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1 0 Posts in running
March 4, 2013

This Bugs Me

This Bugs Me

Saturday was a beautiful warm (nearly summer warm) day here in California. It was only about 7:30 in the morning when my friend Wendy and I went out for a run. It’s worth noting right here that Wendy is tall and me – well – at 5 foot I am officially short.

When we leave our neighborhood we can run a few different ways, but on a sunny day, it’s great to head north and into Huntington Beach because on that route there are no houses along the waterfront so you get the full warmth of the sun and uncluttered views of the ocean and beach and it’s pretty great.IMG_3678

To get there, we have to cross the Santa Ana River. Saturday, at that hour, the tide was very low and the river was less flowing water than a big mud flat. Wendy and I are running and talking and as we cross the river, to my most unpleasant surprise, I get a face full of tiny little bugs. They are in my nose, my eyes, my mouth. Yuk!

I look at Wendy who seems unflustered. Waving my hands in front of my face such that I don’t inhale more insects than necessary I say Aren’t these little bugs making you crazy???

Wendy: What bugs? Continue reading…

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March 3, 2013
March 1, 2013

Can You Learn to Fly?

Can You Learn to Fly?

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. 

~Friedrich Nietzsche

IMG_1377On the short list of reasons why I chose to take up running was a growing fascination I had with runner’s high. Try this experiment at home: poll runners – ones you know, random ones you encounter – about why they run. Almost all of them will describe some version of runner’s high for you.  Watch them carefully when they do. See the dreamy smile they get, the sort of glossy look in their eyes. For a moment, they might seem like they have wandered off to some alternate reality that is much better than wherever they might actually be with you.

When I first started to run, I expected that runner’s high would be one of the more immediate perks – one of the things I would get as a benefit if you will to keep me going. I ran. I waited. I ran. I waited. Maybe I was missing it??? I asked some more experienced runners and was assured that I would definitely not miss runner’s high.

Continue reading…

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June 29, 2012

Runniversary

Runniversary

It is necessary to try to surpass one’s self always: this occupation ought to last as long as life.
~ Queen Christina of Sweden

Technically, I am turning 43 today. But here, I am going to celebrate turning One.

One year ago today I laced up my very first pair of running shoes and I committed to a new course. I decided to start running but, more than that, I decided to run for a year.

Here I am. I have arrived.

When I started this journey, a year sounded like infinity and a half a mile in running shoes felt like a marathon. Today, I sit here hoping to recover from a herniated (ok 3) disc in my back and I finding myself wondering if I could manage to train for a half marathon in the fall if all goes well.

In-between, I have put a lot of miles under my feet and I have learned a whole lot about who I am.

Isn’t that funny? When you are a kid, you think of grown ups sort of like fully cooked humans. They are “done” and you are growing. Adults tell you that all the time don’t they? When you are grown up, you’ll see… But the special secret of grownuphood is that – if you pay attention – there is always more growing up to do.

One thing I learn more and more as I keep growing up is that we can be more or less conscious in this process. I am not saying that we can always choose the lessons or the training grounds, but we can choose how actively we participate in the process. On the surface, I chose running because I got to age 42 and realized that I needed to make a hard commitment to taking better care of my body because it was not getting any younger. (You can read about where I started here.) And I could have just left the decision at that. Lots of people make commitments to exercise right? And they quietly stop them 2 weeks or 2 months later and life goes on.

I chose to run for an entire year because I was looking for something more. Continue reading…

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June 28, 2012

Perspectives on Pain

Perspectives on Pain

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will have been running – and sometimes not running – for a year.

That seems crazy. I am sure I’ll have something more to say about it when I wake up.

Today, I have been just over 24 hours without medication for my back and my whole right leg is very unhappy about that – so it should not surprise anyone that I am going to say something about pain.

Pain is one of the great secretes of running. (and don’t any of you deny it)

When you are a non-runner, you look at runners along the side of the road or on treadmills or wherever and you think: Wow, that looks painful! You might even occasionally ask a runner why they would engage in an activity that looks like it hurts and they might laugh and say: Running doesn’t hurt – it feels great!

When you start running, you quickly learn that pain is just part of what you sign up for. Seasoned runners are kind of like military veterans. They won’t just go about telling everyone about their battle injuries – but once they know you are part of the team they all have a story or 5 or 10 to share because now they know you will understand. You hurt your foot and someone is there to tell you about their chronic plantar fasciitis or their last broken toe. Get hip pain and sure enough you will suddenly find 3 runners to tell you about their bursitis. Knee pain? No worries – five of your new runner friends will tell you about how they came back from that ACL repair and that that was the very thing that pushed them to a new personal record or their first marathon.

