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I’m going to admit it: I’m a runner and I can’t stop.

How bad is my addiction? This bad:
A couple of weeks ago while driving from Santa Barbara to Goleta, I was looking at the mountains instead of the road ahead of me (something we are all doing these days since we’ve had three fires in our hills in the last year.) I noticed there’s now a very wide fuel break (fire break) bulldozed up a ridge leading from the floor of our coastal valley up to the top of the ridge behind us. Hm, I thought, that’s a clear continuous trail, all the brush has been burned off it so it’s complete accessible, and I could run that! Of course I fired up Google Earth and measured the break (it’s somewhere between three and three and a half miles—with probably 2,500 ft elevation gain).

And I can’t get it out of my mind: I’m going to run that sucker before the summer’s out.

My point is that running has become a core part of my lifestyle. I run four days a week: five to six miles on the treadmill at the corner gym on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, six to eight miles along the ocean bluff on Saturday morning while my ten year-old does her swim team workout, and another three to four miles easy at the gym on Sunday. I plan my week around my running time.

Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not an "elite runner". I’m what I call a middle-aged, middle-distance, middle-of-the-pack runner. I started in my mid-forties and I’m still running at fifty-seven. I’d like run into my eighties, which for me is a miracle: almost three years ago I found a lump on the side of my throat that was diagnosed as cancer spreading into my lymph system. Turned out I had stage IV cancer at the base of my tongue. My treatment was eight weeks of daily radiation, the last two weeks twice a day, and seven weeks of chemo, plus surgery to strip the lymph system on the left side of my throat. It was, in a word, intense.

I willed myself through it with a smile and joke and some pain meds, just taking each day as it comes—like every cancer patient I know. We all do it: we get over the shock and then take a page out of Lance Armstrong’s book and crank out today, pain and all. But my doctors and nurses all told me I sailed through better than any throat cancer patient they’ve had. Why? I think it was because I was fit when I went into the treatment and stayed fit through it. While I had to stop running in week three, I walked several times a week and took a long walk on Sunday. I was able to start running again (jogging really) about three or four weeks after the treatment ended. It hurt like hell and was nasty, uncomfortable, and generally awful, but I looked at my treatment like a marathon: just one foot in front of the other and lookie here: I've run another mile!

I have a friend with a tee shirt that says "Eat well, stay fit, and die anyway". While being fit didn’t stop me from getting cancer, it helped me so much to get through the treatment and stay alive and be functional in my life. And like any training regime, I learned a tremendous amount from my cancer treatment, lessons I use every day.

I think we—as a species--are made to be active. Running, walking, jogging, biking, swimming; we are made to move. There’s a terrific new book out by Christopher McDougall called "Born to Run" that discusses our evolution as a running species. It’s also a wonderful read, telling the story of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, one of the last tribe of natural runners in the world, and how they are helping us understand how we run, how we can continue to run without injury, and how it can help us gain—and keep—health. It's worth a look if you are a runner or thinking about jogging, running, or for that matter walking.

Back to Fitness Monday, here’s where I'd love for you to jump in:
How are you staying fit?

Have you found that your fitness, whatever level you are, has helped you overcome or deal with sickness or physical challenge?

If you run, how’s your running? Have you found ways that help you run better with less chance of injury? Have you studied the new concepts of running that have come out of the Tarahumara Indians and the ultrarunners, and if you’ve changed your stride or running style (or shoes), what’s been the result?

And I’m really interested in this: in McDougall’s book, he mentions the theory that if you exercise regularly (in his view running), you naturally eat better and often less. Your diet changes—your behavior changes—because you exercise, without a lot of effort on your part. (For me, I notice when I'm training hard that I eat a little smarter, consciously eating to fuel my running, but mostly I notice that I can have that evening brownie without worry since this week I'm running about 20 miles.) Have you experienced this at all, or is this not true for you?

Thanks in advance for all your contributions—see you on the road!
-mark

Originally posted to marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 08:56 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I run 2 or 3 times a week on the road (9+ / 0-)

      around my house.  It's getting really hot here, though, so it has to be early morning.  

