Saturday, March 13, 2010


This morning, I got up early to run. I knew I was going to try to run the entire three miles, even if my training schedule said I only had to try for 2¼. Sure enough, I was able to do it—three miles.

Slower than molasses in January, but three miles nonetheless.

In my own defense, I did have a few spurts of a graceful, gazelle-like running gait inspired entirely by vanity. If a car was stopped at a stop sign waiting for me to cross the street in front of it, the driver idly watching me run, I would feel compelled to step it up a notch. The fake gazelle-like gait would last exactly as long as it would take for me to get across the street and for the car to drive away. Not a moment longer. Then it was right back to my own personal old-lady shuffle.

Once I got home, I decided to have a serious talk with various body parts that have, over the past three weeks, been protesting my new pastime of running.

“It’s not like I’m asking a lot of you,” I said firmly to an obscure muscle in my upper left thigh, maybe the Sartorius muscle, but don’t quote me on that. “I’m not asking you to run a marathon or even a 10K. It’s just a little 5K, and I wish you’d cooperate.” I gave the muscle a nudge. “You’re well padded in squishy layers of fat and saggy skin. I’m not making you slap against a bare femur with no cushion . . . Whaddya want? Packing peanuts?”

“Then you—you behave.“ I scolded my left knee. “You can be replaced, you know,” I threatened in my most severe voice. “They have these really cool titanium and polyethylene artificial numbers, so it’s not like I have to put up with your nonsense.”

“And you, you freeloader,” I said, exasperated, to some obscure trapezius muscle on the side of my neck. “What in the world do you have to complain about? It’s not like you’re doing any of the grunt work in this whole process.”

I know that most runners are lean and thin, so their muscles and joints aren’t under quite so much strain. I could easily weigh 105 pounds—if you surgically removed all my bones and internal organs and just threw what was left on the scale. But that’s not going to happen, if you know what I mean. I come from a long line of eaters. Me and my kin, we like to eat.

I did bring a bottle of Aleve along to Arizona with me for emergencies (accidental limb amputations and the like). I’ve probably taken about five Aleves in the past year all put together. But lately, I’ve found myself thinking—obsessing—about that bottle of Aleve. Thinking it would probably feel pretty good to toss down a couple after breakfast—maybe one or two before I go to bed. I might be on the slippery slope to drug addiction, I’m not sure. So far, I’ve fought the urge, hoping that my various body parts would grow accustomed to actually working a little for their room and board. So I’ve tried hard to just say no to the drugs.

Old age, new problems. I feel like such a jock.


Elaine said...

Hey, you! Good luck with the running and all. I know you don't like medicine and pills, etc. Have you read "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"? It has been my favorite resource for 20 years. It is packed with information about health and healing. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are as effective as drugs, but they are not free of side-effects, just a possible alternative. The book is $18.67 at Amazon and it is at the public library. When I got it, I couldn't stop reading it. When I I got the new edition, I gave the old one to Bailey. There is a ton more information in it than just the dietary supplements. I think you would like it. And vitamin or health food stores sometimes have a reference copy in the store if you want to page through it before you buy it. I think you would find some tips to help with your training program.

2to4aday said...

Elaine: My usual self-prescribed, low-maintenance health program consists of shredded wheat, cranberry juice, and a 2 to 4 mile walk. If it can't be cured with those three things,it would probably be too high maintenance for me :)

That sounds like an interesting book, though. If the shredded wheat doesn't cure me, I might be tempted to check it out of the library. Thanks for the suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm impressed, inspired, envious, challenged. Epsom salt baths are great and I also like arnica (homeopathic) which I'm using topically for the shin splints I developed trying to keep up with you! I got up to running 3 min and am now back to walking - and new shoes! DrH

2to4aday said...

Dr. H: Ouch, shin splints. I had those once (just from walking a few years ago). V-e-r-y painful. I'm going to look into the arnica because I've never heard of it before. And yes, shoes make a ton of difference! Happy trails!

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't knock Aleeve. For those of us with only half of our knees left, some days it is a lifesaver. Thank goodness for modern medicine as long as it is a last resort when lifestyle change fails. Grandma Nettie