Sunday, May 9, 2010

Running to live or living to run?

I have a question, after reading a recent blog with comments on Runner's World. Are runners a bunch of crazy fools, or what?

A question came up on a blog about the GI (as in gastrointestinal) consequences of running. It's quite common. Ya gotta run, then ya gotta go. And go, sometimes. The up-and-down motion, my GI doctor told me once, stimulates the colon quite a bit. To the point that one runner training for a marathon posted that she (he?) was taking an immodium the night before long runs, every time, and that couldn't be good for the health.

Then there was the runner who had the violent need to go in the middle of a long run. There was no place available, so he/she held it and ran all the way back home, and was still not back to normal a week later.

I have this kind of consequence if I push myself, like I did yesterday on my sixth 5K race. (Yay!) Posted my best time yet, 30:29. (Yay again!) I had fun, too. But that time is outside my comfort zone of about 11-minute miles, so I did feel the effects the rest of the day. This morning, I still felt overstretched in my bowels, like the effects from a minor stomach bug, but it quickly resolved itself.

I wanted to post a comment after hearing some runners' stories: "Hey, anyone here ever heard of cross-training?? Cutting back? Maybe not everyone is cut out to run a marathon?" But that would be, first, rude; and secondly, besides weight-lifting, I don't engage in cross-training either, unless you count things like gardening, washing the car, housework, walking, evening romps, and so on. Now mopping, that definitely is hard work and counts, but I don't do it regularly.

I must call myself a casual runner compared to most. I run about 3 times a week, under 10 miles/week (about 9.5 these days). I think the motivation of very serious runners begs this question: Is this all about health and fitness, or something else entirely? It's clearly not beneficial to ruin your knees, or have the runs on a regular basis, or to vomit after running. Is it really a good thing to have such a long and exhausting training run that you're wiped out for the rest of the day? This reminds me of people who want to get to the peak of Mount Everest. Maybe they have a bit of a death wish. They just want to get close enough to stare old Grim in the eyes and say they lived to tell the tale.

My left knee makes constant little crunchy noises these days when I move it, and I can't squat down on it without intense pain. The compression wrap that I wear while running helps, but has not solved my problems. I think I probably injured it training too hard last year -- I did two 5Ks on back-to-back weekends, which was a mistake. I can't undo that, unfortunately. It's hard to remember that everything needs to be done slow and steady when you're over 40. So I'm one to be preaching to other runners to take it easy! Hey -- I haven't needed surgery yet. So there.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a minor miracle. I reviewed all my blog entries, which I have never done before, and I discovered a comment I had never read before on one of the old ones. Date-stamped May 9, 2010. By a total stranger, with quite an interesting blog which I may have to follow at some point. Sweet little things like that just make life worth living!


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