      Running is the only thing I've ever found keeps the weight off (Polish and Dutch heritage).  Everyone else in my family is carrying too much weight, and unfit with health problems, so I run to avoid what I see as my genetic fate if I don't.

      I've put on ten pounds the past six weeks.  Part of it is because my kids have been competitive baking (cookies and cakes) and part because I'm just that age where it starts to get hard work to keep fit because my metabolism is slowing.  I know I can run it off with a bit of willpower, and it's empowering to know that it's under my control.  

      "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" - Abraham Lincoln

      by LondonYank on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:15:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Competitive baking! (4+ / 0-)

        I'm going to look around and see if there's a competitive baking program I can get my daughter into!

        Most of my friends have noticed our body's tendency to slow down metabolism as we age, and as if that wasn't enough, the aging of hips, knees, feet, shoulders, etc.

        I applaud you for keeping it up and yes, as you say, you empower yourself to stay healthy.

        Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

        by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:27:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As you age, the key is keeping metabolism... (4+ / 0-)

            cranking. Yes, it does reduce but once you do the research, it is ties to muscle mass and not age. Thus the key is to keep from losing muscle mass.
            How do we do this? Again, running is one way but not the most effective by far. Running reduces the fat  but also the muscle in the body. It leans out the muscles and does an effective job at removing fats from your body.
            The only way to add muscles is to exert them by challenging them with heavy weights with strength training. Muscles that are stressed severely create small tears in the muscle fibers. With a proper diet rich in proteins, good fats, and carbs from non-processed foods are the key to repairing the damaged muscles. As they repair over 24-36 hours, your metabolism continues to swirl as a part of this process.
            Great diary. It is important to understand the almost addictive nature of exercise for some people. I run about twice a week just to increase my VO2 Max which I have found to be important to strength training. Without a strong rich supply of O2 in your system, you can lift weights till your hearts content but your body must have the O2 in excess to make your blood system work most effectively.

    •  hi, sorry I'm late (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1864 House

      I just got back in town, glad to see this. Wish I could become addicted to exercise.

      "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

      by anotherdemocrat on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 06:03:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well...it's really not addicted... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        1864 House, anotherdemocrat

        It's a lifestyle.

        It's something that you do often enough that you get (1) good at it (to some extent), (2) used to it (including soreness, being tired, finding time in your day, etc.) and (3) enjoy it.

        When you run (or walk or swim or bike or play regular soccer or ultimate or just go to the gym for some strong exercise for considerable minutes) for a year or so, you find that you just have to do it. It's ingrained, you feel weird if you don't work out. And I personally find my body feels SO much better for regular exercise. I really feel much better.

        Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

        by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 06:29:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have gone through periods of being (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          1864 House

          a total gym bunny 4 nights a week plus Saturday morning for more than a year solid. Still, always went because it was the thing to do. Have never gotten a workout high. But trying to work back in to regular exercise. Fitness Mondays is, for me, part of that. Once a week, I have to at least talk about it.

          "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

          by anotherdemocrat on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 07:11:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In a 5K race (13+ / 0-)

    I'm almost unbeatable.  Unfortunately so is the tendinitis that flares up after that distance.

    So I've taken to elliptical machines and mountain climbing.  Preservation of my knees beats pumping up my ego I guess.

    Universally despised by all the right people.

    by The Creator on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:12:05 AM PDT

    •  Backing off? (10+ / 0-)

      When I first ran, I of course tended to sprint. It's what I do. And my shins hurt to the point that I couldn't run. It just sucked.

      So, on the advice of my fitness consultant, um, I mean wife, I bought a heart monitor and strapped it on, keeping my heart beat at 150 or less. I was sooooo slow!

      But my shins didn't hurt and over the next few months I noticed my pace increased, my distance increased, and my heart beat stayed at 150 max. Eventually I stopped wearing the monitor as my legs had reached a level of conditioning that allowed me to run hard without hurting myself. Maybe that will work? Interesting experiment anyway...

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:31:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not fit but trying (12+ / 0-)

    I quit smoking two months ago as part of an overall lifestyle change, which includes eating better and getting exercise. My goal is to be able to run 5K in four more weeks. I'm walking/running two miles three times a week and practicing yoga two to three times a week. I am 51 years old and twenty-five pounds overweight and smoked for seventeen years so this is a major change for me. I used to run a sub-40 minute 10K and I have no illusions about getting into that kind of shape any time soon. But every time I go out, I get a little bit closer to my 5K goal.

