Getting Over the Pain

I’m sorry for having been MIA, folks. We took almost two full weeks off for our epic road trip out to New Mexico to see Brandon’s family for my birthday. Then we had to turn around and sent Brandon off to Las Vegas for training. So, it has been hectic around here.

Now that I’ve been selected as the Face of the Race for the upcoming Los Alamitos Race on the Base, I will be updating the Race on the Base blog every other Friday about my training and thoughts. We’ll publish in tandem here and over there.

Credit: endurancejunkies.com

I’m a wuss. Ask anyone.

Unless it’s the good-hurt that comes with a deep tissue massage and a deep yoga stretch, I don’t like pain. I do not subscribe to the “Pain is weakness leaving the body” philosophy. Pain is, well, pain. It hurts. And I don’t like it.

Almost all of my failed attempts at running in the past were because of my pain aversion. I quit because I didn’t like the way my lungs burn after I sprinted down the block. I quit because of the muscle soreness I would experience the following day. I quit because I went out once on a cool day without a hat once and the pain in the tips of my ears drove me to tears at the end of the block.

But then over a casual conversation, somebody mentioned that if running really is that painful, nobody would be doing it. And therefore whatever training program or tips I was using (which was none) must be wrong.

“You’re doing it wrong” is not just a meme. It’s a fact. All of my attempts at running, I had been doing everything all wrong! I never consulted anybody or read anything about running. I just got up and started! I mean, it’s running. Not brain surgery. There shouldn’t be any methods to this, right? You just…run?

But then I didn’t know how to break my sprinter habit and slow down so I don’t end up being out of breath. I didn’t know how to gently acclimate my body to the new high impact fitness routine, or how to properly dress for a cool weather workout. All of this preparation would have kept the training pain at the minimum.

So when I decided to give running another try this past September, I did research first. I found one of those couch to 5K training schedules which starts very slowly with alternating jogging a minute with walking for a minute and half for 20 minutes a day, a few days a week. My body did protest then too, but it was something I expected. It also wasn’t a lot to quit over. As I continued with the program, I was adjusting well and enjoying every little victory.

I came close to quitting once again by the time I got to the 3-minute run interval. I started to have issues with my knee. I knew for sure it was the shoes but also found through my research that some newbies have knee issues because our quad muscles are still weak. We should add some strengthening workout until our knees stabilize. A new pair of shoes, several ice packs to the knee, and a few weeks of running only once a week later, the knee pain was gone. And I was once again back on track.

Instead of making pain the excuse to quit, I was working to get rid of the pain so I can continue running.

Wait. The wuss is actually trying to move forward? Who am I, really?!

As of earlier this week, the treadmill informed me that I ran 20 minutes straight at about an 18 minute-mile pace, then walked for about 5 minutes, and ran again for 10 minutes at 17 minute-mile pace. I’m proud to say that running for 20 minutes straight was the longest stretch of running I have gotten so far.

Pain is still not my friend, but I’ve learned to work with it. Maybe it really is weakness leaving my body after all.

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