the twelfth cycle at 30 minutes, and had two minutes of walking to get home. Elapsed time, 32:06 to cover 3.82 miles for an average pace of 8:24 per mile.

Got home, and the bad foot didn't complain about much of anything. It still isn't 100%, and in the early cycles it grumbled just a little; but this is looking like the level to hold at for at least a week. I won't do this again tomorrow, because the disicpline right now is not to run on consecutive days. Time to do intervals on Thursday is in doubt, because that's the day I help move my daughter from one apartment to another.

So I'm still kind of playing things by ear. If the foot feels great Thursday evening after moving furniture, I might try some intervals then. Otherwise, it will be Friday.

This is almost like watching paint dry. But I think I can handle the excitement.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONEKIDSMOM 9/26/2012 6:41AM

    emoticon May the paint dry into a nice shade of fit.

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KRISZTA11 9/26/2012 6:28AM

    That's an improvement for sure.
Good luck to the next one too!

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MSLZZY 9/25/2012 9:28PM

    What color is the paint?
You are doing it just right so your foot will cooperate
when you want yo move on. Think positive!

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No intervals this weekend

Sunday, September 23, 2012

After Wednesday's episode of overdoing it, I planned to do more controlled walk/run intervals on Saturday.

That didn't happen. Saturday morning, the bad foot had twinges and reminded me while doing the morning light jog up and down the hallway that real running would be a Bad Idea. So I gave the foot another day of rest, kind of. I'm still logging 11K+ steps per day, they just aren't running steps. I managed to do my walking Saturday mostly when it wasn't raining.

More foot twinges overnight, and this morning's jog up and down the hallway was better; but there were still some bothersome twinges. The foot gets a lot of rest Sunday mornings in church, so I deferred the decision.

Come afternoon, I had sunshine and temps in the low 60s. The grass is growing almost like it's spring. Sigh. Got out and mowed the lawn before addressing exercise. Had a few minor foot twinges while doing so, and that solidified the decision to walk, not run.

I don't time every walk, but the last time I did it came out to about a 14 minute mile. I think that's close to what I was doing today, and early on the foot reminded me that this was okay . . . but running wouldn't be. Sigh.

It's hard to be patient. I want to run! But I want to be able to run consistently more than I want to run right now, so I walked.

Maybe I'll be up for some walk/run intervals on Tuesday. Just have to see how things go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIERKEN 9/24/2012 8:22PM

    ". . .I want to be able to run consistently more than I want to run right now,. . ."
You are a model of self-discipline, MOBYCARP. Stay patient, your day's coming!

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MSLZZY 9/24/2012 7:26AM

    Patience, my friend. The foot is sending you a
message so time to listen and let it heal.

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NWFL59 9/23/2012 10:44PM

    emoticon Way to listen to your body and let it tell you when its ready for a higher level of exertion. emoticon

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GREENGENES 9/23/2012 10:44PM

    Your patience is impressive and is going to pay off in the long run.

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