    Join the Sunday Scavengers Club and follow my search for cool junk on Twitter @gdyrantiques.

    by Blue Intrigue on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:12:16 AM PDT

    •  Perfect example of Lifestyle rewrite! (6+ / 0-)

      It's harder than you-know-what to get into shape after years of not being in shape. I love that you have taken your lifestyle and completely revamped it.

      This is the thing: I know a lot of folks that have a goal in mind and it's pretty aggressive in terms of results and time. I find it very true that our bodies are on their own schedule: all we can do is eat as well as we can and do our exercise regularly. The results will come, but it might take a couple of years to get where we want to be. The key thing is to just crank it out, day after day, and trust that this will all be worth it and our goals will be met at some point.

      Congrats for stopping smoking and for doing so much to change your life! (and damn, a sub-40min 10K is nothing to sneeze at!)

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:24:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! What an inspiration! (8+ / 0-)

    I may be running as part of a team in the SB Marathon this Dec. -- tentative team name is Slow Old Women, or possibly Lipstick on a SOW :)

    I'm definitely slowing down as I age, which is very frustrating.  I'm not sure I can do another half marathon.  Then I look at the 70 year old guy who's the coach of the local running group, who had a heart attack 18 months ago, and I kick myself to run a bit longer.

    Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:18:04 AM PDT

  •  Decided to try and run a Marathon (7+ / 0-)

    I recently decided that I would like to train for, and if my knees and ankles oblige, complete a marathon.  Just joined a running group/program, currently running 30-35 minutes 4 times a week and building up my base.  

    I agree that having a good exercise program makes you eat healthier.

    "Barack put Helen back in the front row"

    by egarratt on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:18:45 AM PDT

  •  Wow. (6+ / 0-)

    Congratulations on beating back the cancer beast!

    Nothing nearly so dramatic here to report -- started running last fall myself, at the age of 40.  I'm trying to squeeze in a regular 5K run, 3 times a week.

    Even just with that, I have been MUCH more successful in fighting off colds and other low-level stuff than I was in previous winters.  I don't think it's coincidence.

    Alas, I caught my little toe on the corner of a wall on Friday morning.  I think it's broken, though I've been advised that going in for an X-ray is basically pointless because all you can do anyway is buddy-tape the toes and wait for things to heal.  I think I'd best not run while that is happening... but how long to wait, I wonder?

    If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

    by AnnieJo on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:19:04 AM PDT

    •  Till it doesn't hurt (much) to run (5+ / 0-)

      So one thing you can do in the meantime is swim or jog in the pool. And little toes (in my experience) mend quickly.

      It's GREAT that you are running 5k's! That's the perfect distance to build your base and keep in shape. It allows running to work it's magic on your body and yet no overdo it.

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:41:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks - am continuing with my bike commute. (3+ / 0-)

        Swimming would be logistically more difficult to make happen, but I need to be getting out there and at least walking or biking during those running time-slots.  Appreciate the encouragement!  :-)

        If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

        by AnnieJo on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:53:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My mom walked to the doctor's office (11+ / 0-)

    to get a diagnosis of metastatic cancer. She was given weeks, at most 3 months to live, and made it 18 months without any treatment. She had walked miles every day of her life. I am convinced that was what kept her going for so long.

    They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

    by 1864 House on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:22:26 AM PDT

    •  Walking is perfect for us (5+ / 0-)

      As a runner I think about running all the time, but I admire people that walk every day, or several days a week. Walking was what we did before we tamed horses and invented cars. We walked to the market, out to the fields, to the next camp, to the river, wherever we went as a species, we walked for the most part. I am convinced we were born to walk and to run.

      Your mother's story is inspirational. Thanks!

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:43:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  {{1864 House}} (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1864 House

      "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

      by anotherdemocrat on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 07:12:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exercise ==> eating better? Not for me. (5+ / 0-)

    Actually, it's the other way around for me.

    When I started back on my (low-carb) diet back in May, I started exercising again, including fairly regular trips to the gym.

