Last weekend, I overdid it on the running. I ran 6 miles, and my route included 4 very long, steep hills. I was prepared for the first two hills, but I didn't realize those last two hills were on the route until it was too late. My body was ready for 6 miles, but it wasn't ready for those hills. I gutted out my run out of sheer stubbornness and stupidity.
I felt pretty good the day of the run, but it was too soon to congratulate myself. The next morning, I felt a pain below my knee. A "good pain" is when your muscles are slightly sore from a workout. A "bad pain" is when a muscle feels like it's been pulled or your bones or joints feel crunchy, and that's what my left shin felt like. Ah, shinsplints. While the uphill run demands the most effort from your body, it's the downhill and the extra impact that gets you.
For the rest of the week, I did the smart thing and stayed off my feet. I pedaled the stationary bike every morning. The stationary bike isn't my favorite workout, but there's no impact, and I can at least pass the time by watching a video. I've been watching the Battlestar Galactica series on NetFlix and enjoying the frack out of it.
After a week of pedaling, I hit the road this morning to resume running. I left the stopwatch at home so I wasn't tempted to push the pace. It sure felt great to be outside running again, and my leg felt great. I'll be going for easy runs this week, and next week I'll start building up my mileage again. It won't be long before I build back up to a 6-mile run and beyond, but I won't be running that hilly route any time soon.
The lesson isn't that running is bad for you, but overdoing it is. I've only been walking for exercise for 5 months, and I've only been running for 2.5 months. Your body adapts if you gradually increase the workload, but it freaks out if you overdo it. Six miles of steep hills was way too much for me, but after another 6-12 months of running, I bet I'll be able to tackle that route again.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.