October 17, 2014 by scratchtype1
The first run this year happened New Year’s Day, when I wore winter gear because it was cold, upper 20s, and I covered about 6.2 miles. Then, because of the then unknown fact that we were about to go through the worst winter I’ve ever seen around here, I didn’t run again until the 7th of January. It was tough to find running time in January, I only ran 12 times and did around 70 miles. February, even though the weather wasn’t all that much better, somehow yielded more time to run in its span of 28 days and I went slightly over 100 miles with 19 days of running. Then March was miserably cold, snowy and wet, and I caught a cold, so I ran only around 16 times for 70 miles.
April got off to a bad start. I caught my second cold just shortly after feeling good again after the cold in March. I ran my only race so far this year while feeling the first sniffles of that cold and eased my way to my second fastest 5K ever, not running it fully hard. But when finally free of viruses, I began a running on April 12th and for April I ran around 105 miles. I was finally getting in front of the mileage needed to run more than 1000 miles in a year. The running streak continued in May and I put up my then biggest mileage month ever with 165.9 miles, which was a ridiculous amount for me. I felt good about that.
Then June came and I continued to run every day. June’s total would end up at 189.1 miles and a record-high week of 52.7 miles. July was next and I was looking at the possibility of a running streak of 100 days if I ran every day through July 20th. But somewhere during the second week of July I began to feel some discomfort in the left hip while running. I would feel it at the start of the runs. To try to keep running but not aggravate it more, I began walking some distance to start my runs on level ground instead of the downhill. But it kept growing progressively worse and finally after a run on the 17th where the discomfort did not totally vanish while running and afterwards even when walking, I ended the streak at 97 days and almost 540 miles. So began the period of rehabilitation, which meant greatly reduced running. I still ran more than 150 miles in July when I went a little crazy with a 15+ mile run near the end of the month.
But August I was good at letting the hip heal and I ran only 5 times for about 30 miles. The hip felt a lot better and felt just about perfect when after almost 2 weeks of no running, I began to run again September 10th. I was still careful during that time and ran only 50 miles during the last 21 days of the month. Now in October I can say I’m running regularly again, but carefully listening to the hip. I recently did a 4 day streak of running, where I felt it was a little tweaked after the 4th day. I rested a day and ran 2 consecutive days with no problem. Then I took yesterday off because of the wet weather, then I ran this morning. The hip felt good and after I completed mile 3, I could finally say I had joined the 1,000 miles of running in a year club. Which is no huge amount compared to some runners, but feels like a fine accomplishment for me. I’m not a fast runner, I’ve never been fast. I think also that running has taught me that I have some sort of fundamental asymmetry to my body somehow. All my running injuries have been on the left side — the broken ankle in late 2006/early 2007, what felt like a developing stress fracture in fall 2008, a little bout of plantar fasciitis in 2009, and the left hip trouble of this year. Plus since I’ve begun running barefoot as much as I do, I’ve learned that I’m still learning how to run properly. Early on I would tend to lose flesh off the outside of my left pinky toe. I don’t do that anymore, but now I sometimes have trouble with blistering and losing skin off the outside edge of the left foot behind where the left toe connects. The fact that my left side is weaker and less coordinated may always remain a stubborn fact and one that I will always have to be mindful of.
But I also kind of hope that if I continue to run it will help teach and develop symmetry, especially with the barefoot miles, when the soles of my feet and their nerves complete the feedback loop to teach me how to run, how to run like I should have learned had I not worn shoes when I was a kid. It’s a tougher proposition to learn that when you’re over 40 years old and you have all those old habits.
Hopefully I can stay healthy and maybe get over 1300 miles before the year ends. I’m still learning how to run and that’s just fine.