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Runner's High

Saturday, March 30, 2013

According to my training plan, I’m supposed to run 7 miles today. I tried running my 4 miles yesterday, but really only made it 1 mile before my foot started to complain. Honestly, I know that rest (ice, compression, etc.) is the only thing that’s going to heal this – but I really can’t rest my foot because I have to walk. And if I have to walk, I might as well run, right? Why let my training suffer?

Sometimes I wish I never got into running – I feel compelled to do it, even though I’ve had a number of physical issues because of it. It seems to be the only thing that keeps my weight within healthy range, though.

If you had asked Nicole circa 2003 if she would ever run a half-marathon, she would have laughed and made some sort of comment on your sanity level.

(After I earned my first half-marathon medal, my husband didn’t want to feel left out. So he did his own marathon.)

Not that I wasn’t active 10 years ago. I had recently graduated college, had moved out to southern California for a job, and was determined to shed the 30 pounds I gained eating cheeseburgers and ice cream practically every day for the last four years. Being in So Cali made activity fun and easy – with beautiful, warm weather almost every day, I took every opportunity I could to be outdoors, whether it was riding my bicycle to the grocery store, hiking in the San Bernardino mountains, or just taking walks to soak up some rays. I had two gym memberships – one to a standard fitness facility (which I could be found hanging out on an elliptical when it was raining outside – no treadmill for me at the time), and one to an indoor rock climbing gym (definitely an awesome way to get exercise).

Fast forward four years, when I took a job in Connecticut to be closer to friends and family. Everything about Connecticut encouraged me to just stay inside. My bike collected dust. There was no rock climbing gym. My daily routine (60 minutes on the elliptical) – and corresponding weight loss – stagnated. I knew I needed to change it up – so one day, I just bit the bullet and got on the treadmill.

I think that first experience on the treadmill probably lasted oh, five minutes, at a pace that could only be considered a “wog.” (walk? jog? who can really tell?) It was HARD compared to the elliptical. But every day afterwards, I got on the treadmill and either pushed myself a little longer, or a little faster, or both. I added inclines. On the occasional nice day in Connecticut, I took my run outside. I would add new songs to my iPod shuffle and get way too excited during my run when they came into the mix.

What kept me going was all about variability. I could present new challenges to myself daily when running, and it kept things interesting.

When my husband and I moved to New Jersey in 2010, we were roped into signing up for a 5k by some of his co-workers who wanted to form a team. I had never considered racing before – especially in a race that was going to be in the middle of December, as I hate the cold ( wheatontrial.wordpress.c
) – but it was for a good cause (the entry fee was simply an unwrapped toy for charity for the holidays), and we wanted to support the team.

Oddly, nobody else from our team showed up for the actual race that day. But it didn’t matter – we had a blast! Runners showed up in Santa suits and elf ears (we even ran with the full Nativity). DJ’s blared holiday music at strategic points along the course. People I didn’t know were cheering for me along the way. When I crossed that finish line and got my post-race bagel and banana, I knew I was hooked (I was much more excited about bagels back then).

So that’s my story about how I got sucked into races. I’ve done that same charity 5k every year since. I’ve run two half-marathons, and have my third coming up in November – plus a score of other races before that. But I’ve also had to deal with runner’s knee, IT band issues, and now foot pain. I just hope I can find the right formula (maybe being wheat free?) to keep these legs going.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That's an awesome way to get into racing! Loved the blog!
    1815 days ago
    Ever thought of doing a feasibility emoticon study for your area to see if that rock climbing club would be welcome and start your own business or invite the owner in So Cal to come to where you are now? I bet that would be a fun work out, I might even try it. I prefer the dred mill to the shredding eleptical but in my cardiac work out gym we have a sitting eleptical I use, so much easier on the knees but I can still get a thigh burn.. the other just makes me light headed too fast and I tend to race myself on it. Good luck with the run - you really should have had your foot checked out to make sure you are not causing more damage that might not be reversable. Cheers
    1815 days ago
    Geez! It's hard with how addictive running is - anything that keeps me from lacing up my sneakers and going kills me. But then, continuing to run is killing me too! Good luck with your rehab - keep me posted! Have you picked a run for the fall yet, or are you waiting to see how it goes?
    1816 days ago
    I got sucked into my first 5k in April of 2011 ( at that time I weighed 175ish) and got addicted, then continued to do more. I only train on a treadmill because of the area I live in isn't walker/runner safe (got bit by a pit bull the summer before that). Then on a whim the next April I did my first half marathon and got addicted to that but during the next month I hurt my sciatic nerve in my back and didn't know it, so I continued to run/exercise and pain got worse. I did my second and third HM bc I didn't want to waste my money but I'm having to break from it now bc I finally found out what directly is causing pain (not pinched but very irritated sciatic nerve plus 2 slightly herniated bad discs), but I hope to start back in the fall! :) but I'm going to miss doing my first HM for the second time next month :(
    1816 days ago
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