Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"I Wish I Could Join You, but I Can't Run"

Three years ago, my wife, who was a runner wanted to go watch the local triathlon so we went out and checked it out. She was mesmerized, she wanted to train for and compete in the one the following year. I was impressed by the athletes, but since running always hurt my hips, knees, and ankles I was not a runner, I also had not really swam since childhood swimming lessons. Even in those lessons I never got up to the level of learning strokes, so it was more like "not drowning" lessons.

Over the year between the 2009 and 2010 triathlons, I kept doing my martial arts training, and watched my wife tri training. Come triathlon day I was support and video crew, and babysitter for our little girl while my wife put her all into her first ever triathlon.

This time I was mesmerized, it was just such a shame that I was not "born to run", hips knees and ankles, remember.

So I poured a lot of effort into my kung fu to placate myself and my inability to run with my wife and to do triathlons. It was great fun, but I really wanted to run.

Later that year, while my wife was out on a run, I grabbed my old Wal-Mart mountain bike and biked out to join her. I biked beside her for a while, and this crazy idea got into my head.

Maybe, I could run.

So I hopped off the bike, pushed it next to me and ran next to my wife for about 3/4 of a mile. It didn't hurt. Maybe, just maybe I could run.

More time went by, I had tried going on some walks, but my hip would hurt even on one mile walks. I did some research, before I had become athletic, I had been suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis. My relief came from arch support orthotics put in every shoe I owned. I had not suffered from it for a while, but gosh my hip sure hurt when I walked. I read that there were a lot of people that put in arch supports for PF and then suffered from hip bursitis, which was the exact diagnosis of my hip. (My doctors advice for the bursitis was to stay off my feet. What does a duck say again?)

I ditched the orthotics.

I could walk. Maybe I could run. My wife was running in our town's Great Turkey 5K. Eight days before the race, I decided to see if I could run the distance. (I know, crazy right?) I got off the couch in the cargo shorts and tshirt I was wearing and ran 5K. It didn't hurt. Until the next day when my quads were too sore to walk.

I ran the race with my wife. My first 5K. I wasn't even sore the next day. Afterwards, I got on runnersworld.com and logged onto "SmartCoach" and started my first running training. I discovered that there were some stretches I could do to alleviate the occasional hip pain, later came to minimal shoes (Have you read Born to Run?) and never had my issues again.

Spring ran on, and my wife said, "It's time to start triathlon training." So we got a membership at the local aquatics facility and I had to learn to swim. At times that task seemed insurmountable.

Last year after a lot of hard work, after overcoming limitations in my mind, (I can't run, I can't swim) I completed a triathlon with my wife, on our anniversary. In 5 days I do it again.