Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pushing Beyond Creaky Knees

photo credit: unknown - if it was you, let me know :)

I've finally decided on my new outdoor sport for my first spring-summer season in Perth - running.

Okay, it's not a water sport. But it's fairly simple, no-frills, and it doesn't require the kinesthetic prowess of an Olympic athlete, just lots of discipline and persistence - things I sorely need to develop anyway. Plus, it complements my insatiable wanderlust and is a great way of burning calories and getting fit while going places.

So a couple of weeks ago, I bought my first pair of good running shoes as a part of my commitment to my initial goal of working up to a thirty minute run. Overwhelmed by enthusiasm and the novel experience of being able to even jog without experiencing excruciating shin pain - something that has always turned me off running in the past - I was literally up and running.

I've started with the Couch to 5K running program, an 8 week training program that builds you up gradually to doing solid 30 minute runs from being totally sedentary. I started on Week 3 using the health club treadmill, and I haven't looked back since. I'm currently on Week 5 Day 3, going on Week 6 - which means I've actually worked my way up to a solid 20 minute run with minimal walking breaks. All of this has been treadmill work because I haven't had time to research outdoor running routes and my current schedule doesn't allow me to do a lot of wandering at the moment, but once my schedule opens up, expect me to be out all the time.

On the downside of things, beginning such a high-impact sport has made my body go into serious protest. My knees, in particular, are on strike and officially hate me.

I now know what morning stiffness feels like. I can almost hear my knees screaming every time I stand up after sitting for so long. My ankles squeak occasionally in accompaniment. My shins organize episodic protests but not quite as frequently.

Okay, okay, I admit I've been a bit of a dunce and, due to my gym addiction problems, haven't really been taking enough recovery days in between increasing my running time. But I have been a good girl about the stretching post-runs and continuing my strength training. The moans-and-groans of my muscles could probably be just a normal reaction to finally being used after happily hibernating for so long.

My friends tell me I just have to be careful that I'm not overdoing things - which means taking more time to recover from my workouts, running or otherwise. (Which is why I am blogging instead of slaving away at the gym right now.) Going for recovery days is actually a challenge in itself, because just the thought, "Hey, I can do this!" actually spurs me on that much further, creaky joints be damned.

The experience has been awesome, and a fitting counterpoint to what this year and this move has been all about.

I can't wait for the day when I'm finally doing my thing along the Swan River foreshore or the Sunset Coast jogging path, wind cool against my face, water on one side, and open road as far as the eye can see.


Manggy said...

YAAAAAY! Go Dr. Claire! Be careful 'bout those knees, though. But good running shoes should protect them, I think.
Eventually you can take different (safe) routes each day para di rin ma-bore sa scenery :)

ness said...

Keep on runnin' Clairebear!! Good exercise!

dr_clairebear said...

@manggy: i know - i'm not getting any younger. once i am more mobile, i plan on wandering perth on foot and in style - with my ipod and my trusty new running shoes!

@ness: i've always wanted to try it, but the calf pain was excruciating. turns out it was because i was scrimping so much on my shoes! :P i loooove my pink and silver brooks. :)

Walking on Water said...

whoa! run mother, run!
no way will i ever know you when you come back. vavavoom!

joe positive said...

good for you! I did couch to 5k 7 years ago, and running is now an integral part of my life. Keep up the good work.