The Road to 10K

Bad blogger.  It’s 13 days into November and this is my first post of the month.  I have had a bit of a writer’s block, struggling to come up with a catchy phrase or topic to write about.  It’s not for lack of interesting cases coming through my office door or hilarious antics from my children.

I’ve been focussed on work and on running.

I haven’t written about running in a while.  Back in September, I developed some lateral knee pain which most of my running friends told me was probably related to a tight IT band.  They were right!  I saw a physiotherapist and after a few sessions and advice on changing my running gait, the pain disappeared and I was back on track.  I continued to run intervals of 5:1 and got my 5K down to about 35 minutes.

Then I saw a patient who is a marathon runner and we talked about running.  He suggested that I run for time, not distance. His feeling was that if I learn to run for 45 minutes, eventually the distance will come.  It was an interesting challenge. I was curious to see if I could run for 20 minutes without stopping.  So one night in October, I had only about 20 minutes to run, so I went out and did it.  The next run was 25 minutes, and the one after that was 30 minutes.  Boo ya!  I could do it!  Damn, those runs felt great.

Then Plaguetober hit and I got into a running rut. I went almost 8 days without running and boy, was I feeling sluggish.  It took a few runs to get back into it and I hadn’t felt the soreness and stiffness in my legs for a while. I didn’t like that feeling.   I had dropped a good 6 lbs from the stomach flu, so I was keen to get back to work and keep those extra pounds off.  However, with a recent mini-vacation away to celebrate my mother’s 72nd birthday, I don’t think that was a realistic goal!  (haha!)

Anyway, I was ready for a good run.  I mapped it out in my head and my goal was 6km.  And I did it by running  6-7 minute intervals (with 1 minute walk breaks).  I can’t describe the euphoric feeling when I looked at the MapMyRun app and saw that I finished 6.2km in 44 minutes.  YES!!!  I am by no means anywhere close to that marathoner but for me, having never run before, and basically getting up off the couch to 6km in 4 months is something I am beyond proud of.  Having my daughter ask me, “Mommy, are you going out for a run?”  – well, it’s the best thing in the world.

My brother asked me recently what my goal was.  A marathon?  I told him I had no set goal in mind.  I am just running to keep healthy and feel good.  But the more I think about it, the more I think I’d like to be able to say I can run 10k.  Maybe when I reach that goal, I’ll say that I want to run a half-marathon.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that I’m just going to run.

Advice – or, the art of avoiding it

Do as I say, not as I do. Pretty simple, especially for parents.  This also applies to doctors as well.  Recently a patient reminded me of it.

During a check up, I routinely ask patients about their exercise and diet habits.  I review the medications they take, both prescription and over-the-counter (including vitamins).  I reminded one patient to in her late 40s to take Vitamin D.  She then asked me, “Do you take it?”   Hmm… well, I’m not in my late 40s, so the reasons I suggested it for her do not apply to me (she is peri-menopausal).  And I told her this.  But she persisted.  So, I admitted that no, I don’t routinely take Vitamin D.  I do give it to the kids, and when I remember, I give myself a few drops. That’s when she said, “Do as I say, not as I do, right?”

Which brings me to exercise.

Exercise:

1. bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health: Walking is good exercise.

2.something done or performed as a means of practice or training: exercises for the piano.

3.a putting into action, use, operation, or effect: the exercise of caution.

4.a written composition, musical piece, or artistic work executed for practice or to illustrate a particular aspect of technique.

5.Often, exercises. a traditional ceremony: graduation exercises

I ask my patients regularly about exercise.  I am often quite impressed how many of my patients actually do fit in exercise in their busy lives, be it by riding their bike to work, working out at lunch or waking up extra early to get a workout/run/jog in the morning.

I have been talking about getting back on the exercise bandwagon for months now.  Literally, months.  First,  I was going to get a gym membership.  Then my husband convinced me to save my money and just start running.  So, I thought about running for a while.  Never actually tried it, just thought about it.  Oh, and then he reminded me of all those Gilad workout tapes I have in the basement.  I have used them – about a year ago!

Then I remembered I had a bike.  So, this week, I got my bike fixed and rode it home yesterday after picking it up at the bike shop. It was a 15 minute ride home.  I was huffing a bit, back of my throat hurt, my ass hurt at the end and my legs were burning.  15 minutes, people!  I am so embarrassingly out of shape.  I take the four flights of stairs up to my office on most days and it’s not getting any easier.  A girlfriend of mine keeps asking me to go running with her – she’s run 1/2 marathons!  I wouldn’t last 5 minutes with her.  I’d probably need an ambulance to take me home.

Sigh … I know exercise is good for me.  I know it will help shave off those last 10 lbs I need to get back to pre-pregnancy #2 weight.  I just can’t get motivated.  It’s so unlike me.  I used to have such discipline when it came to exercise.  Back in residency I would go to the gym 4-5 times a week, I was in the best shape of my life.  But now?  It’s far easier to plop myself down on the couch and cross stitch for hours on end at night.  Help me, blogosphere… motivate me!