To Run, or Not To Run

My father had seriously strong legs. He worked out hard core with his brother back in the Bronx – they used to tie the weights to their wrists when doing elevated situps. Then he joined the Marines where being rock solid was kind of part of the uniform. He finished his 30 years in the service in the Army. In his last tour in Korea, my dad would run around the troops as they ran their daily run. He used to run around the perimeter of the entire base on his “off” days, something like 14 or 15 miles.

Dad Vietnam
My dad in Vietnam

Years after my dad left the service, he mostly stopped working out (although his legs stayed strong). Every few months, though, something would remind him of his love of working out and he would go back to a “real” workout – meaning weight lifting. Over and over I’d hear from him a few days later, complaining of serious soreness – not that pleasant, “I worked out” feeling, more like that “holy shit I can’t stand up” feeling – you know the one. I’d give him a hard time for going back too hard, too soon. He’d laugh and agree, and a few months later, we’d repeat the whole thing.

Ok, Edward Aston is from the 20’s, but you get what I mean!
Photo courtesy of Physical Culturist

Meanwhile, I managed to get through many years of working out without many injuries. Even running, my X used to fall down several times a year, but that had never happened to me. I hurt myself in other ways, like falling down those stairs, for instance, but not while actually working out. After moving to SF I fell several times (damn hills) and found myself nursing my poor calves (more damn hills) but still, nothing major. Then I did hurt myself. And guess what? The hardest thing about an injury is NOT the injury itself.

As it turns out, I’m like my dad in this area too. Apparently I can’t figure out the “rest after injury” or the “don’t go back too hard” rules. So, after a couple of missteps, I managed to rest after hurting my back while doing Crossfit. This included no running (yes, I found that out the hard way) and so when I finally got clearance to go back, I was so ready to run! I started slow, just a couple of miles a few times a week. Then I increased to every day. Then I increased my mileage.

What? How quickly did I do all that? Uh, why do you ask? Oh, the experts say to only increase distance by 10%? What do they know? I’ve been running forever and never had a real running injury!

I picked this because of the giant red painburst. Looks painful, huh? Believe me. It is.  Photo courtesy of Angry Orthopod

Yeah, well. Until now.

So now I stand here, wanting to run more than almost anything, but I’m not sure if I should. I did run yesterday, but only 2 miles! I mean, when they say start back slow, what does that even mean?! I mean, by the time I got the pain in my heel, I was up to 4 miles a day. So 2 miles a day is slow, right?

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?


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