Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to Running

Yep, it's true: I've been bitten by the running bug once again.

For the past month, about 3-4 times a week, I've been throwing on my workout clothes, lacing up my New Balance running shoes, and hitting the treadmill. 

But I don't run the whole time.  I walk a little, then run a little.  Right now, I'm walking for four minutes, then running for six minutes for a total of 30-35 minutes.

Eventually, my goal is to run the entire time (and for longer distances), but for now, slow and steady is my motto.

Think tortoise, not hare.    

I'm choosing to take it slow for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, I'm trying to prevent further damage to my left knee.  (Back in 2010, I injured my knee training for a half marathon and while physical therapy helped, I still experience some discomfort.)

Secondly, I don't want to injure my right knee.  

Did you know that women are 8 times more likely than men to suffer severe knee injuries?  Why, you ask?  Well, long story short, it's because of our wider hips.      
Not only am I taking it slower than I have in the past, both in pace and distance, I'm also protecting my left knee by wrapping it with Leukotape before each workout--something my physical therapist showed me how to do last summer.  Basically, I'm mechanically moving my patella (knee cap) into place, and then taping it so it stays in alignment during my workout.  Sounds painful, I know, but it's really not.

And I'm also doing strengthening exercises, like walking lunges and half-squats, which will help beef up my quadriceps. 

Finding the time to run and walk and do strengthening exercises is a challenge with a nearly 6-month-old baby.  What I'm finding works best for me is to get dressed and taped up early in the morning as Noah plays in his exersaucer or sits in his bouncer.  Then, when Noah goes down for his first (or second) nap, I hit the treadmill--with the baby monitor close by. 

Occasionally, Noah will wake up from his nap in the middle of my run.  That's when I bolt upstairs, scoop him up out of his crib, grab a blanket and a few toys, and lay Noah down next to the treadmill.  For now, that works, but very soon, Noah will be mobile--crawling and then walking--and I'll have to move on to Plan B.  Perhaps, it will be off to the park to run--with Noah in the jogging stroller.

In terms of my long-term running goals, I'm ruminating about a few possibilities, but I'm not yet ready to commit to any of them. 

I am going to continue logging miles, slowly increasing the number of minutes I run and the distance I cover. 

Running invigorates me, gives me more energy, and helps me feel more self-confident--all good things in my book.

Plus, I can indulge in a bowl of ice cream (and say, a few Oreos) every once in a while and not feel guilty at all.

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