Last November I decided to start some regular exercise (it was one of my post-graduate school objectives). I thought early morning running would be convenient and cheap. My last encounter with running/jogging was in my late 20’s before I moved to Florida. What I remembered well was the total tedium encountered in a 30 minute run — I targeted a running time, not a distance.
Well, I headed out in November 2004 and to my complete surprise, I couldn’t make it to the end of the block without getting winded and my legs cramping up. What happened to my modest (if boring) running endurance of 20 years earlier? So I set a goal: I would be able to run 30 minutes, or 3 miles, by my 51st birthday (Dec 2005).
At Linda’s urging we got a treadmill for christmas and I traded the pavement for running/walking in front of the TV, and started a regimen of at least a 30 minute workout 3 times a week. With the treadmill, it was really easy to control a gradual increase in my distance and speed. And with the TIVO I could catch up on my TV viewing at the same time.
I had two setbacks from injuries; First I got “catcher’s knee*” from extended kneeling scenes I had in the spring opera Aida, then this fall, I got “swimmer’s knee” in the other leg from an aggresive body surfing session at Cocoa Beach. Both of these ailments are forms of bursitis, and in each case I seriously aggravated it by running to injury on the treadmill, and each time it took about 4 weeks to fully recover and get me back on track. After the second recovery, I quickly accelerated my treadmill distance to a 3 mile non-stop run on a regular basis, and a few weeks ago, I registered for a bona fide outdoor 5K (3.1 miles) race to be held on thanksgiving morning.
I figured I better get some practice outside on the pavement before I tried the 5K in public, so I tried a 2 mile run one morning. It was hard; much more difficult than 3 miles on the treadmill, and my knee swelled up a little bit and gave me some warning pains when climbing stairs. I took care of my knee, and the next time out I paced myself more carefully, and tried to adopt my marathoning friend’s advice to work on my gait and run “over” the ground, not “on” the ground. (Linda said this sounds zen-like).
*better known as “housemaid’s knee“, but I strongly prefer the association with an athletic injury! The orthopedic doctor (who’s practice is mostly athletic) snickered and called it an ‘opera injury’.