Thursday, October 18, 2012

Two Steps Forward... One Step Back (or Halfway to the Finish Line)

So I'm officially halfway through my training program, "5 Weeks to a 5K" and it's definitely been no walk in the park.

To recap (which rhymes with "knee cap", which I'll get to later), I had an epiphany that I would prove to myself that, at nearly 46 years old, I could do something physical I'd never done before, which is run. Specifically, run a 5K. Because I'm not a runner. I'm an exerciser, but running has never been my "thing".

I was a bit lost at first, I'll admit. Most of the 5K training programs involved running for a couple of minutes, walking for a couple of minutes, repeat. Once I start running, I want to keep running. Stopping to walk to me is only an invitation to fail. Luckily, a friend of mine sent me a customized, five-week training program - in SPREADSHEET form, no less, outlining each day and what it would entail. Always stretching before and after, with miles varying from 1 to 3.5; rest days accounted for.

It was just what I needed. A schedule. I followed it religiously, checking off each day with a red Sharpie and a sense of accomplishment. My endurance was improving, as was my pace. I went from a 12 minute mile to - on a good day running without the dog - a 10 minute mile or better.

Until what I like to call "The Knee Incident".

I have bad knees; this is no secret. When I felt the first twinge behind my left kneecap, I decided to trade in my Payless Champion tennis shoes for some sweet fancy-schmanzy Asics. Truth be told, I could feel no difference between my $29.99 Payless shoes ($24.99 with coupon) and my $60 Asics.

The pain persisted. Walking down stairs was painful; kneeling on it agonizing. So feeling no relief but still adhering to my schedule, I consulted Dr. Google, and based on my symptoms discovered I have what's known as Runner's Knee.

RUNNER'S KNEE??? A part of me swelled with pride. I have a running injury? Cool! That makes me a real runner, right? Once that little ego boost died down, I realized that this could be serious and potentially race-threatening if I didn't address it now. So I did what they said - iced it, elevated it, rested it, and, after thoroughly researching types and brands, bought a knee brace. The hardest part was the resting, since I felt that each day I didn't run according to schedule was one day of improvement lost.

I found a great blog, Running on Empty, with a very informative post on Runner's Knee. Written in 2011, it was still getting comments, so I posted my own and received an immediate response from the author, who said basically, REST IT, FOOL, OR YOU WON'T MAKE THE RACE.

So I have been. And today, halfway through my five week training, I ran 3.87 miles. In the rain. And the wind. My pace wasn't great but the endurance was there. And I think I'll take endurance over speed any day.

Last weekend, I had a lovely visit with my friend Norma. She is for whom I'm running this 5K, as it is to raise money for lung cancer research, which she is living with. She's doing well, and in the hours we talked I gained the inspiration I needed to keep going no matter what setbacks are thrown my way.

And speaking of keeping going, I'm $20 short of my goal to raise $500 for lung cancer research. I am AMAZED at the support I have gotten and I cannot tell you how every donation has helped me put one foot in front of the other to accomplish this goal of mine. Not a lofty one for most, but a pretty big deal to me. So if you're so inclined, throw a couple dollars into the kitty for me - and for Norma.

My Birthday 5K: LUNGevity Foundation

Next stop: My 5K. On my 46th birthday. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. I will remind you again, my friend, that all it takes to be a "runner" is to run. Welcome to the club.

    P.S. Endurance is ALL that matters. You rock. xoxo


For those of you not commenting directly from a blog, the simplest way to leave a comment is to go to the "Comment as" dropdown menu and select Name/URL. Type in your name and don't worry about the URL.