Tag Archives: exercise

Runnus Interruptus

I finished week 3 officially going ahead of where I left off on the first go-round. And then the next day, my knee was in a lot of pain. I had to take stairs always going up with my right leg and doing a funny hobble going down so I wouldn’t bend my left knee. That lasted for a few days and then finally eased off. But it still twinges and I decided to halt the running program again. I have my annual physical today so I took a week off to rest the knee and then see what my doctor says about it. I have the sneaking suspicion that the best course of action is to go back to using the elliptical and/or walking and leave off the running until a later date when my knee is stronger and/or I have lost more weight.

So, that’s where things stand. Not run. Just stand.

And now we’re back…

I am now where I was when the kidney stone took me out of commission on my C25K project: Week 3, Day 2. Barring anything major, I’ll finally move ahead tomorrow with Day 3. Then onwards to week 4 and beyond.

Some things are getting easier but I still find the 3 minute long slogs to be, well, slogs. I need to return to going to the gym. I haven’t been since I started this journey back in August and I should be doing weights on my off days. Hey! Today is an off day! Guess what I should go to later on?

Gasping, Stumbling: Day 4

Another missed day. The plan was to run Friday and finish week 2 on Sunday, then start week 3 on Tuesday and get back on my Tue/Thu/Sat schedule. But I was foolish to think I could get out and run on the same day we were to meet my sister for breakfast, pack, and check out of the hotel by 11AM. Even moving our checkout to noon, we barely made it out on time.

So, Day 2 of Week 2 happened this morning. So, about this morning. First, we got home around 9PM last night after a lot of driving and, thanks to caffeine, while exhausted, I couldn’t sleep until late. So I woke up late. This means I missed the cooler weather. And not only is it warmer than I prefer, it’s also incredibly humid out there. But I pushed through and did it. 

I am coming to realize that running is less about the physical activity itself and more about the mental. Pain and shortness of breath are par for the course. It takes tenacity, stubborness, and no small amount of self-pride (a close cousin of self-shaming but far more positive and effective) to push through it. Where I would have stopped in the past to catch my breath or rub my leg, I push through. I think about how good it will feel to know I completed another day. I think about how much more healthy I am getting by doing this and what that means for my life as I get older (and after spending a few days visiting my mother who just had knee-replacement surgery, I am even more sensitive to the issues of aging). And I think about what kind of model I am setting for my son. 

So, it sucked today and I am sweating buckets (and that means I can’t get into the shower until I stop or I will just keep on sweating even afterwards which is, frankly, nasty) but I also feel fantastic that I did it. And that’s what I have to hold on to moving forward.

Running, Day 3 (Week 2, Day 1)

As part of this reboot, I skipped 1 day of Week 1 so now my count is a bit off. Alas, such is the way of things.

I intended to run Monday morning after only 1 day off between weeks 1 and 2 but I got a slow start to my day and by the time it was moving in earnest, I was busy with work and preparations for a small trip to visit family in New York and celebrate my wife’s birthday.

I intended to run Tuesday morning before we drove west but it was raining and we had a lot of last minute stuff to finish before we left (and we left really late anyway).

So, Wednesday morning, I ran along Route 28 in Mount Tremper in the heart of the Catstkills. It didn’t seem that hot and humid when I started and maybe I went at just the wrong time (around 10AM) when it was rapidly heating up, but by the time I was ending the walk, it felt oppressively hot and humid. Running along a busy highway is also somewhat unnerving but the margins on the side of the road were large and there was mostly mowed grass/wildflowers on the sides that gave me softer terrain when I needed it or wanted to get further away from traffic.

The second week expands the jogging sessions to 90 seconds and, just like the last time I did this a few weeks ago, this first day was painful. I found myself barking, “Come on!” to myself to keep going. I set milestones (I’ll go to that stretch of fence”, “that bridge”, “one more grasshopper”) That last was referring to the many grasshoppers (or grasshopper like bugs) on the margins of the road that all jumped/flew as I approached them.

When I was halfway through, I had two thoughts. The first was that I felt especially stiff and things were hurting that had not hurt before. The second, that followed the first one quickly, was that I forgot to stretch out before my run. So, I paused my run and did a few quick stretches and I made sure to do extra stretching when I was finished. 

On the plus side, the rest of the day, featuring lots of walking, was not painful at all. My legs felt great and, more importantly, feel great today.

Running: Reboot or Bust A Move

Two weeks. I would have been on the dreaded week 5 with the 20 minute non-stop jog. But that damn kidney stone put me on the DL and I’m only now able to get back out and into it again.

I had the stone zapped on Tuesday. A thoroughly exciting process that I have no memory of thanks to the lovely drugs they gave me. But the stone is gone now and after giving myself 24 or so hours to recover from the procedure and to come down from two weeks of pain and Percocet, I am ready to begin again.

