Running Man

I’m not one for regrets. For better or worse, my life is the product of the choices I’ve made. What if’ing different choices is a waste of time. What’s done is done. Celebrate the good, learn from the bad, and move on.

That said, I wish my early experiences with running had been more positive. My aversion started in grade school. When I tried to run, severe side cramps forced me to stop. I vividly recall my shame for being unable to finish a mile run in Phys Ed class. Trying too hard was the problem. For some reason, I thought all-out was the only option.

I got a wild hair in my early 20s during a downpour one summer afternoon and set out running in nothing but tennis shoes and swimming trunks. I have no idea how far I ran — probably less than a mile — but the experience stands out in my memory as exhilarating and enjoyable. I didn’t run again until a high heel relay for charity. Moments before the race, I realized I hadn’t run in probably 20 years and panicked. We didn’t win, but I didn’t embarrass myself.

Health issues eventually forced me to get serious about regular exercise. I went through several activities before Andy persuaded me to try the Couch to 5K app. The gradual buildup worked. I ran in my first 5K a few months later.

Since then, I run when I can, but am a little picky. It needs to be sunny with temperature between 55-ish and 75. I need my phone for MapMMyRun and Spotify, so running in the rain hasn’t been an option. That may change with my new earbuds, a brimmed hat, and a Ziploc bag to keep the phone dry.

My goal is to run every-other-day. Three miles is the norm at an average pace of roughly 14 minutes per mile (nearly four times the world record). Work often interfered with my routine — especially in months when the window of opportunity is narrow. I did well to run once or twice a week.

Working from home for the pandemic gave me the flexibility to run more consistently. Sticking to my routine for most of last year helped me lose twenty pounds and brought me closer than ever to my ideal weight. Losing weight is great, but running checks off other boxes too. Some days are better than others, but either way, running makes me feel good about myself and life in general.

I got greedy. Late last summer, I started running every day. I knew better. Plantar fasciitis had abruptly halted my running routine several years ago. The pain in my heel kept me from running for nearly a year. Despite feeling great after months of running every other day, a week or so of running every day was too much. Plantar fasciitis forced me to stop running again.

A friend suggested daily ibuprofen and good shoes. Over the winter I ordered several brands and styles of shoes. The best, by far, are Skecher’s Archfit. I ordered two more pairs (both slip-ons) that are even more comfortable. Whether because of the shoes, the break from running or the ibuprofen I don’t know, but the pain in my feet went away.

I resumed my every-other-day running routine April 26 — exactly six months after having to stop. Stretching is more of a priority and seems to help. I planned to alternate between my Brooks running shoes and the lace-up Skecher’s, but the latter were so much more comfy I stopped wearing the Brooks.

So far, so good. Feels great to be running again. Not running sucks, so I’m being careful. I want to keep running as long as possible.