Thursday, May 13, 2010

First Attempts at Running

Last night, I ran one mile. When I was younger, I used to run all the time. It wasn't a health thing; I just ran because I could and it was faster than walking. Then, as a teen, I had a motorcycle accident in which I almost lost my leg. Since then, I have never been able to run for very long before my hip would give me problems. This pretty much ended my running. I can still do a quick jog from, say the parking lot to the front door; but that's hardly much sport. So, running a mile is a big deal for me.

As you get older, you fall into routines and habits. For the most part, they can be helpful. However in instances where you are sedentary, this is not so great. Coupled with geek tendencies, you can easily end up sitting at a computer all day. This, in turn, causes you to start gaining weight. To further exacerbate the problem, being a computer geek gives you scrawny little arms and legs; muscle burns calories, so the more you have, he easier it is to burn energy. I am fortunate that my metabolism tends to burn a little hot. However, it has not been able to keep up with my calorie consumption and lack of exercise.

The other day, I went to the doctor and got a blood test. He says my cholesterol is high and needs to be brought down. He prescribed medication. I'm not too keen on it given that we had not attempted or discussed a change in diet and exercise. So, I'm taking it upon myself to try these things before popping pills for cholesterol.

Here is where I got the idea to run. Loic Lemeur wrote a blog post a couple months ago about his new Vibram Five Finger shoes. Yes, they are a little strange; but I can see the logic behind using them. The VFF shoes require a different way of running. Rather than running heel to toe, like you do with regular shoes, the VFFs require you to use your entire foot. You do it unintentionally because there is no cushion for your heel. The result is a sort of Chi Running.

Last night, I decided to try running without shoes. I'm not inclined to spend money on freaky shoes without knowing if they'll help. So, with only a couple of days of walking barefoot for one or two miles, I decided to go for it last night. I ran a mile non-stop. No pain. Breathless. Mostly sore from atrophied muscles. But, the amazing thing is, I ran a mile. I haven't run that far in the longest time. You should see my smile as I type this.

Anyway, I started looking for barefoot running online. Apparently, there are many people doing this. And, it seems I'm not the only person with a hip injury who has successfully been able to run again.

While my hip was agreeable to my barefoot running, the rest of me will have to ease into it. First, I haven't much endurance. It has been a while since I have had to breathe hard. That sort of thing takes training. I could also feel the strain of tendons and ligaments as I ran. My leg muscles were also complaining about the new demands. However, these things will go away as my condition improves.

What is most important is that I found a way in which I can take up running again.

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