Sunday, March 20, 2011 which I face off against the extra 25 and my rut in the couch

I've started that couch-to-5K program. Well, I've started it twice. My first attempt was fine until I sidelined myself for a week with some weird leg swelling thing. After babying my ankle for a couple of days and realizing that I didn't feel better, and after talking to some runners, I figured I was dealing with shin splints.

Okay, so this was discouraging on a couple of levels. First, I had to take some time off. Had to. I had swelling in my calf the likes of which I haven't seen since I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with Charlotte (not 9 months; I was much more swollen than that then). AND it hurt to walk.

Here's the other thing: has it really been so long since I've run regularly that I don't recognize shin splints? Damn.

A week (maybe more like 10 days?) off. Friday on the treadmill was painful, but just because I was sort out of practice...the first week of this plan is intervals of 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking. Now, I hate the treadmill. I had convinced myself that the treadmill was to blame for the leg, that if I could just get off the revolving belt of DOOM, it would be easier.

I woke up this morning at my usual spoiled-girl-weekend hour of 8:00. The sky is that brilliant blue that you only get when the sun is shining, and it's the first day of spring! Why not get outside?

Because pavement is evil, that's why.

I decided to do the loop, which is about 2 miles. I figured that once I got through my 20 minutes of intervals I could walk the rest of the way home. It would be great! I would see birds, feel the sunshine on my face and breathe fresh air....

About 10 minutes in, the pain in my legs was just awful. My right knee, the one I sprained in high school track, ached with every step. I pushed further, egging myself on...childbirth hurts worse than this...nothing worth doing is can totally do this...listening to one of my high-energy iPod playlists.

Finally, cursing Ian Astbury for mocking me and cursing me for putting Fire Woman on the iPod in the first place, I figured I shouldn't hurt myself again. I could just walk! yeah. I'd be home in no time. What's a mile, really?

By the time I made it back here (wishing that there was a way I could crawl on my hands and knees), there were five things I needed. I couldn't decide which to go after first:
  • the bathroom
  • ice
  • water
  • advil
  • stretching
I got all the things on my list, plus a banana, and felt a bit better. I made breakfast, and as I ate my homemade toast, I thought about the things I do that are challenging, and that I haven't always been able to do. Things like baking bread, and knitting, and writing.

I might not be ready for the road yet, but I'll be back on the hamster wheel the day after tomorrow. And maybe I'll be ready to run a 5K by May 7th, and maybe I won't. But trying is far better than hiding under my blanket on the couch and wishing I felt better.

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