Maybe this is an early onset of a midlife crisis as I prepare to turn 32 next Monday, but I really like the phrase Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once) that I see emblazoned upon the attire of youths approximately half my age.
Some people use it to justify reckless, life-threatening activity, and maybe that’s why I know a sizable number of people who hate the phrase.
I love this phrase because I use it to justify challenging, life-enhancing activities like taking the risk to run a half-marathon! It’s true—all of us on Earth only do live once. Why not spend our one life attempting to conquer challenges that will help us become healthier people in the process?
Unfortunately, I still experience plenty of times when I temporarily forget about my own human fragility and completely forget that keeping my body in shape for running is a daily effort. My first week of half-marathon training was filled with those times.
After a great race at the Bay Village Snoball 5K on February 25th—I still need to write up a race recap for that, don’t I?—I headed home with plenty of wind in my sails and felt very optimistic about my training.
Unfortunately, the euphoria from my great race made me feel invincible throughout the next few days, and I wound up making several foolish choices that made me come to grips with the fact that one random mistake can cause a serious setback in training.
We helped two friends move into their new apartment after the Snoball, and the moving process was actually more grueling than the Snoball race. I must have gone up and down 50 flights of stairs! I also saw my racing season flash before my eyes when I almost fell down the stairs while carrying some boxes. I chose my health over the boxes, and I was very grateful to find out that there were only non-breakable items inside after I tossed the boxes bounce down the stairs in order to prevent a risky fall. Afterwards, we attended a birthday party and a church Bible study, which involved long periods of standing and talking to people. Needless to say, I woke up on Sunday morning feeling extremely sore!
Mondays are my “Stretch and Strengthen” day, and Sheila and I enjoyed a great yoga session in our newly cleaned study\exercise room on Monday. I have really grown to enjoy doing the exercises on Bethenny Frankel’s yoga DVD—they’re simple and easy to do but also very effective in stretching out my entire body. Ever since we started doing her routines on a semi-regular basis, I have had much less difficulty getting my legs warmed up at the start of my runs.
I decided that an indoor run on Tuesday would be a great way to help my legs recover back to full health. After a great 30 minute run, I threw caution to the wind and ran as hard as I possibly could for a few minutes with very little regard to my form. To make matters worse, I followed up that stroke of brilliance by spending very little time stretching afterwards because I had a ton of work to do.
You don’t need a crystal ball to figure out what happened next. I spent the next few days worrying if I had injured my feet, engaging in all sorts of Chicken Little-esque self-diagnosis online, and worrying if my PR at the Snoball would be the highlight of my 2013 racing season. I didn’t do a darn thing for the rest of the week and was in a major funk.
On Saturday, I decided to take Butters out for a walk to test out my feet and to get some fresh air. I don’t know if I need to lose a limb before I start making wiser choices, because I bounded out without gloves despite the fact that the temperature was in the 20s. By the end of the walk, my feet felt great but my hands felt chapped and dry!
Sunday brought beautiful weather and several expanses of ice-free sidewalks and I decided to go on a short run to see how my feet would feel. My training program stated that I needed to go 4 miles, but I thought that was a bit too far if I was worried about an injury. I planned on going 3 miles but wound up going 3.65 miles. Fortunately, the vast majority of this distance was pain-free! Having the opportunity to work in a run felt great and the entire run as a whole was very invigorating. I spent the evening icing down and stretching out my feet, and I woke up Monday morning feeling relatively good.
As it turned out, I actually think that the biggest reason for my foot pain was the fact that my feet had become extremely dry and my heels were about to develop calluses. I realized this on Saturday night and have been diligently taking care of them ever since, and my discomfort is now nearly non-existent. Whew!
Although my first week of training didn’t go exactly as I had planned, I’m grateful that it ended on a positive note. With temperatures poised to rise over the next few days here in Cleveland, I’m eager to work in several solid outdoor runs this week!