Rob's Blog Archive

May 29, 2016

Runnin' in Montana










The last time I even pretended to be thinking about running a 10k was my last summer in the Bay Area, 2002.  I never committed to a race, and my training was okay, but not stellar.  The previous summer, I had focused my training on getting fast enough to do repeat 8 minute miles, and with a very specific goal did train harder.  I came close, but didn't quite make it. 

The first summer I did any jogging was right after my senior year in high school.  Four or five times a week I drove up to the track and did a two mile jog.  It was, however,  during the summer after my freshman year in college that I really learned to enjoy running.   Late afternoon or early evening, on the streets of San Marino an eighteen year old with long hair bouncing on his bare shoulders and a warm sun hitting him in the back.      

From then until chronic knee pain in my left knee forced me to develop a Plan B, jogging was my primary form of conditioning.  Plan B was use a Nordic Track for most of my conditioning and run and jog once or twice a week.  I got my first Nordic Track in 1986, while the original model was still on the market.  Using it for my core workout and running when I wanted to worked out very well for almost twenty years. 

In December of 2003, my first in Montana, I took a fall on ice that eventually resulted in my replacing my left hip.  I could and did continue to use the Nordic Track, but the jogging I did was painful and infrequent.  As the hip got worse, jogging became impossible.  April Fool's Day in 2008 was a very good day for me.   With the hip replacement, I went from being a cripple to doing anything I wanted. 

Still, it took about three years for me to completely stop favoring it.  Unfortunately, along with this, I almost never ran.  I learned just how bad my jogging had become during Thanksgiving of 2011.  I probably could have jogged the mile out and then back from my mom's house without resting, but the fact is I walked. 

What happened on Thanksgiving happened again the following spring when, even with a treadmill going slow, I stopped at about the one mile point.  Over time, I developed the stamina to go almost any distance, but it had to be slow.  By fall, it became clear that, as much as age, weight was holding me back.  The irony was that the biggest reason I started running again was to help keep my weight down.  It ended up that I was forced to get my weight down so that I could run better. 

The last three summers, I've used both mountain biking and jogging to stay in shape.  During the summer, it makes little sense to be on my Nordic Track when I can easily work out outdoors.  Throwing TKD kicks is okay as a workout, but it's more like working out on a machine or jogging on a treadmill than it is running or biking outdoors.  I love doing my Taekwon-Do patterns, but my heart-rate monitor bears out that they are not as intense as my primary aerobic activities.  Jogging helps my patterns much more than patterns help my jogging. 

I did my first jog of the season on May 4th of this year.  In California, May can be pretty warm.  Here, it was in the high forties.  Being bald meant I did don a light stocking cap.  Synthetic long johns, top and bottom, replaced running shorts, though social norms did require I put a pair of shorts over the long johns for the tutu look.  And my running is much much slower.  The other difference is I don't have to drive anywhere to go for a beautiful run like I did when I lived in California.  Here in Montana, I start on my driveway and continue on just as far as I want.     


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