Monday, August 27, 2012

Backing Down

I am not a patient person. I am most not-patient with myself.

That's why I was asking for strength exercises after only a few weeks of walking. That's why I try to DO some of those strength exercises more than the recommended once per week. And that's why, once I was told the plan was for me to start running at the beginning of September, I went out and started the next day. And that's why, instead of running one minute of each mile, I've already worked myself up to an average of more than 3 1/2 minutes per mile.

And that's why my knees (which are clinically arthritic and haven't had any cartilage to speak of for YEARS) are starting to cause me a lot of problems.

I talked to Matt on Saturday and told him my knees are hurting and feeling swollen. He said, "Well, DUH! That's why I told you not to run until September and why I told you only one minute per mile!"

Well, okay. He didn't exactly use those words, and he didn't say it with the kind of inflection that translates as "You moron!" But there was a certain amount of "I told you so" in his voice.

Then he gave me an example from his own running, of how he had one coach who wanted him to always be race-ready, and he did okay with it, but still knew he wasn't as good as he could be. Then he switched to a different coach, who had him back down and work on strength building and form and breathing and...I don't know...all those other pieces of the puzzle that have to fit together to make you an elite runner. But all of those preliminaries had to be developed and built up before they could fit together to make the total package.

Me? I want to be the total package and I want to be that right now - whatever "that" is going to be. I doubt I'll ever be a runner - the person who can go out and just run for miles and miles. Again, my knees won't hold up to that. But I want to do it as much as I possibly can, and I want to do it NOW.

But I understand better now that I have to be patient with myself. I have to remember that two months ago I was a couch potato and did no exercise at all to speak of. I have to remember where I started and allow myself time to get from Point A to Point B. I have to build up my legs and the muscles surrounding my knees before I start running so those can support my weight to compensate for the knees being so lousy.

So this is me, taking a deep breath and backing down to where I'm supposed to be - walking...JUST walking...and doing the strength training just once a week. (Well, I have four mini-exercise routines, and I do one per day for 4 of the 7 days each week.) This is me giving my knees and the rest of my body a chance to adapt. This is me remembering that I'm not in my 20s anymore and such big changes take time.

This is me being patient with myself.


By the way, for those who expressed such concern and shared their ideas about possible causes after I posted the blog entry "Losing Brain Cells," I wanted to mention that one good friend suggested a cause - and described the symptoms that she went through - that rang so very true with what I'm experiencing. So I'm going to blame it on menopause. At least that sounds good enough for now. ;)

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