Another post so soon! A few people have asked why this running blog changed into a regular blog. Simple answer: I am not running right now, but I have not lost that spirit or the love of writing. Here’s what happened. After being a big …
Last night my husband and I watched Nick Offerman’s “American Ham” comedy show. Spiking throughout the routine were themes of getting outdoors and appreciating nature, with the lest segments giving a thumbs up to getting intoxicated (after working hard) and the thrill of admiring something …
Earlier in the week I tweeted about getting excited about running in some “incredible storms” Vancouver was supposed to get. This running generation will go down into history as the ones who practiced their sport in elements that are tied to climate change rather than the good old-fashioned single weather events and storms from the past. Don’t believe me? Just do a search about it.
Anyway, where I run we did not get the incredible storms. They hit west of us on the island and in North Van. Tuesday we did get hints of the sub-tropical storm that came through in waves, only my run happened in an odd pocket of still dryness between the rain and wind; it was the muggiest, warmest (for December), uncomfortable morning. I just had no energy and wondered how I will fare as a summer runner. I guess the one thing I could do, which I don’t do yet, is to carry water with me.
This morning’s run marked the first run of my last week of the c25K program. All I can say is: WOO! What a relief that that I have made it this far, despite a few bumps, and that I have hit the 30-minute straight running mark, and that there are just two more of these runs to go before the end of the program. Today’s run was much better; it was colder and did rain toward the end. What a sweet rain, the kind that falls straight down and steady. Felt so good. That’s what life is about, just being out there in nature exercising your body and mind.
Now I am wondering how to next proceed. I still cannot picture myself a “real” runner, though my pace is improving. I read forums where real runners do marathons through Death Valley or run through mountains or run one hundred miles. However, you never know.
I think my next goal will be a continuance of these 30 minute runs three times a week while continuing to improve my pace, and then maybe begin to increase my time on the weekend. Pretty soon I will hit 10 miles a week if I continue at this pace. I want to get to the point where I am done fighting the soreness and tiredness I feel during these 30-minute runs and increase my stamina. I could definitely picture myself on a long-distance run if my body cooperates.
For most runners starting with the C25K program, week 5, day 3 is the big milestone. It’s a straight 20 minute run, which, depending on your speed, is a good mile and a half or two, maybe more. I did this on Saturday morning, marveling at the clouds, the leaves, the oncoming rain. I didn’t have much of a problem with it, really. A little over halfway in, I felt a little tired but actually gained some sort of second wind toward the end and was surprised when it was over. That night I celebrated with a couple bourbons and some Joni Mitchell.
This week–week six–went back to intermittent shorter runs (but still longer than the earlier week 5 runs), which I think then end in week 7, where the last two weeks are straight longer runs that lead to 5K straight.
I have to say I really enjoy running. I look forward to it.
Over the weekend I got sick and pushed my first run this week to today instead of yesterday. I kept thinking in the back of my mind that I should have done more stretches after that 20 minutes on Saturday! Sure enough, toward the end of the run today, my left leg, which had been stiff from the start, began aching, primarily along the gluteus maximus and iliotibial tract (knee area). I just kept going, determined, but now I am feeling it. Afterward I went to the gym to stretch the gluteus on a leg/weight machine there. But I have no ice and cannot wait to go home, put some ice on it, and do more stretches.
Anyway, not as many deep thoughts today about things. I’m a little achy, tired from a cold, etc. My thoughts were concentrated on the pure physical part of the run and on the pain toward the end, and on whatever that steel determination is to just go further until it’s over. I realize how silly it sounds for someone running relatively short distances compared to many runners, but everyone starts somewhere!
Onto a different subject, I recently come across Run For One Planet. They are based in Canada, have strong ties to Vancouver, and host events for runners now and then. I might want to get involved in an event next year or the year after. I think it might take a while to organize, so I’m talking to some people about such a run. Donations go toward a legacy fund that educates children about the environment. Just a thought for now.
They say now is the time to book your first 5K to give you incentive to keep going after the training program ends. It will end in November, and I don’t think there are many races around then–not until spring. I would like to do the 10k in April.
Welcome to the new running blog.
