Foot fault

February 25, 2008

The “tweaked foot” as I called it before has kept me from running for SEVEN days — unacceptable! After an initial misdiagnosis, Dr. Michael now says it’s an abductor hallucis strain. (It hurts most when I push down at the top of my arch just below the small bone protrusion on my left foot.)

I resumed lifting and spin class in the middle of the week and walking in more recent days, but this is something I never want to experience again. As you can imagine, I read endless websites on foot injuries that caused me more than one cold sweat. I’m really thankful I may entirely escape this injury and not have it reoccur. It happened early in the season and wasn’t running-related; once my foot heals I hope everything will be back to normal. I’ve been keeping it taped and otherwise not doing anything too adventurous, like yoga!

Injuries are nothing new to me. Having played indoor and beach volleyball for many years, injuries — especially foot/ankle injuries — happen all the time. (I’d say volleyball ranks alongside tennis as the most injury-prone sport where you’re never actually contacting your opponent.)

For whatever reason, I have never cared to get back to running as much as I do now. This morning I ran with my foot taped for 25 minutes at my normal pace without compensating my stride.

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Not much to love

February 13, 2008

Let me just say it, I don’t love running and I maybe never will. Running is monotonous, solitary, sometimes painful, and requires significant time dedication. This list is not exhaustive.

When I tell friends about my marathon ambitions, the first question is typically “Why??” I hope to provide a well-constructed argument soon; for now, it’s because running is hard. Ironically, all the reasons I dislike running are the reasons why I do it. If marathon running was easy, it wouldn’t be worth my time.

It’s hard to imagine running for hours at a time, so I hope there’s some trick. There’s probably good reason why books on motivation and books on running are paired together.

Running can be made fun, like the real kind. When I lived in Stockholm, Sweden, near my apartment was a long winding dirt trail that dove between trees and flirted with the water’s edge. The trail had blind corners, rocks, steep elevation changes, and embankments. Everyday I’d try to run it faster and the fancy footwork kept it interesting. Trails are to running what moguls are to skiing – amazing!

Love it or hate it, in the end – we’ve all experienced it – the satisfaction from completing a long hard run is incredible.

Ballroom dancing ends

February 9, 2008

Today I officially ended dancing with the Columbia Ballroom Dancing Team to make room for running. Yes, it was a trade-off and there was no way around it. Ballroom dancing was a hobby I picked-up as a graduate student and continued last semester as an alum. Having had no prior experience, it was fun learning as many as eight Standard and Latin dances concurrently and traveling for competitions at east coast schools.

I just didn’t have the heart to continue dancing any longer. Now that I’m working full-time, it was too exhausting to come home from lessons and practice after midnight three or more nights a week and have to wake up early for work the next morning.

The bigger issue was that ballroom follows a 12-week semester with a long winter and summer breaks in between. It was in all the time I had during this past winter break that I joined the gym and started running. When spring semester started in January, I lost the desire to practice knowing very well that ballroom will end in a few months, my partner will move home, and I’ll again have a void in my schedule.

I met a lot of great people on the Columbia team, especially my partner, Ksenia. Who’s going to embarrass you dancing Soulja Boy now?

History of Running

February 4, 2008

I thought I’d write the inaugural blog post on how I got to today — my experiences as a runner.

As a child, I developed very strong hand-eye coordination and so athletics came naturally to me, especially throwing. My brother and sister were equally able and we played sports all the time. I was a first-round gym class draft pick and played on several school teams starting in middle school. By way of other sports I became a strong runner so much that the high school track coach tried to recruit me, but I could not leave “my sport” volleyball.

I had no college athletics aspirations at any level; education was the priority. As an undergrad at the University of Michigan, I started lifting weights and became a steady recreational runner. In 2006 I began running more seriously and even trained with a running club, but when I was accepted to Columbia University for graduate school in June of that year it all hastily ended.

One week after being admitted to Columbia, I had quit my job, moved out of my New York City apartment, and was on a plane to Europe for a three and a half-month vacation. In a hurry! When I returned to New York in the fall, I was way too busy with school to think about running. In training, my longest run was 8 miles.

After joining Equinox in December, it became apparent running could be relevant reason for spending so much time at the gym. With some encouragement from trainer Katie, I signed-up for New York Road Runners ($40) and registered for the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run ($35). Now after finishing my third race, I decided I was mentally and physically ready for the challenge of a marathon. And started this blog.