And you are going to tell me that running doesn’t hurt???

Running does hurt. Seriously. Let’s just all admit that. But it also feels great and this is the catch. When you pass that point where the feels great part exceeds the part where it hurts you are hooked.

Maybe that’s when you actually become a runner.

At least I can tell you this – ever since this injury got me to the place where I physically can’t run, I miss it all the time. Each and every time I see a runner on the road or the beach or simply tying their shoes, I get a little pang of sadness, envy, longing. I want that to be me.

Here is a true story from this morning. Continue reading…

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May 28, 2012

Of Titles and Name Calling

Of Titles and Name Calling

Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
~ Thomas Paine

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names
~ Chinese Proverb

On Mother’s Day this year  my mom gave me a gift certificate for my favorite running store. The card said “For your new-found passion.” As I was contemplating the cute new running skirt I had just seen in their mailer, I had this thought: My mom thinks of me as a runner.

Almost 43 years ago, and perhaps without even intending to, my mom gave me my first title: Daughter. I still hold that title along with mother, ex-wife, doctor, friend, boss and others. Mostly, I am comfortable with all of them.

Since I started running in June of last year, I have occasionally had someone call me a runner – sometimes seriously, sometimes as a joke. Mostly it has felt awkward and uncomfortable – like a thing I am trying on and I am not sure I am comfortable enough to wear it out in public.

I had a recent conversation about this with another friend who is a doctor. She didn’t understand why I was not comfortable being called a runner after nearly a year. It went like this: Continue reading…

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May 17, 2012
May 14, 2012

Races with Girlfriends

Races with Girlfriends

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.

Oprah Winfrey

So much has changed for me in 11 months of running that it’s hard to wrap my mind around it.

If you had ever ever told me I would even think of entering a race – even months after I started running I might have called you silly to your face. When I first started running, people constantly asked me what I was training for. I quickly realized that this is common conversation between runners – many of whom run (at least in part) so that they can participate in races.

This was a conversation that happened the other day when I was running with a friend. I was a hot day and we were stopped on the side of the path at a drinking fountain. Another runner – I think she was from South Africa – stopped about the same time.

My friend: Hot day, huh?

Other runner: Oh yes!

My friend: Are you out here training for something?

Other runner: Not at the moment…(pause)…but there is always something to train for right!

And she flashes a happy, sweaty smile and takes off. Continue reading…

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May 4, 2012

Laying Low

Laying Low

I am not a patient person when it comes to myself. This might be more true than ever when it comes to my body. Doctors in general are not exactly known for being the best patients, so perhaps this is where some part of my personality come together badly and definitely not for my own good.

Recently, running along the waterfront in Sydney, Australia, I felt a pang in my right calf. I stopped, rubbed it out, slowed down. After an ibuprofen and a long flight back to the US, it seemed fine. I ran on it the following week with the occasional twinge, but nothing horrible. Did some extra stretching, wore my newly beloved compression socks, and tried to suppress the thought that this thing kind of hurt and maybe I should pay attention to it.

Then I flew to Spain. Didn’t run the first couple of days, but when I did…oh…ouch! This time it was a deep pain that would not subside. It was with me the rest of the trip and was only minimally better when I arrived home. Of course (and feel free to quietly laugh to yourself if you have done this too), I chose to ignore this and run again the next day…

Bad idea. But you see the thing was that my 10 year old asked to run with me and he was so sweet and how could I resist. He was equally sweet when he asked if I wanted to lean on him on the way home.

The following morning the pain was still just as bad. Now I am worried.

I text a friend who is an internist: Do I need to worry about DVT?? Continue reading…

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May 1, 2012

Socks…Again

Socks…Again

One can never have enough socks, said Dumbledore. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a pair. People will insist on giving me books.

~ JK Rowling, Philosopher’s Stone

Who would have know that I would develop a sock fetish when I took up running?

To read about where it all started, you can take a peek here at this entry wherein I write about my wonderful discovery of Balega socks. I love Balega socks.

So some number of months ago I had started to notice that after travel, running was harder for a few days. Sometimes, especially after long flights, mt legs would feel sore, heavy and they would ache when I would run. I asked a few runner about this and one – also a business traveler – dubbed this “jet lag legs”.

Great, a new symptom of jet lag. Some people really don’t suffer much from jet lag. I, on the other had can suffer for days – a week sometimes – which occasionally means I am never sure what time zone I am in and I feel like I am constantly adjusting. Now I learn my legs have to go through the same thing.

I Googled jet lag legs.

And low and behold, I found socks. Continue reading…

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