My husband is the best
Over the weekend I accompanied my husband to Seattle for a half-marathon.
Let me back up here. In January 2013 my husband began a “couch to 5K” running program. At that time he was about 60 pounds heavier and loved eating chips while sitting on the couch. I am not sure what motivated him to start this program, or more–that he actually continued with it and is running half-marathons! But whatever that thing is that makes people to do such things is something I admire. Around the same time I began walking and working myself up to jog some while walking, but I developed plantar fasciitis pretty badly and then, later, fell down some stairs and fractured my spine in three places (which is still healing). Anyway, he continued to run and I gave up on it.
He has been talking a lot about Matthew Inman (the “Oatmeal”) comics, all about running. The Seattle race (where people chose to run 10K, half-marathon, or full-marathon) was called “Beat the Blerch”. The blerch is this white doughy character who is the devil’s advocate for doing lazy things and not running, like eating cake and making excuses. I read the newest book by Matthew on our drive home; because of this trip I missed the people’s climate march in Vancouver.
I’ll tie this into climate change in a second, but I will say that this is the best book I’ve read all year. Not really the best literary book, but the best inspirational book. Matthew isn’t stuck on himself. He is also funny. He is down-to-earth. It is hard to believe that a comic can be inspirational, but it is. More so even than the race itself. Though I found that it wasn’t the obviously fit people running that motivated me; it was the older people, the overweight. If they can do it, I can!
At the marathon I did not race. I walked around taking photos and then edited part of a book. I wished I would’ve been fit enough to run. I would’ve been good to mostly walk the 10k, but I didn’t.
Let me point out here that my husband is not awesome just because he ran the half-marathon for the third time ever, and beat his previous time by over 20 minutes, but because he is a nice, loving, patient, easy-going person whom I trust and love very much.
My own blerches
When I was a kid, teenager, and young adult, I was in great shape. I won the 600-yard dash woman’s division in 6th grade! Beat that. I also ran all the time. Even when most people walked, I ran. In high school Dad used to take us to a nearby state park, where I’d run the trails for miles and miles. I was always thin, even after pregnancy and childbirth. But one thing plagued me, beginning in 4th grade. I was running somewhere, and all of a sudden my heart began racing. This is the scariest event that ever happened to me. It wasn’t just a fast heartbeat, like what happens naturally when people run or exercise. I was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, where the abnormal electrical impulses in my heart caused random and very fast heart beats. Whenever I experienced this (and sometimes my heart would go quite over 200 beats per minute), I got dizzy, nauseated, really scared, and had to stop running. As a younger person, this happened only when I was doing extreme exercise–not even like just jogging but sprinting. So naturally I began to get scared that it would happen and stopped running.
As an adult, this also began to happen when I was just sitting idly, generally ending up with a trip to the emergency room to get my heart rate back to normal, because it stopped fixing itself naturally. At one point they were going to use paddles on me, but luckily my heart returned to normal from other drugs they were giving me. More than once I had adenosine, which from what I understood, stopped and restarted my heart. What a weird feeling.
Finally in the fall of 2012 I had an ablation, which fixed this problem permanently–at least so far. Thank you, Canada health care!
But by now I had gone downhill in a few health departments. My heart is healthy, as are my lungs and everything else that is vital. But I have diabetes and finally had to go on medication just this year. That, and getting older, and becoming sedentary throughout the years is not a good combination. It’s not that I don’t exercise, but it’s that I don’t do it enough. I also smoked for years. Then I quit cold turkey in 2006 when I got married. My husband didn’t smoke, and I figured he might not like to kiss a chimney-mouth. Because he is awesome he had never once complained before, but I took it upon myself to be awesome back to him.
Despite all this, I feel way more fit than I have in a long time. I keep active and walk a lot, despite the fact my plantar fasciitis is a bitch. I did the Vancouver Sun Run in 2013 and went on a long rainforest hike the very next day (and then a weekend later could barely move). So, inspired by my husband’s couch to half-marathon, inspired by Matthew Inman’s “beating the blerch”, and I have to mention also being inspired by husband’s Aunt Linda (who is in her 60s and still runs every week), I decided to beat my own blerch.
