Literally, in this case.
Running is one of those things I don’t like to do because I feel like I’m terrible at it every minute that I’m doing it. Shin splints, labored breathing, red in the face, and pouring sweat. There’s no single moment that it doesn’t suck. Needless to say, it’s been a few years since I tried to convince myself that I might not TOTALLY hate it. I figured I was getting a good bit of cardio work in high intensity interval classes alongside regular strength training sessions, and walking everywhere all the time. But that was at home in DC. Here in Dar, my baseline walking around activity level is pretty darned low: 4,000-6,000 steps a day instead of 12,000-15,000. So I figured I should pair the basic strength training I do on my own with some treadmill work. Stuck to mostly walking for a good month, with a few high speed sprints here and there to finish if I was feeling particularly energetic, but nothing structured.
I started the third week of the Couch-to-5K program tonight. The first two weeks were, dare I say, easy? Certainly it was less tedious than I remembered and surprisingly gave me no shin splints. I didn’t hate it! Amazing! Go me!!! So of course, it couldn’t stay that simple. Each time I ran an interval longer than 2 minutes tonight, I’d start to get a familiar pain on the right side of my lower back. Hmmm. This is a pain I’m familiar with from certain strength exercises where I’m prone to back hyperextension – lunges of all kinds, bridges, kettlebell swings, etc. But I’d never encountered it in running before. I tried being more conscious of my posture while running, but that didn’t seem to help, but it eased off during the walking intervals. Sigh. I’ll have to work on some more stretching.
I’m certainly not down or out, but irritated that the string of stubborn injuries/quirks I’ve picked up in the last couple years continues to thwart my efforts to go all out at anything. The back pain has been around in various forms for a few years; I’ve tweaked my shoulder a few times doing pushups at just the wrong angle, and my knee hasn’t been right since I rolled my ankle in Cameroon a year ago. The knee hasn’t gotten worse in Tanzania, thankfully, but I’ve been pretty consistent about post-workout icing. Mostly I’ve just adapted to working with, through, and around these issues by modifying exercises, using the foam roller and softball to work out the muscle kinks, and resting when needed. Maybe I’m just getting old. Whatever…keep on keeping on!