Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bucket List: My First 10K Accomplished

A Triumph and a Disappointment

My First 10K

I did it. I accomplished my goal of running my very first 10K race and not only did I finish it, but I also managed to shave off 3 minutes from my previous time. It was a moment of triumph, but it came with a bitter aftertaste. My body had its own plans for the day.

A Battle with My Body

The Pre-Race Struggle

A few days before the race, I experienced what I thought was a simple leg cramp. Little did I know that it would evolve into something much more challenging. I spent the day before the race diligently tending to my leg, with a heating pad and stretching, hoping it was just a minor issue.

A Nervous Morning

The morning of the race was filled with nerves. I couldn't shake the fear that my leg would betray me once again, and unfortunately, it did just that. For the first 3 miles, my feet and toes remained numb, possibly due to the chilly weather. However, the ordeal was far from over; throughout the race, my right leg, hip, and glutes were in excruciating pain.

Perseverance Amidst Pain

But I wasn't going to let my body hold me back from achieving my goal. After all, I often tell our kids to persevere and push through life's challenges, so I followed my own advice. The pain was there, but so was my determination.

The Lingering Pain

My leg continues to ache even after the race. An internet diagnosis suggests sciatic nerve pain, but the root cause remains uncertain. My best guess is that I pushed my aging body beyond its limits with exercises it couldn't handle. Note: I was correct in the diagnosis. Stretching the right way took the pain away.

Questioning My Workout Routine

My regular regimen included weightlifting at the gym and three days of running each week. In addition to that, I incorporated at-home workouts I found online. I suspect that these home exercises might have done more harm than good to my body, but only time and medical tests will reveal the truth. An upcoming MRI will not only examine my spine but also my brain due to prior numbness in my arms and legs.

The Realization of Aging

Getting older is a reality that none of us can escape. The lesson I've learned is that my body is not the same as it was 20 years ago, and I need to adapt accordingly.

Looking Ahead

Though it's disappointing to face these physical challenges, I'm excited about the prospect of running another 10K. My hope is that my body will cooperate next time. For now, I eagerly await the results of my medical tests and prepare to embrace the changes that come with age.

10k Are You Ready Checklist

1. Be able to run 6.2 miles - My running partner and I were able to do this last Sunday when we checked out the course.  We will go for it again this week.

 2. Strength training - I have been lifting weights at the gym and at home three days a week now for over six months. My muscles are getting stronger and increasing a little bit every week. I can measure this with my new scale. It measures everything from BMI to body fat to muscle.  

3. Proper running shoes - I am testing out shoes I already have. So far my favorite ones are the ones my dog chewed up.

4. Headgear - I will be wearing a headband from Under Armor. It's dry-fit and will keep my head dry and warm. It's supposed to be in the low 30s on the day of the race.

5. Gloves - I will need two pairs.  The first pair is a pair of Nike dry-fit running gloves.  The second pair will allow me to use my iPhone while I run so I can monitor my pace. 

 6. iPhone with Map My Run App - This is so I can monitor my pace.  I was thinking of getting a watch that would do the same thing.  But  -- since I'm pretty superstitious, I might just have to stick with what I am used to.

 7. Layers of clothes - November gets quite chilly here but once you get running your body temperature ramps up.  Plus there is always a chance of a hot flash coming on so it's better to be prepared to take off some of those layers.

 8. Hydrate  - It's good to start days before the race to make sure your body is all ready to go.

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