Thursday, August 30, 2012

'Here' vs 'There'

I just got back from a Florida vacation, and boy is my checking account tired!

But seriously, is. This may have, it definitely was...the most expensive vacation we've ever taken. Twelve nights of boarding our dog, airline tickets, condo fee, food, theme park passes...

But I digress.

We were in St. Petersburg, FL for 10 days (minus 3 nights we spent in Orlando) visiting family and celebrating my mom's 70th birthday. I managed to run exactly twice while we were there. Both runs were at night, when it was 'cooler.' 'Cooler' being eighty-four degrees with high humidity; a tad more palatable than the hellish daytime conditions. But I gave it a go anyway, as I always do when we visit there. It wasn't pretty. Living in the Seattle area has done nothing to prepare me for running in hot, liquified air. After two jaunts, I shut it down the rest of our stay and worked on another physical goal: seeing if I could do more than 1,000 pushups while I was there (I managed 1,230). Then, I went for a single-week PR and did 1,005 in a full week (half of it in Florida, half back home), totaling 1,530 in two weeks. This week, I'm working on my pullups. As you might suspect, I'm big into the bodyweight exercises currently. I'll get back to the free weights eventually.

Something I wanted to write about was an observation I made, having spent time in Florida recently. It's an observation AND a comparison. I'm sure it will seem condescending and arrogant to some.

What is it? Generally speaking, people in the greater Seattle area are in better shape and more fitness-minded than those in the Tampa Bay area. There, I said it. I can't quote the source(s) off the top of my head, but there's a reason that Seattle usually ranks near the top of the various 'Most Fit Cities' lists found in various publications. Go for a 45-minute drive around Seattle-area neighborhoods and see how many runners and cyclists you see. Do the same in St. Petersburg and you'll be lucky to see any.

I know, it's hot and humid this time of year down there...but I ran (albeit at night, and only twice) and I never saw another fellow runner. The few cyclists I saw while down there were mostly commuters...and none of them wore cycling gear. Not that you have to do so to be considered a 'real' cyclist (or 'cool'), but you get the point.

Now, to get out of the corner I painted myself into. The message I want to relay is that, wherever you are, be that person who gets out and lives the fitness lifestyle. Be the one that others see as they're driving around. You very well may inspire them to do the same thing. It always inspires me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Woe Is Knee

If it's not one thing, it's another, so it seems.

Although I wasn't putting in a lot of running mileage, I was beginning to feel like a runner again. I spent several weeks doing slow heart rate training, I dropped a few pounds, started adding in some speedwork, you know the drill.

Then my old nemesis—my right knee—had other plans. You probably thought it was my heel, right? Sorry...that's my NEW nemesis (even though THAT issue is now in its "Terrible Twos".) No, the beast that lives within my right knee—which has been dormant for a few years—has awakened. And he ain't happy.

I had an MRI done on that knee back in 1997, which revealed a partially torn meniscus and degenerative cartilage. The doctor...who was overweight and smelled like cigarettes...advised me to give up running.

HA, I say!

So...4,500 or so running miles later, the knee is reminding me that it's not all it's cracked up to be.


Maybe it's the speedwork (although this week, an easy 5-miler set it off again). You don't need to be a mind reader to deduce how frustrating it is to be a runner with frequent and chronic injuries.

[As an aside, if you get Northwest Runner Magazine, you can read my article on coping with injuries in the September 2012 issue.]

So...where to now? As fate would have it, I'll be on vacation for the next couple of weeks. I'll bring my running gear, but I'll be busy vacationing (i.e. allowing my bank account to be raped by Orlando theme parks), so there may not be a lot of running going on anyway.


Maybe this will convince me to get back into the pool. Don't hold your breath, though.

See what I did there? I made a little swimming joke!

Ahem. Carry on...