Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The post about running, running and more running

Around 230 pounds                               Around 165 pounds

  • Besides what I eat day to day and whether or not I've had weight loss/skin removal surgery, the next most common question I get asked is about running. I have answered this in the past, but it's been a while since I dedicated a post to running, so for those of you wondering, here is my running history, in abbreviated form.
  • I started my weight loss journey at around 300 pounds. Two hundred and ninety-seven to be exact. I lost 67 pounds in 7 months and my weight loss began to slow. I knew I had to start doing some form of exercise to kick start things again. Enter the Learn to Run program through the Running Room. That is how I started running. I ran 3x per week for 10 weeks and started by running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes. The next week we ran for 1 minute and walked for 1 minute, then ran for 2 minutes and walked for 1 minute. The running time increased each week, the minute walk always stayed the same. By the end of the 10 weeks, I could run for 10 minutes straight and run 5K. Honest to God, I could barely run for a whole minute without feeling like I was going to expire when I first started running. I'm not going to sugar coat things. Learning to run was one of the hardest things I've ever done. 
  • If it wasn't for the constant encouragement of my clinic instructor Carol, I likely would have given up. But Carol believed in me which made me believe in myself. Prior to taking the LTR clinic, I never did any kind of physical activity. I lived the majority of my life morbidly obese and avoided exercise at all costs. Building up the cardio to run was uncomfortable and challenging. But I promised myself I'd see the LTR clinic to fruition. I told myself that if running wasn't my thing once the 10 weeks was over, I'd move onto something else.
  • By the end of the 10 weeks I lost 25 pounds and was hooked on running. I joined the 5K clinic and by the time that clinic was done, I lost another 25 pounds. So my weight loss certainly kick started again and I had the running bug. Even though it was hard to begin with, I became more confident as a runner and started setting all kinds of running goals for myself. I even started teaching other new runners the Learn to Run Clinic. 
  • Running has not come without it's challenges. I have been running for 2.5 years now. During that time, I have never run pain free. I noticed discomfort in my feet about 3 months in. After ignoring it for a spell, I finally got assessed by a podiatrist. I was referred to many specialists, and I was eventually diagnosed with Morton's Neuroma. This condition makes it painful for me to run long distance (10k+). And I have been told that there is no treatment for my condition. The steroid shots and surgery would put an end my running. So I choose to run with pain. I've gotten used to it. And you likely think I'm nuts, unless you are a runner. And just to clarify, running does not make the condition worse. It's just painful.
  • Running has also changed my body in a way that surprised me. It firmed me up in a way I wasn't expecting. I still have my problem areas, but my legs are strong and I have little loose skin on my stomach. You actually use 4 stomach muscles when you run. Who knew? I will perpetually have a weak ass though unless I work my glutes at the gym. Runners are known for their weak asses.
  • I am a distance runner. I run half marathons (21.1K). My furthest distance was 30K last March in a local road race. I start training for that again next month. I'd like to run a marathon one day, but may not be able to run the whole thing due to the Morton's Neuroma. I have to try though. I'd like to say I did at least one marathon.
  • Right now I am not my healthiest. I am dealing with a lot of injuries. Aside from the Morton's Neuroma which is chronic, I also have an old hamstring injury that is nagging me again, neck and back pain from weight training at the gym, and just a week ago I was diagnosed with the early stages of Plantar Fasciitis on my right foot. On Halloween morning, I fell down the stairs and twisted my left ankle. The swelling is almost gone and it caused me to rest for 4 days in a row. Today I run though. I need to. I'm feeling no worse at this moment than I usually do when I run, but emotionally, I need to run. It's been too long. 
  • Running is not for everyone. I didn't know it would be for me until I tried. And now that I'm running 5 days a week (when I'm not injured), it has become part of me and my daily routine. I plan my days around running. I'm a morning runner which means that I get up early to run when the streets are still empty and quiet. It's my time and something I actually look forward to. I am also blessed because I have a team of professionals that keep me running. A physiotherapist, chiropodist, and massage therapist all make it possible for me to run, as do great work benefits. 
  • Why so much effort you ask? Because I'm a runner and it's something I'm passionate about. It's a part of my identity and it's an important addition to my lifestyle and my maintenance plan. You don't have to be a runner, but it's worth your while to find an activity you enjoy. The endorphins I get from a good workout is more addictive than anything I could eat. That's the honest to God truth and why I run outdoors all year round. Even when it's -25C. So find your sport. Any physical activity is good for the heart and I promise, you'll never feel bad after a work out. But the turmoil I feel from missing runs can be soul breaking. And that is why I make running a priority in my life.