too many words by laura lemay

bad runner, no biscuit

I had really big plans. As I posted a few weeks back, I was going to go out running on the track on a regular basis and get my speed down from the shameful twenty two minutes down to somewhere around fifteen, and thus improve my aerobic conditioning. That was the plan.

It didn’t work out. I failed to take age-related body deterioration into account.

The last time I had tried to run, almost five years ago, I had a lot of problems with my feet and my hips, but they tended to show up only when I was running 10 miles or more per week on pavement. I had thought, this time, that running a couple of kilometers twice a week on a rubberized track would be fine.

I was even trying to be gentle, alternating running and walking different laps, working up to running the full six laps. But it hurt to run and it hurt afterward. Also, oddly enough, even though I was adding more running to my laps, my time wasn’t improving. It was like my running was no faster than my walking. The best I ever did before I gave up was twenty minutes. And then the fourth time I tried it I woke up the day after and was almost entirely unable to move. Very bad hip pain. Very bad.

Obviously, I am old. My joints have degraded to the point where I can’t even run a little bit. I am deeply unhappy about this; I LIKE to run and I don’t like to admit that I just can’t do things that I want to do because my body isn’t up to it. Its just not fair.

For a little while I wailed: why didn’t I become athletic in my twenties when my body was up for the abuse? And then I remembered: I was kind of busy doing other things in my twenties. I was out in nightclubs four days a week. I was drinking anything served to me as long as it was cheap and served in a shot glass, and flirting shamelessly with boys who really weren’t good for me. I was dancing in cages, on bars, and alone in the middle of empty dance floors because well, its a GOOD SONG.

And I was getting home at 4AM and waking up at 8AM and taking a shower and going to work and doing it all over again night after night, because I was in my twenties and when you are in your twenties your body can take that kind of abuse. Just like running. I can’t do that now. Just like running.

I can’t possibly regret not being an athlete in my twenties because I don’t regret being a club rat in my twenties. I can be athletic now instead. I just have to be more careful about it.

It took me a couple weeks to recover from the hip pain and then one day I was in the gym and I got up on the treadmill. The treadmill deck is padded so I thought it might be easier on my joints. Yes, I am stubborn: I was willing to risk more hip pain on this just to see what would happen. I did the equivalent of my six laps, some running, some walking, again, trying to be gentle.

Sixteen minutes ten seconds.


And no pain at all, not then, not after.

Ha HA!

I win!

Unfortunately, running on the treadmill is so mind-numbingly boring I want to scream. Put it inside a cage and give me boys to flirt with while I’m doing it: there’s an idea.