And while I made this decision, I was feeling guilty for having not made it to the climate march this past weekend. But, I thought, if you can’t fix yourself, how can you fix the planet? Perhaps the planet is beyond saving as far as the climate goes, but we can’t give up, can we? If I, a middle-aged women with diabetes, problems with my feet, and assorted other pains and annoyances, can say “it’s not too late” to work on myself, then we as a population can say the same, right?
The body as an ecosystem
When I wrote Back to the Garden (as pen Clara Hume), one of the themes in the novel was that several characters were broken–as was their planet. Each dealt with personal demons. One had a communication breakdown with her mother and needed to fix it. Another had killed a man in self-defense. One couple lost a child. One character had a weight problem and was struggling to deal with it. Another lost her father and mother as a young child and, growing up lost in a wilder world, didn’t know whom to trust–especially after getting raped; this character then became mute. Another character had been a famous, rich actor once and lived greedily, and then lost his family and, like everyone, had to adapt to great losses in the world. Another had lived with unrequited love for most of his life. Another lost her parents.
We each, every single one of us, faces not so cool events. My objective in the book was that we have to redeem ourselves before being able to have the emotional and physical and intellectual capacity to redeem our planet. And even if we cannot stop climate change–which we cannot now, according to most scientists–we can continue to fight it, which will make our lives, and our children’s and their children’s lives, and so on, healthier and happier. Like Matthew Inman points out in his book, our natural state of mind seems to call for lazy comfort, but real life isn’t that way. And, the way I see it, lazy comfort all the time is not sustainable for either us our planet. No other species is that way, though all definitely have playtime. Where did we get off course?
Our bodies are ecosystems. Livers, hearts, water, blood, kidneys, skin, hair–all of it. If one thing goes out of whack, other parts can be affected, just like on the planet. I feel lucky that I still have most parts intact. Maybe my pancreas is screwed up, but I have it easy compared to so many people in this world. Thing is, I guess, I just want to make the best of my time here on Earth. If I take care of myself, I think it’ll help me be better at taking care of the world around me. And it’s cool because there’s billions of others on this planet that can work together to do that. It’s not something we’re alone in.
100 years to live
Today I began my couch to 5K program, which wasn’t too agonizing, yet. I walked for 20 minutes and ran for about 10. The times get longer the more you go. I don’t have lofty ambitions. Neither do I want to fall to rationalizing reasons not to continue this. Cake and agony will not stop me! I am too aware, however, that if my foot starts falling apart I may have to stop running. But if I can’t run, I’ll move my legs. Somehow. Just watch me!
I have no idea what Matthew Inman thinks of climate change, but he has some good, practical advice for beating the blerch. One of my favorites is that he is imperfect and we can be too. He pokes fun of the “baked potato” types who use tanning beds and have the perfect abs. My favorite advice in his book is not to be that person. Don’t fall into a tanning bed. Fall into love (or out of love). Fall into something meaningful. His book is about doing something great while still being someone real. His book is about beating your own demons/addictions even though it’s okay if you have cake sometimes. Just don’t have cake all the time. I love cake, but of course already dropped it due to diabetes.
One of the things he points out is the peace and expansive solitary thoughts when running. My husband has noted this too, and I have too in the past when both running and walking. It’s calming, even if you are in agony at times when running (Matthew notes that it’s pain that you control, unlike other pains you have no control over–so there’s that). I don’t think he listens to music when running, but I do.
100 Years, by Five for Fighting, came up today on my playlist, on my first day of couch to 5K. It’s a song I really enjoy. It goes through all years of life in the perspective of one man, but it’s something we can all relate to. The song says that there is still time for us to be 15. I liked that, as when I was 15 I was still young, my tachychardia was somewhat under control, and I had all my life ahead to dream about. It is now much later, and it’s important to me to be able to dream ahead. There’s still life ahead, though who knows how much–the fact is, the present is as much a part of my future as is my future. And we do have today.
Not all of us live to be 100, but if I do, I have a lot of years ahead of me. 100 years to live is the one line that keeps coming back to me. We have 100 years, or maybe less, sometimes more, to fix ourselves and fix the planet–or at least live with ourselves and with our planet.
Let’s fall into something meaningful while living with ourselves and with our planet.