    I think for me it's a matter of wanting to maximize the time I spend dieting. I want to get back to where I can haz a bun with my cheezburger, but I intend to get my weight down to where it needs to be first.

    •  It does work for me (5+ / 0-)

      I am training for my first ever 5k (13 days to go) and I find I am eating better because I feel much stronger and have more energy.

      But - I can still haz cheeseburger... I just get a small one and not a giant double burger with bacon that Mr House does.

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:26:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You go House (4+ / 0-)

        Awesome on your first 5K.

        "Barack put Helen back in the front row"

        by egarratt on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:28:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice! And listen to the body (5+ / 0-)

          We have people all around us telling us they know better than we do about what and how we should eat.

          I'm a health-food vegetarian and my dinner tonight will probably be steamed broccoli, stir-fried tofu, and some whole-grain garlic toast. But that doesn't mean my dinner is better than yours, just because mine's all cool and groovy and oh so California. What works for you, works, and a burger can be just as healthy.

          We should listen to our bodies, be mindful of what our body wants, when it wants it, and if that's our taste buds yelling for the sugar, or our need for glucose after a run. It's hard, given the conditioning we've been exposed to over the years, but it's soooo great to start hearing our inner voice!

          Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

          by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:49:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Healing Through Exercise, great book: (5+ / 0-)

    From Publishers Weekly
    Blech (Inventing Disease and Pushing Pills) presents research from the U.S. and Europe and opinions of medical professionals pointing to exercise as the key to health and longevity and a powerful way to significantly cut health-care costs. Now an accepted part of cardiac care, exercise, says Blech, remains untapped to prevent, treat and even heal type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, psychiatric disorders, chronic pain, cognitive impairment and learning disabilities. Biologically, Blech notes, humans are hunter/gatherers and were made to be continuously active. As societies gain convenience through technology, people become more sedentary and vulnerable to serious physical and mental decline typically attributed to aging. In fact, Blech states, this decline is like the wasting that begins in patients confined to bed for just a few days. Looking to the future, he includes preliminary findings on the positive impact exercise has on chronic fatigue patients and children with AD/HD. While he offers some easy ways to be more active, Blech's most frequently voiced news is good: a half hour of moderate, daily walking can make a big difference. (Mar.)

  •  WHOO-HOO!!! I'M OVERWEIGHT!!! (15+ / 0-)

    Yes, after a couple of months of dieting, I am no longer obese! My BMI is 29.8!!! I'm OVERWEIGHT! BOO-YAHHH!!!!

  •  c25k for me (6+ / 0-)

    A life-long non-runner (really a non-exerciser, I recently started the Couch to 5k running program. When I started I could barely jog a minute - I am proudly on week 4 which has five minute jogging intervals.  It is still really hard, but I can see the improvement already.

    •  I'm doing the same program (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie H, fiddler crabby, AnnieJo, sbradke

      and I was terrified at the beginning. But I am jogging/running for 3/4 of every mile now.

      Are you doing a race? When? Where?

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:32:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  terrified, right! (5+ / 0-)

        That is how I still feel. I haven't signed up yet, but there are two races in October I would like to do. How about you?  What week are you on?

        •  I'm on week 6 (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leslie H, fiddler crabby, NC Dem, AnnieJo

          Because I only had 7 weeks to prepare for a 5k on July 19, I have skipped ahead a little. I did walk on a treadmill pretty regularly, so I wasn't starting from zero exercise. I have found that just by slowing my pace a little I can move ahead and run longer.  

          I'm 53, and my knees are starting to hurt a little. I have had them checked out and it's nothing serious - just a little overuse. Ice is my friend!

          October should be perfect timing for you - you can take it slow and be confident. And the weather should be nice. My goals are 1) to finish and 2) not be dead last.

          They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

          by 1864 House on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:51:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Congrats! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fiddler crabby, 1864 House

            Take it slow and easy, work your knees in gradually. To go out too hard, too soon is what causes injury. Consider the heart monitor I mentioned in an above comment. Also, if you can focus on your running stride and form, keeping your steps short and landing on the ball of your foot, the jarring on your knees is said to be less.
            This is great!

            Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

            by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 09:54:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  wow, good for you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fiddler crabby, 1864 House

            Good luck on the 5k. I am sure you'll make your goals, even if you have to walk a little. I am definitely starting from ground zero so the nine week program will probably take 18... that's ok, as long as I'm making progress, right?

            I'm having troubling figuring out how to breath comfortably... any suggestions?  And believe me, my pace is really slow bu I need a good rhythym for breathing.

    •  Me too. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby, 1864 House, sbradke

      C25K is what got me going.  I remember how amazed I was when I ran for those 5 minutes. Couldn't believe it.  You will love seeing what your body is capable of as you progress.  Have fun with it!

  •  sometime ago i was implanted with the idea (7+ / 0-)

    of running slow and for a long time (1 1/2 hours) to burn fat. having a pretty vain nature and too much of a spare tire has me going on long runs every other day or so. what's fun about it is picking a different route each day and getting totally lost (or not). living in prague, czech republic, it's easy to do so without getting habitual, at least yet. i was in new york doing it for about a month and i ended up making the same long loop from the lower east side to greenpoint in brooklyn and back.
    being a 54 year-old ex smoker, i wouldn't have even imagined being able to do this a year ago, but i hope i can run at least for another ten years- it simply improves the tenor of my day.
    it must be fun.
    it can be a good place to burn off emotional fogs, being outside and not too deep in traffic. strangely enough, i think that running on a treadmill would make taking up smoking again sound fun. i can't stand gyms...

  •  Hats off (4+ / 0-)

    Hats off to your courage and determination in beating cancer.   And to your ongoing effort to stay fit through running.

    To answer your questions....

    I've found that while I'm in a period of good fitness through running that it does make me eat better and take better care of my body.  I become so aware of what foods provide immediate energy, longer-term energy, and the building blocks for recovery.   I find myself not craving indulgent and not-so-healthy foods nearly as much - and when I do, it's a treat that I know I will work off easily in the upcoming days.

    I sleep better and am in a generally better mood most of the time.  While some people find distance running repetitive and boring, I find it meditative and mentally restoring.  

    I'm somewhat predisposed to injury, but have come to understand the signs that something is coming and can usually back off on my miles and avoid it.  

    But I have a running problem.  I'm not a real runner, because I don't have enough drive to keep myself doing it all the time.  As much as running helps me, I can't bring myself to run outside in the cold of winter, and I get sick of running on the treadmill at the gym before the first month of winter is over.  

    It's become a pattern.  I give up running in the winter, pick it up again in the spring, and then often break from it again in mid-summer when it gets too hot outside.  And then back into it the fall, etc. etc. etc.

    I keep active in other ways; walking to and/or from work every day (3 miles each way), occasional cycling, etc., but there's nothing like running.

    The only time I've been able to keep at it is the two times I trained for, and ran marathons - and while those were so rewarding and made me feel like I was in the best health of my life, it just takes too much time out of my life to get in all those miles necessary for training.

    •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby

      I'm glad you notice the running-food linkage too.

      Someday maybe I'll do a diary on running and mediation (or exercise and meditation) as I've found this to be a wonderful personal growth and spiritual tool...

      Meanwhile, about running on the treadmill. BOOOORRRRIIING! Yes, but I use ESPN, my ipod, and crazy TeeVee to help me. My gym has TV's on their treadmills and ESPN is kind of fun. If I've got a good tennis match, soccer game, basketball game or highlights, or just Sports Center on, I can go a few miles without too much boredom. I sometimes listen to good running music on the ipod while tuned to the sports channel (Coldplay is my current fav).

      Different people have different ways of combating the boredom. Anyone else have ideas?

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:15:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  to combat the boredom, change it up. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fiddler crabby

        i used to run at the east river in new york- a crowded track if ever there was one. there's a japanese guy there that just runs all over it, and you never know whether he's gonna run figure eights, clockwise or counter. not predictable, not dangerous- variation in the view, vibe, flow of ideation, etc.
        i don't think i could do this thing if i couldn't keep it interesting.

  •  Oh, SNAP! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, fiddler crabby

    Speaking of Lance Armstrong...

    In today's Tour de France stage, Lance caught the big breakaway that was driven by the Columbia (sportswear) team and improved his overall place from 10th to 3rd.

