Betsy C’s Weblog

Trying to grow as an individual while growing connected.

1/23/09 – hello again! January 23, 2009

Filed under: Team in Training — makingstrides @ 12:00 am
It’s a new year!  And I’m looking forward to 2009.  One of the most exciting things is that next month we begin training for Team in Training.  Last summer I tried to train for a fundraising half marathon, but the knee pain was prohibitive (and completely no fun).  Since then they have incorporated a hike program, and I’m so excited about this.  Hiking is much more my style than running, and not only because of the knee pain.
With all due respect to runners, hiking suits my values much more closely.  First, I’m looking forward to a new kind of physical challenge because I value my personal well-being.  Second, I love activities that are social, and I”m looking forward to getting to know my teammates during training and event hikes.  Third, the environment is very important to me, and hiking will not only help me reconnect to nature but also keep the group focused on conservancy and the human impact on nature.
To me these things are all related – they result from one underlying influence.  My strongest value is a respect for life.  Sounds corny, and I struggle to find a non-corny way to describe it.  For me, this translates into having respect for my physical and emotional state, having respect for other people and building connections and community with others, and having respect even for whole systems of life (ecosystems or the environment). 
Valuing that life force also means that fundraising for good causes to help others is also the right thing to do.  In this case, we are raising money for blood cancer research and support services.
The Team in Training fundraising hike just happens to appeal to all these aspects of that underlying value.  It’s the value that frequently influences my decision-making, and I can’t wait to experience Team in Training with other like-minded people!

Week 3 – Tuesday July 2, 2008


Well, today felt like a setback.  My knees have been stiff since the 5 mile Sunday run/walk.  But they aren’t too sore, just stiff, so I thought I’d be able to do a little running today.  Nope.  I couldn’t run for more than about a minute and a half at a time without feeling like my knees were going to buckle.  I guess I pushed a little too hard on Sunday, but I also think to some extent this is how progress is made.  I’m trying to stay right at the boundary between pushing myself and pushing too hard – trying to find the limit and stay just inside it.

I also find myself getting a little bored of the gym and the treadmill, partially because the place is empty when I’m there.  I’m missing out on the cohort aspect of the training right now, and would like to find others who are training like I am and at my level.  Luckily, I’ve heard through the Team in Training network that there is at least one other person training with a run/walk format right now.  I’m going to see if I can fit into her training for some companionship, and hopefully start to get to know the paths and roads of York!

Between the knee pain and social engagements over the long weekend, I think I’ll just give my knees a couple days of rest.  I did the elliptical for quite a while once I gave up on running, and at least that gave my muscles a nice workout.  Maybe I’ll stick with that for a couple days and have a couple days of just plain rest, then come back to try running again next week.  I think I’ll also talk to some people about no-impact exercises for strengthening the muscles around the knee.  Seems to me when I was young and doing ballet someone recommended some exercises like this.  Potentially helpful.

All around I’m tired and kind of dejected this week, and the knee problems fit in with that.  Oh well, the sun is shining and I’m sure the mood will lift soon.  And ultimately, even though this trip to the gym was disappointing, it still felt good to get some exercise and I’m not sorry I went!  Setbacks are a part of working through a challenge.


Week 3 – Sunday June 30, 2008

Filed under: Team in Training,Training — makingstrides @ 8:49 am
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Today I think I made real progress!  I did about 5 miles (half running, half walking) without too much problem.  There only seems to be soreness in my right knee now, and even that is noticeably less frequent and less painful when I’m running.  I was amazed when I realized there were times that I was zoning out, just running without thinking about it!  Up until now I was completely aware of every step – focusing so hard on each step, on how awkward my whole body felt.  Now it’s starting to feel a little bit natural.

This feeling of progress makes for great positive feedback in the training – I’m inspired to keep trying, keep training, even more than I have been so far.


