8 Apr 2014, 1:09pm

checking in again

with those goals of mine.

1. run enough to run healthy

i have been in physical therapy for several months now, and I AM RUNNING AGAIN… sort of. a few times a week, i get to spend twenty minutes or so alternating two minutes of walking with two minutes of easy jogging on a soft surface — so far, the 1/3-mile track about ten minutes by bike from my apartment (spoiler alert — i got an apartment!). i have done this a few times so far. the second and third times, i was completely pain-free.

i’m gonna say that again. PAIN-FREE!

the fourth time, my foot started hurting halfway through my planned intervals, so i stopped and went home and stuck it in a bowl full of ice water and sighed.

i’m doing my best to listen to my physical therapist and not push too fast or get too ambitious or impatient — which, it’s worth noting, has been a little difficult. um, before that first PT-approved jog around the track, there was a spur-of-the-moment nighttime half-mile run through my neighborhood that i definitely regretted the next morning, when i was not-so-pain-free.

it turns out that “running healthy” is, for me, not just about running enough to not be undertrained for events (which was my working hypothesis). i have been injured twice now in roughly the same way (soft tissue damage on the tops of my feet near my toes a.k.a. extensor tendonitis), and i am trying my damnedest to understand and modify my running mechanics to hopefully prevent any further injuries.

the other week, my PT videotaped (how’s that for an anachronistic expression? ipadded?) my running gait on the treadmill and showed me how i push off with the sides of my feet, which is putting extra stress on the tendons over there. she told me to focus on pushing off with my big toe, to balance out my body’s tendency to do the opposite. my right big toe — that’s my currently-injured foot — is chronically stiff, to the extent that my PT is theorizing that i’ve got some arthritis in there. at a certain point it’s a chicken-or-egg problem, but my body’s compensation for that problem would go at least partway to explaining my problematic mechanics and my injury. i am stretching it regularly and keeping an eye on it. and i’m considering buying a pair of more cushioned, less flexible shoes, at least for hard surfaces (whenever i’m able to run on those again — sure miss being able to run right outside my door).

i am also working on my strength and balance and all that good stuff. planks 4eva.

2. complete a 50km trail race

i emailed the race director for the smith rock ascent a while ago and dropped down to the 15-mile distance. i’m not sure whether or not i’ll be able to run it. my PT didn’t write off the possibility entirely when i asked her about it, so hey.

i’m not going after this goal too hard. i want to step back and make sure i’m progressing at a healthy, sustainable pace. so maybe my new goal is: train smartly. here are some guidelines i’d like to follow once i’m running regularly again. or, well, now. i am running regularly now. three or four miles a week, two minutes at a time. anyway:

– increase weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week.
– longest run of the week should be no more than 50% of total weekly mileage.
– at least two rest days per week.
– at least every fourth week should be an easier week.
– no shame in maintaining or even decreasing mileage from week to week, according to the feedback i receive from my body.
– no registering for races until i’m running long runs that are at least 80% the length of the race. yup, this might mean missing out on some cool events, and that’s okay. if i’m smart, i’ve got years and years of running ahead of me. i’ll have other opportunities.

i don’t think i can follow those guidelines and run a 50k before the end of the year (not quite). so be it.

i’m not sure i can run that 15-mile race in june if i follow those guidelines, either. i’m bummed.

i ran a marathon a year ago yesterday. the extra six miles from there to 50k are taking longer than i thought they would. but um. it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say?

(from buzzfeed)

3. invest time and money in my photography business and make it awesome

re: time — damn is it ever hard to find time while working full-time at another job. re: money — i just don’t have it right now. see below (move-in costs!), and also above (physical therapy costs money). that said, i’ve spent a couple days recently experiencing what it would be like to be doing photo stuff full time, and it would be pretty fucking great. i have been doing a lot of important but as-yet inconclusive thinking about my career and the direction in which i’d like to move in my working life.

here’s a photo i took this past week of a production of julius caesar at reed:

4. move out of my parents’ place

CHECK! i moved into a studio apartment in mid-february. signed the lease and got the keys on valentine’s day. i love living alone. i love my neighborhood. i love my big ol’ south-facing windows. it’s pretty much everything i dreamed of. i’m still working on making the place what i want it to be — hanging pictures and so on. but it’s getting there. my bathroom is all pink (pink towels, pink bathmat, pink shower curtain, a pink print on the wall). no one has to like it but me.

5. do an unassisted pull-up

working on it. i’ve been climbing at the bouldering gym on a pretty regular basis since december-ish. last weekend i sent my first v3, which felt awesome. a while back i got really frustrated with my foot injury and thought to myself, “damn it, if i can’t run, i’m just gonna climb ALL THE TIME and get really good at that instead.” i guess i tend towards extremes sometimes. i climbed three nights in a row and my arms hurt for days. not in a good way.

i’ve been trying to listen to my body. i have not been super disciplined about doing pull-up practice NO MATTER WHAT because my body has told me that isn’t cool. my elbows were doing this funky pain thing for a while. it might have had something to do with how carelessly i was sitting at my desk at work. not exactly ergonomically, i mean. it’s all related. getting sun and sleep and good eats — all these things will help my body heal and get stronger and let me do the things i want to do with it.

so anyway, i haven’t really checked in on my progress towards this goal in a measurable way in a little while. but i can do negatives/eccentric pull-ups hella slowly. and if i start at the bottom, hanging from my pull-up bar (i put up a pull-up bar in the kitchen doorway of my apartment, of course!), i can noticeably bend my arms a little bit.

6. ride bikes on dirt

the weather is getting nicer and i’m getting psyched for summer. my boss says i can borrow his wife’s old mountain bike sometime.

7. practice vulnerability and intimacy

it’s hard to measure progress on this. i sort of feel like i’m throwing stuff at the walls around me so i can see them. like they’re force fields — the spark when something hits lets me know where they are. i’m trying to be brave, vulnerable, and compassionate with the people in my life, and with MYSELF, which is possibly even harder.

i’m really into brené brown’s book daring greatly, by the way. can’t recommend it enough. here’s a sneak preview of sorts.

i love hearing about your life. this post was inspiring.

Ohhhhh, I haven’t done any trail running since I fled West Virginia. I need to find trails in my new home and quit making excuses. Thanks for the inspiration!



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