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Save The Knees

22 Jun

While on my trip in Kansas, I spent a lot of time with my coworkers chit chatting over meals and in between meetings. It came up that I went for a run through the area in the mornings, and out came the camaraderie from past-runners who have since hung up their kicks.

One of the women on my team, let’s call her Sharon, said at breakfast “You must’ve run again, you have that glow on your face; gotta love it.” I did run, and I did love it. However, from there the conversation took a different turn over the hour. Another coworker, let’s call him Joseph, spoke up saying “Oh I used to run and play hockey day in and day out… you know, you’re going to ruin your knees that way.”

highlighting my knee area, for demonstration purposes

What? Ruin my knees? This is a topic I’ve been choosing not to face for a few years now. Two years ago I was diagnosed with “runner’s knee“, which is a common pain runners get when piling on too much mileage too soon. It hits you in the middle of a glorious run and forces you to utter obsceneties and feel inferior and old for a week following.

After learning about how to manage that better (by approaching each running season with a little more caution and planning–what a bummer) I’ve been able to avoid pain for the last few seasons. Beyond the runner’s knee though, my knees now crack when I bend down to grab things, or when I stretch before a run.

I relayed this new development to Joseph, “Your knees are already cracking?” he said, “Oh, that’s bad.” Shit. Is it? Does that really mean something’s going wrong? “At this point, I need two new knees,” he said. “Sometimes it hurts just to touch them, and I can’t kneel down with my son, I have to lay on my side.” Sharon sympathized with him, and said very cheerfully, “Oh, don’t scare her.” Then, turning to me, “You still have another good ten years before that happens to you, enjoy them.”

Another ten years until my knees are ruined? Enjoy them?

What will I do if I can’t run? I’m not a great swimmer, and I don’t think I’m interested in becoming one. Yoga is cool, but it doesn’t give me that kick-ass heart racing workout I crave. Should I banish myself to ellipticals? cough. Speed walking? bullshit.

Perhaps, strength training. Perhaps, less focus on miles and more on my overall physical fitness. Maybe more circuits and sprints, and less pounding the pavement for forty-five minutes at a time.

After all, if I don’t make an effort to save my knees now, I won’t be able to do any of those things “in ten years”. And that’s scary, isn’t it?

She Runs Kansas

17 Jun

I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Kansas City watching the ABC Family Channel from a king size bed. This is interesting for a few reasons:

  1. I’m in Kansas?
  2. I don’t have a TV in my apartment.. ohmygod… tv
  3. Just straight chillin.. in a hotel room.

hotel, motel...

Okay, I’m not really just straight chillin. I’m here on a business trip doing some work in between meetings. I’ve been on a great running kick lately, so while packing for this three day adventure, I threw a pair of sneaks and workout clothes in my suitcase in case the hotel had a gym I could use. Once I got here though, I realized I could just run outside!

Yesterday and today I set my alarm for 5am Kansas time–less crazy than it sounds since my body is on NY time which would be 6am–and set out to run from the hotel. I ran down a street called Nall Avenue, and I’m going to estimate I did a 2.5 mile loop. The avenue is more like a highway to me, as it’s very wide and traffic moves fast, but there were traffic lights which was helpful.

#1 most notable thing from a New Yorker running in Kansas: THE AIR. Holy man, the air. It smells sweet and fills up my lungs like an ocean. It’s times like these that make me wonder what growing up in Staten Island and running there, Brooklyn, and Manhattan have done to my lungs. This is fresh, clean air. Hit me like an acme piano over the head (I could’ve said ‘like a ton of bricks’ right there, but that’s so boring).

Also, for some reason i assumed Kansas would be completely flat, but apparently I’m a naive New Yorker because I hit two hills on these runs. Not monster attack hills, but in comparison to flat Manhattan, my calves and lungs were burning. I also packed old kicks I have because they were a little less bulky than my newer ones, and that was definitely a bad idea. Never run in old, worn out sneakers. You will kill your shins and more.

So, off to find Dorothy and Toto back to my Family Channel tv viewing. Yes, I also like chick flicks and the bravo channel.

I Have A Workout Plan, Stan

14 Feb

Dear Stan,

Two weeks ago I blogged about getting my ass in gear and making a workout plan that will get me back into my A game. Since that time, I never made a plan, just took it day by day like I usually do and hoped for the best. What happened was… nothing much happened. Bullocks.

In general, once I reach the two week mark of not working out, I scare myself daily about ideas of how out of shape I am and how hard it will be to start up again. This mindset is such a downer because clearly you can’t get back into it unless you take a step to get there. After a week full of waking up at 6am and planning to do some exercise and failing almost everyday (snooze button greed), I finally decided to pull it together and make a plan.

So, here’s the plan (stan):

Now let me explain the strategy behind this a little bit. I have three goals:

  1. get my running capacity back up
  2. incorporate toning exercises
  3. lose about 5 pounds in the process

To hit goal #1, I kept the mileage at 2-3 miles throughout the whole month. I also wrote “however I want”, meaning if at the beginning I need to walk or slow down, that’s cool, just reach the mileage. Or if I’m at the gym and choose the elliptical instead (fat chance knowing me) that’s okay as long as I meet the 2 miles. Basically I made this plan to allow myself to ease in and not get scared of how out of shape I am. The spinning classes will give me a change of pace during the week and help get my cardiovascular system rockin. Note: I didn’t schedule any days off because I know they’ll happen on their own.

Spinning is also a key element for goal #3. To be completely honest and bare it all (ah) I am at the highest weight I’ve been. Before you flip out and tell me I’m not overweight–i know this. I don’t think I’m overweight and I think I have a pretty healthy view of my body. But, that being said, I reserve the right to want to be in the best shape I can, and I feel a little more comfortable at about 5 to 6 pounds lower than where I am at the moment. I’m not going to obsess over this at all, but it’d be nice.

Now I’ve never had a problem (per se) getting a run in when I want it, but weight training/toning is a weak spot for me. Enter goal #2. I have the strength of a 10 year old girl and pretty much never do any type of workout besides cardio. I’ve dabbled here and there with DVD’s, gym classes, and yoga, but I never really stick to it. If I did, I’d be pretty kickass at this point. Too bad. So, throughout the workout sched* (pronounced skej), “Level 1 Shred” is a 20 minute total body workout from this Jillian Michaels DVD, and 20 mins of Tae Bo is a quick workout from this Billy Blanks DVD. I also threw in that ab class from the NYSC gym. Let’s see if I get ripped.

This is the first time I’ve made a legit schedule for myself. Today is day one, and I’m actually excited about this whole idea. I have to be my own drill sergeant. Although I’m still taking applications for someone else to kick my ass, so email me if you’re up for it. Or if you want to join me, let me know. :)

Love,

Mel

P.S. you’re such a good listener stan.

*Does anyone else make themselves a sched?

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