Sunday, November 17, 2013

Running vs. Walking

Should I run or should I walk now?  If I walk there will be trouble, and if I run it will be double...

I can run for short distances and not very frequently.  Every time I try to ramp up the running, I end up with acute pain in my knees that sends me straight to the ibuprofen and those incredible knee wraps that heat up.  In my most recent ramp up, I had made it to alternating quarter mile laps of running and walking on two of my weekly workouts.  The recovery from them was taking longer each time and shifting from soreness to pain.  I finally had to ask myself why I assign an inherently higher value to moving my feet in a different, only slightly faster way.  Am I willing to jeopardize my ability to finish a half marathon just so I can run a 5k?  I'm never going to be a 6-minute miler, so why am I so desperate to join the middle of the pack instead of the back of it?

With my current walking paces, I should be able to do a 3:15 half marathon.  The courses for two of the races I'm entering close at 3:30.  There is something challenging about being so close to the cutoff that I can't let up and have to strive for my best throughout my entire race.  My husband sent me this article the other day about different types of marathoners.  He's a "top thirder" and I'm a "just finisher," for half marathons anyway.  I really liked this line that shows how hard some of the just finishers have to work: "They started their training plan months earlier with one goal: Get to that finish line, no matter how long it takes to get there."  I have put in my time and this truly is the best I can be right now.  I put in more than twice the time on the course as the winners do.  When I cross that line I'll get the medal for my effort, which in no way diminishes the value of the medal the fast people get.  I've learned to avoid reading running forums because there's a lot of negativity toward the back of the pack and (gasp!) walkers in some of them.  Shouldn't we just be glad more people are choosing to get up off the couch?

I'm not sure if the wish to run will ever go away.  Since regular life and walking also put some stress on my knee, it's all about managing it.  Maybe in the future I'll gain strength and I'll be able to run, but right now I am realizing how wonderful it is to be able to walk for hours, bringing my particular breed of walking happiness to the back of the pack.

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