I debated from where to resume the C25K program. I finally decided, in part based on advice from someone on MyFitnessPal.com, to return to the beginning. As they put it, I need to build the infrastructure for the later weeks and after two weeks, I have pretty much lost it. I agree. I decided, since it’s Thursday and I still want to keep this on a roughly Tue/Thu/Sat plan, to start with Week 1 Day 2. I figured if I get to Day 3 and find that I’m struggling, I can always do the third day of Week 1 and then move on. Otherwise, I can move on after 2 days or even skip ahead.

Well, I won’t be skipping ahead. It was a slog today. Sure, I went out for a run/walk a week ago but, other than that, it’s been two sedentary weeks. So, while I didn’t have any pain, I did have a lack of puff, as my father-in-law would say.

But I made it. Now my legs are stiff… but I’ll live…

Running: Interlude

And then I got a kidney stone.

Now, usually, these things only cause me intense pain for about 24 hours and that’s it. I suffer, I deal, I move on. This one has lasted six days (and counting). So, I didn’t run for a week. Instead, I suffered and I did tech week and ran sound for the kids’ show at Swamp Meadow. This morning, the plan was to go to the Emergency Room to once and for all deal with this. At least get super hydrated via IV to help push this thing along. Except I had no pain all night. No pain this morning.

And it was a gorgeous morning. So, what the hell. I decided to go for a run/walk instead. I figured I would get some exercise, assess where I was physically so when I resume C25K, I knew where to actually start from, and maybe force the stone to move (through the impact of running) and get some pain going so I could go to the ER and not feel silly.

So, I went out. I tried a job after a few minutes of walking to warm up and found that it came quite naturally. So for the rest of my 30 minute excursion, up and down hills (I decided to stay in the ‘hood rather than go to the bike path) I alternated walking and jogging. I even got to run nice and fast down a steep hill (that was FUN!) towards the end.

The result? I feel great. I can see where I am a little stiff after a week of not moving much and I think my plan will be to do Day 3 of Week 2 on Saturday and then restart Week 3 on Monday/Tuesday and take it from there.

Assuming, of course, that the stone is really done with me. I had no pain during or after the run so if it is still there, even my running didn’t jostle it loose. Or it has already moved down past the point where it causes pain (it hurts when it is wedged in the upper pathway between the kidney and the bladder — the pain is from when it is being forced to move, scraping against the walls of the pipes — once it moves close to the bladder, the pipes are wider and it tends to finish the trip to the outside in a few days without causing any discomfort).

That said, it may start hurting later today for its own nefarious reasons. In which case, I’ll deal. But if I really am done with it, I have a plan and I feel pretty good right now.

Running: Days 7 & 8

If I’d written this up after Day 7, it would have sounded like I’d had a major breakthrough. Clouds parting, sunlight streaming out after a storm, a dove would fly by and drop an olive branch on my head and such. But I am writing this after Day 8 and it is raining, the olive branch was just a birch twig, and the bird was caught by a particularly mean and feral cat.

This is week 3 of C25K. In week 3 we go from repetitions of 90 seconds of jogging/walking to two sets of the following:

  • 90 seconds jogging
  • 90 seconds walking
  • 3 minutes jogging
  • 3 minutes walking

I’ve been dreading the 3 minute thing since mid-last week when 90 seconds was killing me. But on Tuesday, I went for my run at 6:30PM. This was a change as I had done the previous six days early in the morning. I don’t remember now why I couldn’t run in the morning (hey, it was 3 days ago. I can’t be expected to remember stuff that far back, can I?) but the evening was perfect. It was cool, breezy, and the bike path was bustling (but not so bustling as to induce OCD-induced rage at people who cannot figure out the rules of the road.

Aside: Dear Cranston, RI Bike Path users: Bike on the right. Walk on the left. Thank you.

And after I completed my first of two 3 minute jobs, I felt great. It was during the 3 minute walk after the job that I went through a group of about 7 teenagers (or so). I was cranking Paul Young (“I’m gonna tear, your playhouse down, pretty soon…”) One of them clearly said something to me so I popped my awesome Sennheiser/Adidas In-Ear ear phones (with the awesome hook over my ears to keep the damn things from falling out the way Apple’s always do) out of my ear and said, “What?” He repeated, “Do you have a cigarette?” I smiled and said, “Nope, sorry.” Popped my earphone back in and kept going, laughing to myself that it would never occur to me to ask a runner for a cigarette, only partly because I don’t smoke.

The second 3 minute job that day was tough, but for the final minute, or so, I decided to push myself and went from a jog to a steady lope. I wanted to actually run for a bit. And I did it. A full minute, more even. It felt incredible and life was good.

[Insert spacing here for dramatic pause.]

Yesterday was not the same experience. Now, before I wind you all up and have you think this story ends with my having a crippling injury, I will go ahead and tell you (in Peter Falk’s voice), that I do not get eaten by the eels at this time. Nor do I have anything really bad happen to me.

