Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Year Gone By

So, a year ago today I started running. It's been interesting, and I've learned a lot, not only about running, but about myself.

I wasn't sure that I'd be able to do it. I've battled knee pain for a long time, and I didn't know if I could take the constant pounding. But, a year ago, I decided to throw on some sneaks and head out the door. I made it .71 miles before my panting forced me to walk. I wound up doing a total of 1.2 miles, .9 of which were running miles.

Since then, I've gone on 146 runs, so a run every 2.5 days. (Not that I keep crazy statistics about this kind of stuff, or anything).

I remember when I hit 10 miles last year. I felt such a sense of accomplishment, that I could persevere and do something like this. I've never been an athletic sort of guy. I ran cross country mumblemumble18yearsagomumblemumble, but was horrible at it.

But running outside of a team is nice. Especially for me. I'm not particularly fast. Nor efficient. I sweat a lot. But, it's something I can do, and constantly improve at.

I've got a running buddy, my wife's sister. She and I run at about the same speed, and when she's around, and our schedules mesh up, we go running together, usually doing about 3 miles. It's been good, because I do like running with her. We can talk about whatever, usually about our respective days, and just run, and it's nice. It's good to have someone to run with, so that you push yourself up the hill and don't crap out. I doubt I could have made it this far without her, and I look forward to many more runs with her.

I have done a good amount of running on my own. The really long ones are usually a solo mission. It's a wonderful stress relief. Coming home after a day of work, and just going out and running. It clears the mind. Any stresses are purely muscular after a while.

I started out with my daily sneakers, and the usual t-shirts and shorts I had. Over the year, I bought or obtained:
- those wicking clothes (shorts, tanks, pants, shirt)
- a Garmin Forerunner 305 watch and heart rate monitor
- My wife's iPod (pink, thank you very much!)
- New sneaks
- Inserts for the aforementioned sneaks
- A shoe wallet
- A camelbak

From where I started with no gear, I was going out last year dressed as some sort of bionic mercenary. I had all sorts of stuff on, wires going everywhere, etc.
I've cut it back, though. I do like the wicking clothes, and I generally wear my Forerunner watch. But, the HR monitor usually sits at home. My heart rate is always high. Got that. No need to track it. I typically leave the iPod at home too, to let me pay attention better. Since I run along roads 99% of the time, it's best to pay attention. I try to have my wife bring me drinks along the route I'm running, or plot to stop at water fountains, etc.

So, this past year, I've had a few injuries. I had a few bloody toenails. A few bloody toes, until I learned how to better cut my toenails. (That's something, coming home, taking off the sneakers, and seeing a red sock. heh). On the longest run of my short running career last year, a whopping 13.1 miles, I ran into a case of ITBS. I know that run didn't cause it, it was more of a case of me pushing myself too hard too fast over the year. Too many hills, too many cambered roads. That really sidelined me over the winter, where I was only running once or maybe twice a week, for just a couple of miles.

I think I'm past that.. Of course, my left leg (my ITBS leg) is still problematic. My hamstring is pretty tight on that leg. Both of my calves are sore after running. I'm working up to the shape I was in last year before I went on that 13.1 expedition. Plus, I recently busted up my little toe, so that's been a bit awkward to run with.

Looking forward, though...
Ideally, I'd like to run a marathon. Realistically, I think I should probably wait longer before doing that. I should try to run 5 days a week this year, and maybe do an official half marathon in the fall. We'll see how it all goes.

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