If I was a runner, I’d be looking forward to a nice run in the sunshine without overheating. Except I’m not a runner. I think I’ve finally almost gotten to the point where I can admit that I never will be a runner. I have a love/hate relationship with running…well, more like a tolerance/hate relationship if I’m honest. I appreciate the efficiency of running – I can get a good workout in 30 minutes without needing a gym or a pool. It burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time, and if I ignore the discomfort, it gives a nice workout high. But. After my back problems last summer/fall and the continued pain in my left hip area (it’s really the back of my leg – too high to be a hamstring, too low to be a glute and it hurts into my hip. What else is back there? I have no idea,) I stopped running for about 4 months. The cold and snow made it easy to not run and to focus on the elliptical and swimming with an occasional recumbent bike ride thrown in. But…everyone around me runs and I guess I feel a little peer pressure to keep up and run too. It’s not like I tore my ACL or anything – there’s no actual injury to speak of, just pain from my crooked back and high arches and weird stride.
I have this annoying desire to be like everyone else, so about 6 weeks ago I thought I’d slowly start back to running. I increased my runs per week from 0 to 1 (impressed, aren’t you?) and gradually increased the mileage on the treadmill from 1 mile to 3+). It didn’t feel great, but it didn’t feel awful either. This Monday I was feeling pretty decent once I got through the first mile and a half and I just kept going – doing 3.6 miles at a okay pace (between 8:00 and 8:30 per mile – this is okay for me, but slow for real runners). I even did some “rolling hills” on the treadmill. And then I stopped and tried to stretch out and suddenly became 80 years old. My hip/leg/butt hurt so bad I limped to the locker room and tried to stretch under the hot water in the shower. It didn’t help.