Running Can Be a Pain

Running with pain is a fact of life if you have a chronic inflammation like arthritis.

Two weeks ago I found out arthritis is the cause of pain in the hip (only about 9 inches away from being a pain in the ass). I stopped running after that, doing cycling on my trainer and resting while I re-grouped.  Bike trainers are great torture machines if used correctly. I just put it in a resistance gear and pedaled for a while.

kirby kineteic trainer

Since I was out of town on business this week, I decided to take a few days off. Usually running is my mainstay workout when I travel, but not this time. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I’ll wrap them in a future post.

On Friday I worked at home and decided to take a short three mile run after my calls ended at 2pm. I’ve been running in minimal shoes – sandals and zero lift/low cushion shoes with flexible soles. For this run I reverted to my technical running shoes – a pair of hardly used Nike Vomero’s to get the cushion that they offer. Most of what I read about running with arthritis is that you need more cushion.

I ran the three miles, feeling a tinge of the inflammation with each step of my right leg. I focused on staying as smooth as I could, not overextending my stride and not worrying about speed. It felt good to be out and running again, even with the pain. Here’s my SportsTracker output.

Photo Sep 20, 3 33 34 PM

It’s a mixed box of information for me. I ran the distance and finished feeling no worse than when I started. I also ran one of the slowest average speeds I’ve ever logged. Although speed isn’t why I run, it is the barometer I use to gauge how good my fitness is.

Later that afternoon my inflammation rose to a level that I hadn’t felt for a while. I hydrated and took some ibuprofen and waited for the morning.

The pain was still there, so I iced it with a package of frozen peas. It is a perfect ice pack. I prefer organic frozen peas (just a joke).

fozen peas

The icing helped immensely and saved me from cycling into a “can never run again” depression. This reminded me that maybe there are simple things to do to abate the discomfort and gain some control back. I will ride my bike today and continue to stay mobile because that makes it all feel better. Most of all I am determined to find a path forward that includes running and cycling and keeping in shape.

Fortunately, my mind has no symptoms of arthritis (no more than normal) so my creative writing continues and is getting better. My writing reminds me that from any starting point it takes a discipline and persistent desire to continue to improve. Writing also reminds me that every endeavor is never perfected and always offers improvement and discovery if you keep working at it. I know from creating a novel (several actually) that you don’t control the plot. The characters and context take you where they need to go.

With arthritis I have a new starting point for my athleticism. A wicked twist in the plot of my running life. I need to listen to my body and context and I’ll work it out. And I will learn a lot in the process.

As always, I am interested in what you have to say. Send me an email or post a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Run Free and Smooth.  

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Running for Team Hole in the Wall

This fall I plan to run a 60K distance in support of the Team Hole in the Wall.

Team-Logo-Web-2013-copy2

My event is entitled 60 at 60 and you can link to it here:  http://events.teamholeinthewall.org/2013communityevents/jlgrunr

Why the Support the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp?

The organization was started by Paul Newman and is dedicated to giving seriously ill kids and their families some time to have fun. As Paul said, every kid needs to “raise a little hell.”

I can totally get behind that sentiment. Having three wonderful children and a beautiful granddaughter who are all healthy and hellraisers in their own right gives me reason for thanks.

The Camp started here in Connecticut and has expanded. All of the proceeds go to running the camp and helping kids be kids. I’m just a big kid at heart anyway.

What’s with the 60 stuff?

On June 23, 2013 I tick off my 60th year. I consider myself to be pretty average – as in I’m nothing special. But, I’ve made the most of it. My ability to do that is, to my estimation, related to my running. I am not an obsessive runner, but I am a constant one.

Let me be clear. I am a very lucky man. When I run I celebrate my good fortune. That is also why I feel compelled to help others while I cover the distance.

Running has been in my life since I was a freshman in high school. Actually, running was been part of play and entertainment as long as I can remember, but it became part of my “workout” when I was thirteen and joined the wrestling team. I’ve had off times, but never for very long. Running has been a constant companion for me. It is the place I go to meditate, solve problems, vanquish stress, and celebrate life. While that is happening I also fight disease and aging while justifying eating these every so often.

A Boston Creme!

A Boston Creme!

