|And maybe I kind of loved the awesome t-shirts that were way too big for me.|
My feelings about running haven't changed one bit as I've entered adulthood. I still prefer sprinting to anything that requires endurance. I'm not patient enough to think long-term about running--I just want to get it over with as quickly as I started it.
On top of just finding the act of running boring, it's also something that's always been painful for me. My entire life, I've had terrible knees. I have very vivid of memories of sitting in the doctor's office for my knees as a very small child. My knees were always twisting when I was little--whether I was romping in the yard with the dog or running the bases in softball--and they just got worse as I got older. I was constantly wearing different knee braces to try to keep my knee cap in place when I moved and the doctor said it was just growing pains most girls experienced. By my freshman year of high school, my right knee was popping almost every time I moved. I had surgery during spring break that year that helped loosen the outer ligament that was so tight it was pulling my knee cap out of place regularly. I only had one knee done because it was the worst one, but both of them have always had problems. The x-rays showed little "tumors" of scar tissue from where there had been tiny tears during all of my childhood knee injuries, so while the surgery made it possible to walk normally, excessive use still causes pain and swelling.
Despite all of this, I've decided that Barley and I should give this whole running thing a whirl.
|Running makes us look weird.|
Mostly, I decided we should do this for me. For one, my baby brother is getting married in a few months and I don't want to be the flabby one in all of the family pictures. I've been working on some strength training (which surprisingly I love) all summer and have gotten rid of the tricep jiggle just in time for having to write on the board again in class.
I also had a bit of an eye opening experience at my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary this summer. My grandparents are old and achy, but they're in their mid-80s, so that didn't surprise me. But my aunts are also getting achy and it's clear that moving is difficult for them. I've always told my mom that I'd rather just kick the bucket in my 50s than live to be in my 80s and have trouble moving (she always gets really mad when I say this, but it's totally true)--but my aunts are in their 50s and sitting is pain, standing is painful, walking is almost impossible in some cases. I realized that being affected by joint pain in a way that severely limits my life might not be 5 decades down the road--it might only be 2, especially since I've known for years that I already have arthritis in my wrists and back. My family's got roots in Wisconsin and we love our cheese curds (heck, I just love cheese in general) and I throughly enjoy a good meal.
|Like this mashed potato pizza my sister was nice enough to let me try a bite of!|
|Or the s'mores sundae I ate the next day (let's focus on how great my legs look instead)|
|And let's not forget the liquid meals.|
There are very few of us in the family that couldn't stand to lose a few pounds--and that's even more important for joint health, which easy to remember when it comes to Barley and not as easy when it comes to myself. While I spent time with my family, it occurred to me that my future might be less limited if I started making a few changes now. Those changes certainly weren't going to come from totally cutting out all of the yummy foods I enjoy or the lucky beer (or two) that I drink while I watch the Pirates to send them good vibes, so that meant I had to start exercising again.
My strength training and yoga dvds have been a great start, especially for toning and keeping the muscles that protect my joints strong, but I knew I needed to do something that helps burn a few more calories. Since gym memberships are expensive and I know I'd feel guilty going to the gym while Barley was alone in her crate, running seemed like the best option since we could do it together. Plus, Barley has always struggled with maintaining weight--which is a mystery to me since her food portions were consistent (and then cut back and then cut back again) and we walk an average of 3-5 miles a day--so adding a little more intensity to her life could only help with that.
I literally haven't run a full mile since elementary school, so I knew I couldn't just dive into running. For a few days, I just tried running until I got tired of it and needed to walk, but I found that even if I wasn't physically tired, I was bored with it and I didn't get very far. I knew several of my college friends and my dad had used the Couch to 5k app, so I downloaded it and we've done the first week of workouts (although the heat made it take us a little longer than a week to get them all in--the abominable snow pup is not made for warm runs).
So far, I think we both hate running. Barley seems to enjoy it at first, but once she realizes we're not heading towards a jump or chasing an animal, she doesn't seem to see the point (and I'm right there with her--why do people think this is so fun?!).
|Barley's smiling because it's over--not because it happened.|
|At least we have a pretty place to run.|
I don't know if we'll make it through the whole C25k program or not. So far, it seems manageable and beneficial, but I don't know if I can ever bring myself to want to spend that much time running--interspersing it with walking is ok, but running 3+ miles all at once seems dreadful, so I don't know that I have the desire to work up to that. I also don't know if my knees will let me work up to that. With these short bursts of running, they've been a little achy, but not any worse than when we do a intense hike, so we'll see how that goes. Right now, I'm just hoping that eventually I can run a full mile without stopping one day.
|3 "runs" down--who knows how many more to go|
So far, it's been an interesting adventure, so next week we'll talk about some of the challenges we've encountered and some of the solutions we've come up with to make things easier for both of us. Send us positive thoughts that we'll be able to stick with this--even if there's little hope for ever loving it.