Saturday, March 29, 2008

Minor Milestone

I started running again a few months ago--after a twenty-four year hiatus. That's a long time to go without lacing up the track shoes. It feels good to push myself this way again. For a long time I didn't think it was even worth trying to run, because my joints just didn't seem to want to cooperate with the process. I have these freaky knees that turn in and don't line up with my feet. It was always a challenge when I danced ballet, and even more of one when running. All that pounding on the joints made them scream a little too loudly. Okay, a lot too loudly. So, I gave it up, and stuck to hiking. A breakthrough happened last fall, though. I found these amazing squishy balls that when you lay on them (that's it, just lay on them and relax) loosen up the joints so much that they don't seem to have the same problems that made running a thing of the past. I also got some advice from a marathoner I know about technique that has really helped me keep my joints happier during a good long workout.

You might wonder why, after all these years, I even want to pound my body that way. Who's crazy enough to start running again in their forties? Yes, I know I'm a little touched in the head, but I have several good reasons for wanting to keep in shape. First off, both my parents developed heart problems at very early ages. My mom had a (non-fatal) heart attack in her twenties, and all six of her siblings and both her parents had heart disease issues when they died. That is reason enough right there to take fitness a bit more seriously than the average couch potato. Another reason is a theory I've developed lately regarding my allergies. My environmental allergies are severe enough to hinder my lifestyle significantly. Fevers and migraines and no end of general sickness and fatigue are common doings in my life. It affects me and, worse from my perspective, it affects my husband, and there hasn't seemed to be anything I could do about it. I've been told by several doctors that what it comes down to is that my liver simply doesn't process out toxins well enough, and so my immune system has gotten turned on too high, thinking that everything from perfume to pollen is an invading enemy. I don't understand it all, but it has gotten me thinking of ways to try to rid myself of those toxins in a way that bypasses my liver. Thus, the running. My theory is, if I get myself to sweat like crazy for a few hours a week, maybe that will "wash" some of the things I'm allergic to out of my system. It actually seems to be working. I'm recovering from allergic situations much more quickly, am generally stronger and more energetic, and, most amazing and wonderful thing of all, I haven't had a migraine in over a month!! This is a major source of rejoicing and celebration here chez meow.

Anyway, here's my minor milestone. Today I ran five miles straight, no stopping. I've run that far in spurts, with walking rests in between stretches of running, but this is the first time in two decades I've made it so far in one swell foop. It wasn't even that hard. Since I know other people who run 26.2 miles at a pop, this doesn't seem that impressive in the grand scheme of things, but in my little world it's a pretty exciting accomplishment. I feel most triumphant!!

BTW: Those squishy balls really are amazing for loosening up all sorts of joints and muscles. I don't usually give product endorsements, but these Miracle Balls are great, and really inexpensive for the amount of good they do. Here's the Amazon link if you want to check them out.