    Mark Cavendish, who won his second stage in a row, had this to say about the other teams' performance today:

    All the other teams are riding like they’re juniors and if they want to behave that way then they get results like juniors."

    Oh, SNAP! That's some world-beating trash talk!

    •  Trash talk or grouchy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby

      I know when I've biked a hundred miles I get kinda nasty, and don't think through what I'm about to say.
      Can't quite figure out what his point is though.

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:30:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cavendish is a sprinter... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fiddler crabby

        Sprinters don't get grouchy when they win, you may be sure.

        Here's a bit more of what Cavendish said about the race:

        It was sweet for us. No one else wanted to ride. None of the other teams were doing any work so we were the only ones who took it on...the other teams – especially Garmin – were all trying to save themselves for the team time trial and in the end they had to ride anyway, but they weren’t riding for the win, they were riding to save time...It shows were were the only sprint team willing to take responsibility and that worked in our favor.

        "Riding like they're juniors" is an insult (at least he didn't say, "riding like they're women"). He was trash-talking.

  •  Been running steady about 9months (3+ / 0-)

    Ran across an old school buddy who is now a tennis coach and she got me running. I was an athelete in my younger days, but I have never been a runner. I love it now. Run 4-6 days a week, 3-8 miles now. I am still a back of the pack runner :) but I do enjoy it. I've done a number of 5k races and am signed up for the Outer Banks half-marathon this year. w00T!

    Still trying to learn when the right time for new shoes is and how far I can push myself before I get too close to hurting myself, but I am addicted to the total body transformation that has happened to me in the short time I've been running. I'll never stop.

    Go run that sucker, marksb. :-D

    If you don't know history, you don't know anything. You're a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. ~Michael Crichton, Timeline

    by Leslie H on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:12:49 AM PDT

    •  How Exciting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie H, fiddler crabby

      Everyone's different, but I've heard 500 miles as an average lifespan for running shoes.   It probably makes a difference on the surface you run on regularly, and how susceptible you are to injury - the cushion and support from the shoes will probably wear out before the shoes.  I've had to get new shoes when my old pair still looks pretty new, but a runner friend of mine who never gets injured runs on them until they're tattered.  

      Everyone's different in how far they can push themselves, too. (Like me and the friend I mention above.)   I've found that I'm ok continuing without backing down if my aches and pains go away when I start running; and if they don't, I know an injury is imminent.  

      Also, for me one clear sign of overtraining is if I start having difficulty sleeping.

    •  Thanks! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie H, fiddler crabby, 1864 House

      It IS exciting isn't it?
      Non-runners think we're from Mars, but when everything works and you feel good, there's just no substitute.

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:32:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Living well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby, 1864 House

    Great diary!  I'm 46, been running since January, and completed my first 5K 3 weeks ago.  Sadly, since then, I've been having pain on the outside of my left knee once I've run about a mile.  Enough pain that I have to stop running. I think it's probably IT band syndrome, but I'm going to the dr tomorrow to make sure.

    My other passion (and first passion) is kickboxing. I've been doing it for about two years. I started out cardio kickboxing, and then moved on to a class that involves punching heavy bags, interspersed with pushups, mountain climbers, triceps dips, anything the teacher can throw at us!  

    As I've slowly knocked off about 30 lbs,  I discovered the joy of eating well.  By that I mean choosing good food, and eating what I want in moderation.  Funny how with the exercise, the weight just comes off as long as I am mindful of what I eat.  

    •  Congrats on completing the 5k! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby

      I need inspiration like that.

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:44:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you start running again, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby

      Look into the "new" running techniques out there. Chi running is one, there are a couple others. (Pace? I'm sure the folks reading this know.)
      Anyway, it may be that your style of running, your stride and form, may be hurting your knee. Also it might just be overuse injury. It takes our bodies a while to adjust to our new running habit and get strong enough to support it. Remember that if you back off and go slower when you are able to run again, and run slower for a few months, you may build your lower body's infrastructure up to provide better support.
      One more thing--the more weight we carry, the greater impact on our legs and knees. As you drop weight, you may find less pain when you run.

