I didn’t like running when I was in the Army. When I got out, I tried running once in the next year. It sucked so much. I was so out of breathe, my lungs were on fire. I was sure my heart was going to crack a rib or three.
I didn’t run again for over a year. One day I was walking up some stairs, and I was breathing heavily after just a flight or two. I thought I should get back into shape, but it didn’t go beyond that. Then a while later, I was looking in the mirror after a shower. I’ve always been a skinny guy, but I was starting to get the skinny guy gut. That tipped the scales on my motivation to start running again.
In the 7 years since then, I’ve dabbled with other exercises a couple times. They never stuck. I’ve never enjoyed lifting weights or other strength training. I’ve sort of considered myself just a runner and didn’t need anything else. I’m starting to reconsider a little.
As I’m increasing my mileage with three 50k races scheduled this year so far — two down, one in a few days — and looking to run a 50 mi race after that, I’m noticing a few little things here and there. When I go over 15 miles or so or do some significant uphill, I have some tightness in my hips, some minor muscle imbalances and some breakdown in form when tired. I’ve had some lower back pain a couple times so far this year, and I’m not sure the culprit. And I’ve also had muscle spasms in my trapezius muscles since 2004 in the Army. They’re not constant, but certainly get pretty intense on some long runs.
I think I can suffer my way through a 50 mi race with my current plan involving just running. I’d like to do more in the future and potentially a 100 mi race as well. In order to minimize my suffering, I should probably introduce exercises for my core, hips and back. I’ve recently started stretching some, but could use more. I’ve done minimal stretching since I started running. Never before a run, and rarely after.
On that note, the one exercise other than running that I enjoyed when I tried it was yoga. I took a class at Shoreline Community College in 2008. I’m considering giving yoga a shot again. I’m not sure whether I want to attend classes or try practicing on my own. Even having taken a class, I’m definitely still a beginner, so I would probably get more out of and keep up with it more regularly taking a class.
I kind of live in the boonies, so finding a class within a reasonable drive is a little tough. There is a gym in the closest “city” about 15 mi or a little over 20 min drive that has classes, but I’d have to join the gym. The next closest classes I’ve found are almost twice as far away. It would probably be beneficial to do some strength training once or twice a week as well, so I’m considering the gym. If the time it took for me to start running after “considering it” is any indication, it might be a while, though.
Part of why I started writing this blog is to keep myself accountable and motivated, so maybe this will tip the scales to action. I think I’ll check their class schedule for something after my 50k race this weekend.