Know your limits… then push them (sometimes)

It’s been two weeks since my second shoulder surgery.  I had a ton of scar tissue so it’s a good thing I had the surgery, or I would be a decrepit old woman with no range of motion within a couple years.  The doctor didn’t tell me that, but this is what I surmise.  The recovery went really well- I was back to work within a day and hit the gym three days later.  I mistakenly thought I could just dive right in and go for a run.  I tallied an impressive 1/2 mile.  If by “impressive,” you mean “really really ridiculously low.”  But instead of pushing myself and impeding my recovery, I hopped on the elliptical for 45 minutes.  I have been building back up since then.  It’s certainly been quicker than the first time around, but I still know my limits.  Like, when I go to Power Hour (which henceforth will be called Athletic Conditioning, because that is what the Y is now calling it) and the class is centered pretty much entirely on pushups, burpees, weighted burpees (aka The Death move), and shoulder presses, I run some sprints on the track and do squats instead.  So basically, I should not have even gone to class.  But I have friends there.  And I also savor the opportunity to a) check to see if one of those friends is going to do something stupid and blog-worthy and b) show off my giant purple bruise.  No seriously, it is gross.  Here is a picture.

Last Saturday, I did my first long-ish run in months.  I know that when I start ramping my mileage up (you know, from  1/2 – 12 miles per week), I start getting shin splints.  It is a tried and true theory, regardless of whether I am heel striking or running in a more natural form.  So earlier in the week, I contacted my good friend at Body Helix, who hooked me up with the brand new Body Helix full calf sleeve.  That’s a picture of me in the silver sleeve.  It is awesome.  It feels so smooth in fact, it feels like you aren’t wearing anything, although you can tell it is providing nice compression.  You know I love me some compression gear.  I have worn Body Helix in the past for my shin splints, and had good results. I think I am going to love these even more though because, being a full sleeve, you get an even greater area of compression.

Anyway, the Body Helix sleeve was only part of what made the run so great.  Another wonderful part of the run was that I got to take sweet Riley running with me.  She is our hound dog and she loves to run.  Rain, shine, hot, cold.  She will run in any weather, unlike me.  Here she is.  The one on the left in the pink collar.  The others are kind of useless for longer runs.  Griffin, in the middle, will trot at a 10:00 pace for approximately 3/4 of a mile.  Then he tries to make his way home or to the car.  There is someone in my house who is fairly similar but I won’t name names. Dylan, on the right, is a decent sprinter and can do about 3 miles if it is precisely 63 degrees and he has not had too much to eat.  We are very much alike.  Riley is the natural born runner, kind of like Shalane Flanagan.  Both are my running idols. Unfortunately, between the baby, two other dogs, and the heat, Riley doesn’t get as much exercise as she should.  It’s certainly possible I train for marathons simply out of guilt, because she will go on training runs with me a lot. Riley is really fun to run with now that all of the dogs had training at the Dog Wizard last December.  She no longer pulls on the lead, which she was terrible about in the past.  She still stops like 5 times to poop (though it’s usually only productive once or twice) but I just sip some water while she does her business. Afterwards, Riley almost had a coronary.  I told you, it’s been a while since we last ran.

Additionally, the weather was incredible.  I despise running in the heat.  I am pretty sure I have mentioned this many many times.  Here in North Carolina, the weather has been horrendous.  So hot and humid.  It is like living on the surface of the sun, after a hurricane.  Oftentimes, I blame my inactivity on the weather.  I think that’s a valid excuse, but I need to deal with it because hello, it’s July, and it’s not likely the heat is going away anytime soon.  But on Saturday, the temp was a brisk 79 when I left the house.  I felt like I needed some earmuffs or something, given how much cooler it was.  The cool temperature tricked my body into thinking it was winter and thus, that I was in some sort of shape.  My goal was to run about 3-4 miles.  I started getting a little tired but felt all right, so I decided to push us. I ended up running 5 miles with Riley and then dropped her off to pick up the other two for another mile.   We won’t discuss what pace I kept.  That’s not what my goal was.

Which brings me to my next point.  It’s HOT AGAIN.  So hot.  Tonight, I went to Athletic Conditioning.   We went outside onto the track, which is not abnormal.  What was abnormal was the humidity.  I swear it was not just me.  We did a decent amount of running, but somehow it felt like I sprinted a 10k with a backpack full of weights in it.  I really wanted to run fast and run hard.  That’s just how I am when I am in a group setting.  But I just couldn’t go as fast or as hard as I wanted to.  Then, when I realized I couldn’t go as fast or as hard as I wanted to, I wanted to quit.  But I stuck it out.  I kept running, slower of course.  I cut off about .01 of a mile off, but I kept going.  I figured out, not surprisingly, that I am not yet capable of running full steam in this kind of heat.  I could have pushed harder- but what would I have accomplished?  A headache, maybe some vomitus, and what else? The point is to get better every day, and enjoy myself.  Physical ailments like shin splints and IT band issues I can deal with, but making myself sick?  That’s not what running and exercising are about to me. At least not anymore.  I know my limit, and for the time being, I am not going to push myself to the brink of sheer exhaustion.  Now that I am a mom and have long term goals like another half marathon and marathon in the next 6 months, maybe another Super Baby, and an Ironman, I can’t risk being out of the game again due to illness or injury.  For now, I just want to have fun and work on increasing my mileage every week.  The really hard stuff will come soon enough…

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