Thursday, February 23, 2012

My 40-Day Run from Chocolate

My favorite chocolate bar right now
Chocolove - Check them out at
So, the other day was the start of Lent, and ... drumroll, please ... I decided to give up chocolate.  Horror of horrors, I know.  This may not be a big deal to some, but for me it is monumental.  I am addicted to chocolate.  Seriously.  I don't think a day goes by where I don't have chocolate in some form or another.  It's probably my one true uncontrolled indulgence.  So, why give it up, especially since I usually don't give up anything for Lent?  I don't know really.  I guess I want to see if I can do it.  Maybe I feel the need for a personal challenge, and since running isn't really giving me any in the near future, I thought this might be a good option.  So, what are my goals with this?  Well, pretty basic:
  1. To see if I can actually do this without driving myself crazy (so far I have been obsessing about whether or not I'll actually remember I am doing this)
  2. To see if I can get past the NEED for daily chocolate.  How nice it would be to have a passing craving for chocolate and be able to tell myself, No, I don't think so. Not right now.  
So far I am dubious.  Already this morning, as I reached for the carton of chocolate Silk - with the idea of adding it to my coffee - I had to mentally smack myself.  I have the feeling there will be a lot of those Oops moments.  Wish me luck on my journey of self-deprivation....I'll need it.

The unintentional run analysis

So, Tuesday I went to see my PT again for a scheduled appointment and managed to get some exercise in at the same time.  Since whenever I go in my shin doesn't seem to be bothering me, I decided I would arrive a half hour early, use their treadmill, and see if I could "light up" the injury site.  I set the machine at 6 mph and managed to get in 26 minutes before my appointment.  I threw in a couple of five-minute intervals at 7 mph just to see if I could do it (I could), and tried to ignore the fact that in the last five minutes, the PT started videotaping me for a running analysis.  

Overall, the appointment went well.  My running analysis didn't reveal too much.  I overpronate slightly on one side and have some hip dropping on the other.  I heel strike a bit, but not significantly, and my cadence is pretty good (about 176 strides per minute).  Some good news, too:  my core is STRONG.  Apparently, I don't show a lot of core weakness.  I'll credit the Fab Abs challenge for that.  The weird part about the appointment?  Running for 26 minutes didn't really get the shin to hurt.  Go figure.  Either I have to exercise longer to get that response, or the treadmill is somehow more forgiving.  

PT#1 still seems to think this is a tightness issue, exacerbated by the fact that I am not resting it completely.  She thinks if I were just to sit around and do nothing, this would go away relatively quickly.  However, since I have chosen to stay active, I am stuck taking one step back for every two steps forward.  But, as long as what is happening with me is still considered a recovery, I guess I am okay with that.

I thought I was a pretty stable person, but apparently I need more stability in my life

One thing the PT did recommend is that I look into getting into some mild stability shoes.  This suggestion would have come as a complete surprise if the lady at the running store on Sunday hadn't just told me the exact same thing.  I don't know why I need mild stability now after I have been told for the past few years that I am a solid neutral runner, but I am willing to give anything a try.  Stability shoes in the past have not worked for me, but that was before I knew about mild stability.  So, yesterday it was back to the running store to try on shoes once again.

Saucony Cortana -
The pair I actually like - but have yet to buy - are in fact neutral shoes that have enough stability in them to cross over into the mild stability category.  Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive shoes I have ever considered buying.  The fact that they are rated for up to 600 miles makes me feel a little bit better about the $140 price tag, but not much.  The sad part, though, is that of all the shoes I have tried on in the past couple of months, they are the ones that feel the most comfortable.  I have now tried these shoes twice, and I like them, but the guy at the running store wants me to hold off until I can try another pair of shoes they are bringing in from another store.  He thinks I might like those better.  So, I wait.

Since I ran on Tuesday at the PT's office, I thought I would just try to do some sprints on the track yesterday, so I went upstairs and warmed up for five minutes and then let 'er rip.  Three 45-60 second sprints around the track at top speed, interspersed with recovery jogs left me whooped.  You can tell I don't normally do speed work.  I only did this for fifteen minutes total, so not a huge effort.  And, I have to say that, despite feeling like I was going to hork up a lung after, I enjoyed the challenge.  Really.  There might even be some more speed work in my future.  In fact, I might actually do a little research on how one is actually supposed to do it.  I followed up my brief run with 30 minutes on the rowing machine and 15 minutes on the elliptical.  A good well-rounded effort, I would say.

After picking up the Little Guy from pre-school, we headed over to the gymnastics center for some playtime.  That was a blast and allowed LG to get in his exercise, too.  Unfortunately, that also meant I didn't ice right away, and - perhaps as a result - the shin was more sore the rest of the day.  Ah well.  If nothing else, I think I am finally starting to learn to recognize the triggers and how to work around this a bit now.  That's something, I suppose.

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