What I Learned Today

Well, tonight I don’t honestly have a whole lot to talk about. The biggest thing that happened to me today was that I decided to go for a run, outside, instead of on the treadmill in my air-conditioned basement. I had planned on running early in the morning, but had meditation group from 7:30-8:30 then a 10:20 appointment with my pulmonologist, so I ended up running at noon instead. So instead of being a nice 65 degrees out, it was pushing 90.

Those of you who know me know that I haven’t usually dealt with heat well. My body’s thermostat has been thrown so far off kilter with all of my medications and drug use that I have probably felt like it was almost 10 degrees warmer than it actually was most of the time. Now that my body is starting to re-adjust to less and less of the subutex (another two days it will be none), I think I am beginning to acclimate to what the “real” temperature is around me rather than my “perceived” temperature.

Anyway, what that means is that even though it was hot outside, I went for a run anyway. And let me tell you, it wasn’t the heat that got me. It was the combination of running on pavement which is much less forgiving than a cushioned treadmill, and the fact that I didn’t have a treadmill motor setting the pace for me. So instead of running at my normal 5.3 miles per hour steady treadmill speed, I was all over the map, according to my “MapMyRun” iPhone app, I averaged 6mph and at times was around 7mph, which is just too fast for me to sustain. So although I had planned to run about 1.93 miles, I ended up cutting it short (partially on accident) and running through Westridge park instead of around it. So I ran about 1.5 miles in about 14 minutes, which is a great time for me since I have been averaging 12 minute miles on the treadmill.

But instead of just being slightly winded and really sweaty like I have been after my treadmill runs, I was very winded, incredibly sweaty, and my right hamstring felt like I might have overstressed it. Oh yeah, also there was significant elevation change on my run today, and although the treadmill can increase its incline, I haven’t much used that function.

So the combination of running uphill, in the heat, at too fast of a pace equaled perhaps more physical stress than my body was ready for.

And yet, I don’t regret going out and trying it. In the past, I would have said, OK, that was too much. I’ll pull back, be more cautious, or just stop outright. Today, I say alright, I will decrease the variables next time.

We live just a few tenths of a mile downhill from Lakeridge High School. So tomorrow morning (while it is cool) I will walk up the hill to Lakeridge to warm up, then run a few laps on the cushioned track, then walk back.

So while I will be outside, I won’t run on the pavement, I won’t run in the heat, and I will try and keep myself at a more reasonable pace. Also, there’s no elevation change on a track.

I have to credit Kate for this idea, because we were talking in the car on the way to my appointment today and happened to be talking about running as we drove past the high school and she mentioned the track and told me I could warm up by walking there and then run a bit on the track before walking back to cool down. And I think it is a fabulous idea. I can still get outside and run in the fresh air (and actually go somewhere instead of just running in place) and I also get to minimize some of the variables that might contribute to injury. Altogether I think it’s a perfect solution.

The other thing I learned today is that I need to boost my calorie intake slightly. I don’t feel like I have lost much weight, but according to the doctor’s scale, I have lost 9 pounds in the last month, some of which is understandable due to my significantly increased activity level.

But my target weight is about 7 pounds above where I am now, and if I continue to boost my exercise and push my endurance, I will need to make sure I give my body adequate fuel to do so.

So I guess I did have a few things to say, but none of them are particularly earth shattering. Just more lessons about how to really move forward on my wellness quest.

I have already come so much further than I would ever have expected. If anyone would have told me that I would even be able to run a mile at all, much less almost every day, or that eventually I would actually increase that to two miles a day….I would have laughed.

If someone had told me that in a few months I would run a mile and a half outdoors in near 90 degree heat up and down hills while eating a vegan, gluten-free diet AS  I was detoxing from subutex….Well, I might have tried to hit them.

Shows you what I knew.

Thank you all for following my progress and for all of your kind words and encouraging comments. You are all truly an integral part of my increasing wellness, and I look forward to sharing new insights as they come.

Peace to you,

-Nathan

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2 responses to “What I Learned Today

  1. You are an All Star in my book, too…..and I, too, have a great deal of respect for you.
    Love, Aunt Kate

  2. Hi Nathan,
    I am just now getting around to read your blog from the night before. I can’t imagine running in the heat like you did. You are really stretching yourself! I like the idea of walking uphill to the Lakeridge track running a bit there and walking again back down. I look forward to reading your next installment.
    Sleep well,
    Aunt Laura

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