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:44:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good advice (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fiddler crabby, 1864 House

        I'm going to look into the new techniques.  I had never run outside prior to 2 months ago, and I have new shoes (which I'm not sure are right for me). I'm looking forward to hearing what the dr says tomorrow, and then I will plot my return to running. I have a challenge with my sister in law  - she recently started the C25K program and I promised I'd run a 5K with her in September. So I need to be back on track to do that.

  •  I am old and fat (3+ / 0-)

    ... but I started running on a treadmill and gradually worked my way up to being able to jog 30 minutes without stopping! This is huge for me. (It did kind of kill my knees, so I dropped back to walking, resumed leg/knee strengthening work that I had been slacking off on, and plan to get new and better shoes when I go back on the machine.)

    I could only run for about 30 seconds when I started, but I increased running time and decreased walking time until I got to where I was going.

    I love the feeling.  I listen to audio books on my mp3 player, and not only does the time fly by, but I look forward to it.

    I don't think I have lost any weight -- maybe 10 pounds at the most, if any -- but I can eat anything I want and not gain, so that is pretty cool.

    War begins where reason ends. Frederick Douglass, 1866

    by politichic on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 11:02:38 AM PDT

  •  I lost five pounds. (4+ / 0-)

    Don't ask me how.  The minute I start thinking about what I eat, I become obsessed about all the things at the top of the food pyramid.  

    I just hope I can keep it off.  Summer is here and the farmer's market is full of good things to eat.

    Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

    by Fabian on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 11:24:45 AM PDT

  •  Does anyone know (3+ / 0-)

    how running in water compares to running or walking on land?  I have psoriatric arthritis and can only walk for about a half hour before my toes start hating me but I've been adding in another half hour in the pool.  I go harder in the pool because of the water, but I don't know if I'm doing myself any real good.

    •  It is similar (4+ / 0-)

      Water running is one of the preferred methods of marathon runners to maintain fitness when sidelined by an injury.  In terms of muscle strength and aerobic fitness, it is similar to running.  I used to frequent training message boards and remember people saying that they felt they lost very little fitness while out with an injury if they ran in the pool.

      If I remember correctly, the most common method was to wear a flotation device and do it in the deep end.

      •  sound advice (3+ / 0-)

        The only thing I can add is to underscore the fact that training in a pool is good for several reasons: it is definitely la cardiovascular workout and more importantly (imho) it is resistance training without the harsh impacts that can occur out of the pool.

        My only other advice: quality of exercise over quantity. Do it til it hurts is generally bad advice, especially if one has or is recovering from an injury (or arthritis in this case).

        Go for it!

        •  Excellent--To which I'll add (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anotherdemocrat, Katie71

          All of us think we've got this buffed-out athlete inside us--and we do, but we've got to work up to it. After an injury, or when we are starting out, there's a tendency to go out too hard, too fast, too far. We hurt ourselves because we are not ready for that level of exercise. As fieldsey says, quality over quantity.

          Go out easy, go out slow, take it a bit at a time. This is now your lifestyle and you're going to be working out for the rest of your life; there's plenty of time to get fit and increase your pace.

          Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

          by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:01:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm trying to find my limitations. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            anotherdemocrat

            What's the most I can do so that I'm not hurting hours or days later?  Before the arthritis (the skin part of the psoriasis came first and was it's own special hell) I was overweight but still really strong and fairly athletic for a fat girl, but getting sick really got me off my stride.  I also gained even more weight and after a lifetime of extreme diets and exercise, I really don't know any other way to do things and get any sort of results.  I used to be able to work out 2 or 3 hours a day, but now I can't, now I need tons of sleep and just time to do nothing so I can even function at a basic level.  It's all so confusing, like I'm a child again.

            Thanks so much for your responses.  It really helps.

            •  Take it slow and easy (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              anotherdemocrat, Katie71

              When we've been athletic in our past, taking a brisk walk for a half hour seems somehow wimpy. Nothing could be further from the truth! Working your way back to fitness is a l-o-n-g path to walk, and walking may be what you need, or swimming, or walking/jogging in the pool; whatever it is, as Nike says, Just Do It.

