Don’t tell my shins, but I left the bags of frozen peas at home.

I know, I know – I wasn’t supposed to start running until August. But see, here’s the thing: all of my friends are running long distances or training for big runs and I love – love – hearing about it. It inspires me. It makes me want to be out there. It fills my heart with…well, with whatever the runner’s equivalent of wanderlust is. So that was going on. Then there’s the fact that I bought new running shoes two weeks ago and my first test run didn’t go so well. (My shoes are a half-size bigger than I normally wear and even though the person who was measuring me said you’re supposed to wear a half-size bigger than usual, the right shoe still felt like it was sliding a bit.) So I really needed to take a second test run, just a mile, to see if I needed to bring the shoes back or not.

And that is how I came to be all dressed and ready to go at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. Hey, I was excited! It might not be an ungodly hour for you, but it is certainly an unusual hour for me to be up and running on a weekend. Especially when I didn’t get to bed until well after midnight. And yet, there I was. Bouncing on my toes and stretching and ready to go already.

My run was good. I was filled with energy, I was keeping up a good clip, and I was able to push through that first exhaustion point. Despite the fact that I haven’t really run at all this summer, I was running at an 11-12 minute mile pace – not to far off from my usual. And that’s when the wheels fell off the wagon. In my push to finish strong (damn you Jillian Michaels, for yelling in my ear), I must have paced faster than I have before, because don’t you know when I finally crossed that mile marker and stopped my activity, RunKeeper was cheering that I had won a medal for a personal record, with my speedy finish. Huzzah!

There was cheering! There was joy over the fact that my knee felt good and I hadn’t done any damage (that I could see) for cheating the August start date a little. I felt strong and happy for getting out and running again. It was just a little teaser mile, but it made such a difference in how I felt about myself. My shoes felt so much better than they had the first run, too; I was only a little conscious of the fit of my right shoe just at the beginning. When it came down to crunch time and I was focusing on finishing strong, I didn’t think about my sneaker even once. So I started thinking that maybe it was just a matter of transitioning into new sneakers. Which was the final straw…

Between the doubt about keeping or returning my sneakers and that shiny, shiny medal that RunKeeper kept waving in my face, I made a questionable decision… I went for a run yesterday morning, too. My shins were a little sore from Saturday, but not bad. The tendons and muscles you use to move your feet up and down when you’re walking were much sorer. But I needed to be really sure about my sneakers, I argued with myself. And…truth be told…I really wanted to see if I could shave the tiniest bit of time off my record from the day before. What can I say, I’m ridiculous sometimes.

So, yesterday morning, off I go. A bit later in the morning because I had slept in, but still. I was motivated! And ready! And so going to do this! I probably shouldn’t admit this, but almost right away I noticed that my knee was aching when I ran. It disappeared quickly, and it could just be that it was working through a little necessary PT. But it happened…not that I listened to what it was saying at all. I still pushed myself. I still ran like a maniac. I had one goal and one goal only: beat my time. Oh! Wait! And the sneakers! Yes, I had to make sure my sneakers were okay. And they were – I might have done a quick analysis once right before I decided I didn’t care if they got dirty anymore and stopped being so picky about where I put my feet down on the running path, but that was it. I wanted to focus on being speedy. I experimented with lengthening my stride and with sprinting, and something must have worked because I finished my mile at 10 minutes. Ten! minutes! That might be average for everyone else, but it’s lightningfast! for me. I felt awesome! So much so, in fact, that as I got closer to home, I decided to start a new activity just so I could clock myself in a deadout sprint – I wanted to see how fast it was. It was pretty impressive (again, for me) if I do say so myself – if I had’ve kept it up, it would have been a 7-minute mile. I know people who run miles at that pace for entire runs and I have no earthly idea how they do it! But I know why – sprinting is more fun than just about anything. I have to get stronger so I can do that more! My sprint there at the end was a full five minutes faster than I usually run, and the closest thing I can compare it to is that it felt like being on an amusement park ride that I was powering myself. Silly, yes, but… that rush was intense!

Which brings us full circle back to my shins. Ow, my poor shins. They were complainy all day yesterday after the abuse they’d endured. I can’t say I blame them much. And it wasn’t just my shins – my ankle-tendon things, my hips, my feet – everyone had a voice yesterday afternoon. I designated two bags of frozen peas as shin-guards and kept them on most of the afternoon, and that helped. So did IcyHot when I had to let the peas re-freeze. But I refused to smell like an old man with the IcyHot today at work, and I didn’t think typing at my desk with my legs up and frozen produce balancing precariously was really going to work, so…

My shins are on their own today. And it’s back to 30-Day Shredding, at least for the week. I’d complain about giving in, but I’m pretty sure my shins have got that covered.

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2 Responses to “Don’t tell my shins, but I left the bags of frozen peas at home.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Silly Girl! What a feeling though and such a great way to find your happiness. I did a 4 mile walk in 95 degree heat plus humidity last week and was thrilled when I maintained a 15 minute mile pace through the entire walk. I was dead for the rest of the day, but I get it. Do take care of yourself though – mmm-K?

  2. Lisa Says:

    I totally know how great it feels to be running again after injury (I was down for 8 months), you don’t have any of the aches and pains that accumulate so you just feel fresh and great! Make sure you ice your knee, though, and don’t jump back in full speed ahead or you’ll end up regretting it later (been there, done that). It can be tricky to find (Amazon carries it now, though, which helps), but Biofreeze is a runner’s best friend. It is great stuff and doesn’t smell like IcyHot or any of the other similar stuff. Happy running 🙂

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