Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Run or Not to Run ...

Last week I decided that it was time to start running. Because here I am, 35, watching friends and friends of friends on Twitter do the Couch to 5K and I suddenly thought that this is something I could do. Me, the girl that loves yoga and having her feet firmly planted on the ground unless they are firmly fitted to bike pedals. Me, the girl with a generous ass and thighs that go right along with it. Me, that gasps for breath after a sprint to catch the boys before they do something really bad. Yes, me. I decided I too can run.

The C25K program is a good one, a gentle one that lets you transition from never ever running to possibly completing a 5K. Last week was week 1 and I felt great; three runs with Tim, each one a little easier than the last. But then Sunday I woke up and my knees were aching something awful so I skipped yoga and decided to try a day of rest. Then came Monday afternoon and we headed out for the 30 minute session with plans to repeat the first week because I am not sure I am ready to move on yet. And oh my god, my knees, a fire-like piercing pain in the right one which gradually started in on the left by the end of the ‘run’. It was hellacious. But I stretched and did my yoga class and figured I would take it from there.

365 :: 117

Yesterday was the second session for the week and it did not happen.. At all. I barely limped home and collapsed on the floor and resigned myself to being that girl that cannot run. It was quite disappointing and really painful.

This morning I was doing paperwork and a light bulb hit. I am a PT. I am the person that people go to when they cannot run because they are in pain. Well, I am not that PT, my specialty has never been orthopedic injuries. I am the brain injury/CVA wunderkind but never been one for the old ‘it hurts when I run’ treatment routine.

I spent 20 minutes in self diagnosis this morning, zeroing in on the problem. Now, I know my body well, yoga keeps one fairly linked in, I would like to think. But apparently not as well as I thought. I started at the patella (knee cap in laymen speak) to measure my tracking and Q angle. First thought on my R knee was “Holy sh*t!!! When did my knee start to look like that?” Because my Q angle is not looking so good. The greater your Q angle, the worse your tracking, the more you risk scraping your poor little patella out of the femoral groove leading to even more pain. So I did a little squashing and pushing and pulling and taping and it began to track a bit better and I began to feel a whole lot better.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because this morning I was reminded of something. Well, a few things. That I am a PT for real and I know a lot of things about the human body, its failings and its healing and something I can do about both. It also reminded me of the fact that I am getting older. My knees are getting older and tracking in ways that I never thought I would see on me. My heart is getting older which I why I wanted it to pump more so it can be trained like my knees. My bones, my flesh are starting to change, not fall into some deep spiraling decent but just age. Moving towards that inevitable place we all end up.

It was also a reminder that I may never be a runner despite my will/wish/want. I can still do yoga and hike five miles a week with my feet touching the ground the whole time (I might have to hike a little faster and harder to get that cardio effect though). So, I may just fail at this Couch to 5K thing. Which I think is okay despite the fact that I hate to fail.

Ah, to be a person that is aging. I am not sure I feel comfortable wearing that role quite yet. But I know from my work that it happens to us all. And I know that staying on the move is the best way to welcome it, this aging thing. Now off to something I know I can do …

And then ...


LauraC said...

The one thing I KNOW about running is that the best thing you can do as a new runner is go to a running store and have them fit you for the correct shoes for you. If it still hurts, then yes maybe it is not the right thing for you.

I have a team of 12 people running Warrior Dash Carolinas. If you want in, there is always space at my house!

lori z said...

Hi lady! I agree with LauraC. The shoes could be the root of your knee problems. Good for you for giving C25K a whirl. It got me off the couch and running a half marathon!

K8 said...

I was told in my 20s that I had arthritis in my knee from a stubborn ACL that caused a break and that I should slow down. I cried the whole car ride home. I wasn't ready to slow down.

Another knee surgery later I know I'll still probably never be a runner, and those posts on Facebook and Twitter make me want to be. It's hard to think you won't be a runner - there's something appealing about putting on a pair of running shoes and just going, no matter where you are. But there's also something appealing about being able to stretch your body through yoga in ways non-yoga folks can't, or that view at the end of a long hike.

I'd say don't think of it as failing if the C25K doesn't work for you - think instead of all the things that do

Though I'm with you - sometimes I wish I could be a runner too :)

margaux said...

I am going through the same thing right now! I want to be more active and I am just getting into running. But just like whether your throw or pick at knitting you just gotta find the thing you love and go with it. Maybe the best cardio you can do is some Dancing ;-) us Butt and Thigh girls, IMO, are pretty good at that!

Shauna said...

I stumbled upon your blog after trying to search for someone to do the #mondobeyondo special. I was so meant to read this. Just today I said, I need to run again. At 37 now, my excuse has been that I just had kids... but my kids are 3 and 4 now LOL! Thanks for the reminder that our bodies are getting older and that we need to take care of them. And also thanks for the "OMG that is so going to be me" smile that I got when I read your post!:)