              I can't stress enough that there is no right or wrong, no line you have to cross to be considered "fit". I love running in a park along the coastal bluff in Santa Barbara on a Saturday morning. The place of full of people out in the morning sun/fog (we get both, often in the same hour!). Some are walking, some are struggling along with their cane, some are huffing along slow, some are breezing along fast, and there's always a few stunningly thin marathon runners looking like they could run all day (and probably can!)

              Go out for fifteen minutes, easy. If you feel good, pick up the pace ever so slightly and try 20 minutes. Feel good? No soreness? Make it 30 minutes. Sore in a good way? Keep it up, keep it easy. Sore in a bad way? Drop your pace back and see if you can keep the time the same. If it still hurts too badly, drop the time down.

              The point is to do what feels good for you, whatever that is. Walking, running, swimming, biking; the point is to get your heart pumping a little higher and hold it that way for awhile, building your heart, and the rest of your body, into a higher level of fitness.

              Oh, and Have Fun!

              Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

              by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 05:23:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  kidney transplant (3+ / 0-)

    Had my first surgery at 18, back when running a sub-5-minute mile was easy. I'm not quite twice as old now but when I was thirty I finally had to have the full-blown kidney transplant.

    I used to be like you... I was an insatiable runner and cyclist but that's when I lived surrounded by country roads with no traffic. Living in cities for quite awhile now, I've instead taken up playing ultimate frisbee for just over a decade now -- it's lots of running but a very different kind of running! Endurance is key to being good in any sport but playing nothing but ultimate is like only doing fartleks.

    So... what I'm driving at is that before my first surgery at 18 years old, I ran right up until the night beforehand (against the wishes of one surgeon); however, despite a nice 8" incision right through my abdomen, I was out of my bed that afternoon, doing laps around the wing (with my IV stand) two days later, and out of the hospital in five days. I went for my first run, a nice easy five miler on snow-covered country roads, six weeks to the day after that surgery.

    The kidney transplant occurred when I was 30. Though on the worst days just before the transplant, I was completely winded by a flight of stairs, I kept playing ultimate or even going for walks. I was again out of the hospital in five days and only six weeks later was out playing ultimate frisbee again (in much better shape!).

    A quick aside -- as I was going under, I asked the surgeon what it was like to cut into someone. He said, "It's cool! ... Except for fat people. You'll be easy because we won't have to do much cutting."

    Indeed, the surgery and recovery was quick.

    After a transplant, one has to return to the hospital every few days for a checkup -- they make sure everything is going well, that no complications have arisen, etc. and they are still tweaking the level of immunosuppression. It was sad for me to see people who had transplants the same week as I still struggling just as mightily (or more so) than beforehand. I could only ponder why? Maybe the meds didn't agree with them; maybe it was diet, or genetic, or maybe they weren't getting up and out of bed and at least walking around.

    Well, I am one of the very lucky and blessed ones. My doctors and the friends I play ultimate with are amazed -- and even I "forget" that I've had a transplant. When I play with new people, they tend to not believe it until they see the scar. I can push myself to a 5-minute mile still but only a 21-minute 5k, am back into long-distance running (centuries, even) and cycling (easier centuries :D), and only occasionally get beat deep in ultimate.

    This reminds me that I've never gotten around to writing about healthcare from the perspective of someone who has had major surgery. Again, I am one of the very lucky ones, my employer's health care options are very good and very affordable. FWIW, I have a PPO and have heard horror stories, if you will, from fellow transplant recipients who are covered by HMOs.

    •  Wow! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anotherdemocrat

      What an inspiration you are!

      I found that the people I've met at my local cancer center who are doing well through their treatment are for the most part fit, eat well, and have a positive attitude. They see this as part of the challenges of life.

      It's difficult for folks who are in the situation where their health challenges have left them less than fit and in poor health. It's an uphill battle to regain strength and fitness. I noticed my role, as a person lucky enough to be able to work out and stay healthy, is to help these folks through their treatment. A little encouragement means a lot to someone struggling through sickness. Very few people reach out with a helping hand, an encouraging word, a few minutes to listen, and perhaps a joke.

      Again, thanks for sharing your story.

      Scary Liberal Internet Activist (who just happens to look like a normal guy)

      by marksb on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:24:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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