I went out in the early evening again. It wasn’t my plan but I was such a zombie in the morning yesterday that all I could was get my recommended daily allowance of brains and survive my hellish commute downstairs to my home office (this is what comes from watching Sherlock with Jack until late at night). Unlike Tuesday, it was hotter and much more humid. Thunderstorms were wandering around (yes, I checked the doppler and none were nearby, sheesh) so the air was heavy with potential weather. 

Maybe I didn’t fuel up properly (though for my morning runs, it’s usually just a Luna Bar and a cup of coffee) and maybe it was just the humidity, but this run was a complete slog. When I was 70 seconds into the first 90 second jog, I wanted to die. My knees were (finally) bothering me, my backs of my calves were on fire, and I felt like I couldn’t get my feet landing the way I wanted to (too far back, too far forward) I began to seriously question if I could handle the rest of the run.

In the end, I did handle it. I took each jog iteration one at a time. I did try for a longer/faster lope in the sound round of 3 minutes but I just didn’t have it in me. But I did survive the run yesterday. Sheer will power? Plain old stubbornness? Who knows. But I did it. 

My walk home (uphill from the bike path) was painful and I had drunk all of my water in the wake of that final 3 minute jog, but I made it home alive.

I have no clue what tomorrow will be like. And it will be weird because we have a packed-solid day starting with an early drive to Western MA for a wedding followed by an early return (missing the end of the reception) to attend my wife’s aunt’s 95th birthday party. I figure I will get up and out for a run as early as I can stand it so I still have time to cool down and then shower. I have learned that showering immediately after the run is a mistake as I am often still sweating after I get out of the shower and just have to go shower again.

So, Week 3 is 2/3 done and I am not even going to look at what week 4 brings (I lied. I did look. I’m just choosing not to contemplate it now) and am just focused on tomorrow’s run and surviving it.

Running: Day 6

I may survive week 3. I say this cautiously because it was still a slog today. But on the final iteration of six, I was able to go more than a minute running at the strongest pace of the day, a nice steady lope. This gives me hope. My calves were on fire and my right shin made vague threats, but all in all, it was a good run.

I find that my runs are a lot more difficult when I have to go solo. Jack got his hair colored yesterday and cannot get it wet until Sunday. So between the threat of rain and the sweat from running, he had to sit this one out. Hopefully next week he’ll be able to do all three (for the first time!) so I  have someone to keep me motivated and moving.

Anyway, I survived week 2 and am feeling really good! Bring on week 3! (After a two day break, please…)

Running Day 5: The Runninging

No, I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean either.

I’m still recovering from this morning’s run. I went solo because Jack’s foot fell off in the night, or something. He’s in pain so I left him home to wallow in misery. Another glorious day except a bit warmer and less breeze so all the insects in the world were after me. Tuesday was a wonderful respite from the hordes of gnats and other gnasties who kept after me. At least I didn’t aspirate any of them today.

I am looking ahead to next week and how long I will have to run. Right now, my jogs are 90 seconds in length. I have no earthly idea how I will be able to do longer. But I am comforted by the fact that I said the same thing about 90 seconds last week when I was only doing 30. Right? I said that, right? Please tell me I said that…

I love running on the bike path. Everyone is so friendly. We all nod and wave to each other. Jack points out that we also grunt. This is true. Lots of grunting. It’s very paleolithic.

And today, no one was riding or walking on the wrong side. I don’t get that. There are signs every few hundred feet in one form or another that tell walkers and runners to be on the left and bikes on the right. Then again, I constantly see people walking around the ‘hood on the wrong side of the street. Drives me crazy. Must be my own particular brand of OCD. Whatevs. The point is, you walk/run facing traffic and you bike with traffic. What do rollerbladers do? Who cares. They’re right bastards. (I’m sorry. I don’t know why I said that. Except that I tried to rollerblade once with my friend Sarah and it was humiliating and awful so I have decided that they are all right bastards. Hey, look at that, I do know why I said it.)

Anyway, I gather that somehow, some way I will be able to handle week 3. I am also pretty sure that 99% of that depends on my surviving week 2 so let me focus on that first. One more day… one more day…

Running: Day 4

Day 4: Oh boy…

Today, the iterations changed to 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking. That extra 30 seconds of running in each iteration (thankfully six instead of eight this time) scared me. I had always been at the “Oh Man, 3 more seconds, I can do it… oh man oh man…” point last week. Now we were adding another 30 seconds to each round? Well, I survived it. And since Jack couldn’t find his earbuds, I ran without my headset and we talked as we ran. Or, rather, he talked. I made vague grunting noises from time to time. (“Grunt once for yes…”) On our final walk, we both pant-grunted Viva la Vida by Coldplay. We had gotten to that state of silly.

All in all, I survived it and I am starting to realize that I am getting stronger and I am able to push farther through this. It’s a wonderful feeling. It helped immensely that the weather was absolutely glorious this morning. It was a joy to be outside in it and to be chatting with Jack as we went along. I’m looking forward to Thursday’s run!