My training regimen has not lived up to the pace of the Mayo Clinic Novice training schedule leading me to believe I may be more of a ‘pre-novice’ rather than novice. I find I’m doing a bit more walking than running and for a shorter duration than recommended.
Nevertheless I remain motivated – I love walking/running on the beach path. It’s a very popular area and every morning I see scores of people out and about. There are the pods of kids biking to middle school, some balancing their band instruments or backpacks in their bike basket with one hand and steering with the other; there are the dog walkers with their ; the moms with strollers and the elderly couples out for a morning stroll. Dedicated runners pound by me in their expensive running shoes which, unlike mine, have long ago lost their bright newness; and professional cyclists whiz by hunched over their handlebars, thick hard thigh muscles incased in sleek black lycra. When appropriate I raise a hand in greeting or exchange a brief ‘good morning’ with my fellow exercisers.
My favorite part of the path runs along an area of coastal dune regeneration, where the green scrubby sage plants, wispy grasses and California poppies are gaining a tentative toehold in the sand, protected by a line of rope and signs that ask people to give the plants a chance. I inhale much more deeply, taking in the distinctive perfume of the southern California countryside; a light spicy green fragrance mixed with the deeper headier ocean scents. I can see the waves crashing ashore just past the dunes and hear the calls of seabirds above the dull roar of the water. I love this area.
A lot of the people I pass (those would be the ones heading in the opposite direction from me) and who pass me (running up from behind) are wearing headphones. I don’t have an MP3 player or Ipod so I’m left with my own thoughts for company. At first I had an idea that this would be a good thing – the calm of the area would no doubt be meditative and perhaps I could achieve a Zen like state; or maybe I’d mull over problems and opportunities and have a brilliant ‘Aha!’ moment. Sadly I’ve not found this to be the case. My thoughts as I exercise are more likely to go like this:
“It’s cold. My nose is starting to run again. Why didn’t I bring tissue? I wonder how far I’ve gone. Maybe I’ll check the pedometer. No, don’t check it so soon, you’ll just be disappointed. Ok, time to run again. Running, running, running. Is that enough? Keep going, you can make it to that bench, ok, pshew. Wonder how far I’ve gone. Maybe I’ll just walk a little longer this time. You’ll go farther if you run instead of walk. OK, ready to run again. Ow, why does my toe hurt? I bet I have something in my shoe. I’ll just stop for a minute and check. You have nothing in your shoe but your foot and sock, and that’s all good so keep going. Think I need a water break, puff, puff, puff. I’ll just run until I get behind those old power walking ladies, then I’ll slow down, don’t want them to feel bad. Puff, puff, puff. Wow, those gals are fast! Wonder how far I’ve gone? I’ll just check. Only .67 of a mile? Groan.”
Real brilliant stuff alright! My training also suffered a minor setback due to some pain it was provoking – although the shin splints seem to have been alleviated by the special sports gel insoles that I purchased and installed in my shoes. Last Wednesday I went for my beach walk/run and then headed over to my friends warehouse to help her pack up some items. When we finished she left to take the boxes to the shipper and I was on the verge of following her out the door when I was struck by some fairly severe chest pains. I couldn’t seem to walk so I just lay down on the floor and waited for them to pass. Time passes slowly when you are in pain and it was a nasty squeezing pain that gripped my chest and tore through my upper back and up into my jaw. In reality I suppose only four or five minutes passed before I felt I could sit up. Since I still felt sort of queasy and off-center I sat propped up against the wall for another ten or so.
Before you ask, no, I didn’t rush myself to the emergency room or urgent care (but I promise I will if it happens again). I did check my blood pressure and it was nice and low. I called my doctor the next morning and when she called me back late in the day she didn’t ask me to come in. I took Thursday off from my training and started back on Friday with no more than a brisk one-mile walk. I felt pretty much back to normal by then. Naturally it rained all weekend putting me another two days behind schedule but it was clear enough (although cold) this morning to get back into it! I sure am looking forward to reaching the point where that ‘runner’s high’ kicks in!