To celebrate my love of running and my temporal achievement, I decided to run 60 miles in one day. Then I had some hip/IT band problems. I’m now recovering from that issue and decided that 60 kilometers (37.28 miles) is more doable. That’s about a marathon and a half. I hope you can understand that I don’t want to risk pushing it because I do want to keep running in comfort for another 47 years.

The main event will happen in the fall of this year when the weather is more suitable for distance running. In the interim I am doing the Fairfield Half Marathon on my birthday. That will be the official kickoff to this event.

I’ll be running in my Luna Monos.

Photo Jun 02, 8 10 44 PM

There is more to come.  In the next few posts I’ll explain more about my decision.  I’m going to ask you to weigh in on a couple of options, so please keep linked to my blog. I will also explain how you can participate in the event beyond giving your pledges.

Please, follow my blog and forward the link to this page to your friends and family.

Thank you, in advance, for you support!

Run Free!

It’s A Good Day for a Run!

I remember the first time I used running as a tonic to sooth my tattered nerves. It was the mid-80’s and I had one of those company politics revelations. I was young and naive and had been thrown under the bus by a coworker. He was an account executive for whom I provided technical support on a major proposal. The details are unimportant.

Walking into the house after a long drive home that day, my wife immediately saw the strain and stress in my face. I told her I couldn’t talk about it yet and needed a run to cool off. Going for a run hadn’t really been in my mind until I walked in the door. It seemed he right release of the pent up energy storming through my body. I donned my shorts and T-shirt and headed out for something like a three-miler. Three miles was a long run for me back then. When I returned home I was in a better place and was able to have a conversation about what happened.

Since that day I have logged many running miles of meditation, stress relief and healing. I’ve been through lots of changes and running has kept me in a state to handle the good and the bad. Regardless of the reason, each run feels like a celebration. Not the New Years kind. The quiet kind that brings a smile to your face because you feel at better in your own skin.

Wednesday, April 17th, was one of those healing days. Two days before something evil happened at the Boston Marathon. As a runner who has completed 3 marathons, this senseless act hit me on many levels. To me running, like music, is a universal language. Man ran to survive. Running contributed to the development of our brains, arts and sciences. It makes us what we are. (I wrote a blog about it – www.jlgrunr.com). In races we compete, but we care for each other at the same time.

I headed out on a beautiful spring day, intending another a familiar 3 miler. It didn’t take long for my feet to lead me to a local trail. Some days you just follow because your feet know where to go. There were no cars parked at the trailhead and I knew I would be the only person out there. Feeling the earth, rocks and roots beneath my feet got me smiling. The air was in the upper 50’s, cool and crisp. The tall trees showing signs of budding after a strange mix of winter weather.

The running trail

The running trail

It was just what I needed to get centered.

The trail winds uphill for a while and then turns down toward a small stream where I usually turn around. I took a moment to stop and enjoy the scenery. Sweat rolled down my forehead and I pulled my top layer up to wipe my brow.

The turnaround

The turnaround

Like a lot of runners, I have my kit folded and ready to go, so I don’t think much, just grab what I need and go.The base layer shirt I had on is one I like because it fits snug and has a comfortable cotton feel. I didn’t know how appropriate it was until I looked down.

Don't mind the sweat stain

Don’t mind the sweat stain

I flashed on why I was so thankful to be a citizen of this country. My politics tend to the liberal side of moderate, but I have close friends and family who represent a broad spectrum of political belief. That is very cool because accepting differences is what keeps us great as a country. I am grateful for the freedoms of speech and religion we are granted in our constitution (meaning we need to continually prove worthy of them) and in the culture of inclusion in which we are raised.

Evil can not dampen our freedom. If anything it makes us want to be more belligerent in our quest for equality and mutual respect.

Last October I ran the Hartford Marathon in 3:37 and change. It is a qualifying time for the 2014 Boston Marathon. I plan to submit my entry as soon as the Boston Athletic Association opens registration in September. Screw evil. I am a runner.

Run Free!

Being Grateful

It has been a difficult time here in New England. Between hurricane Sandy, Sandy Hook, strange weather and, now, the Boston Marathon atrocity, we’ve been put to the test.

I woke early, which is my habit, and sat with a cup of coffee not as focused on the work staring back at me from my computer as normal. My eyes looked out to the rising sun and this is what I saw.

A reminder…

Sunrise Reminder

Sunrise Reminder