Week 2 – Thursday

Filed under: Team in Training,Training — makingstrides @ 8:45 am
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Still struggling.  Today I cut out the elliptical work and did only treadmill.  I could only do about 3.5 miles of half running half walking before my knees were sending me signals to stop.  I’m naturally prone to backing away from things that I can’t do well right from the start, but I’m learning to kick that mindset and keep pushing on.  Normally I’m not a big responder to a challenge, but I’m embracing this one!

I guess I’m taking baby steps with my physical progress, and the mental progress is happening simultaneously.  I can’t help thinking this will serve me in the future, dealing with challenges.  Here, I have a choice – I decided to sign up and I could quit if I wanted to with little consequence.  But this seems like such great training to learn how to mentally deal with challenges in the future that I don’t have a choice about. 

Again, I can’t help thinking of how this experience is in some ways similar, on a much smaller, much less crucial scale, to the experience of those we’re fundraising for.  I’m learning to understand, not just getting physically fit.


Week 2 – Tuesday

Filed under: Team in Training,Training — makingstrides @ 8:39 am
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Another promising day at the gym.  The knee pain is still in soreness mode, without any of the severe pain that was making it impossible to run.  I’m not pushing too hard because there is still soreness, but I’m slowly getting my joints accustomed to running.  Again, I did a combination of elliptical (for low impact) and walk/run.

I’m really nervous about being off the schedule and a little behind (that’s the OCD part of me), but also very excited that I’m headway into this process.  I guess starting something new is the hardest part, and it’s not so easy to hit a rhythm with training.  I may be flirting with finding that rhythm – really looking forward to it.  I’m just trying to stay positive and see the small bits of progress rather than focusing on the huge amount of work ahead of me that’s yet to be done.  That feels insurmountable, so I think I have to keep breaking this into tiny tasks.  I seem to be doing this in my mind.  First, the task is “go to the gym”.  The next task is “get through the elliptical warm up”.  Once I’m running the tasks are even smaller – I keep telling myself to do 30 more seconds of running, or to make it from 1.5 to 2.0 miles.  There must be a lot of mental side to running, because this really helps.

BTW, I love icing my knees and ankles!  It feels great.  I love to sit in my living room with ice packs strapped to both knees.  I can’t tell if it’s making a difference in my running ability, but everyone who knows about running seems to swear by it.


Week 2 – Sunday June 23, 2008

Filed under: Team in Training — makingstrides @ 8:30 am
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Yesterday was a great day!  After doing 2 easy workouts Tuesday and Wednesday and 2 non-running but difficult workouts Thursday and Friday, I did no exercise at all on Saturday.  Then Sunday my knees were actually ready for some running again.  I did 2.5 miles on the elliptical for cardio and general strengthening, then another 2.5 miles alternating between running and walking on the treadmill.  My knees were slightly sore, but they showed clear signs of cooperating.  I use the word soreness for kind of a dull, general feeling, as opposed to the sharp pain I was feeling previously.

Our coach suggested icing, so I iced my knees and ankles twice after the workout.  Everyone who runs swears by the icing thing, so we’ll see if that helps. 

I think the best part is that I seem to have gotten over that initial hump.  My body actually loves difficult exercise on a regular basis, but I think I had to adjust to the specific difficulties of running.  That seems to be happening.  Instead of pain, my knees only feel a little sore.  My lungs aren’t going asthmatic on me, at least indoors on the treadmill.  And I felt really great after yesterday’s workout – a little physically tired and happy.

So physically and mentally, I’m getting used to this new thing.  And actually starting to enjoy it!  Now let’s see if I can work my way back onto the TnT mileage schedule in the next few weeks.


Day 5 of training June 19, 2008

Filed under: Team in Training,Training — makingstrides @ 9:00 am
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I’m still struggling with the initial barrier of learning to run (and getting into the right kind of shape for running).  My knees have been hurting pretty badly since the weekend, and it makes running impossible.  Yesterday I did another very brisk walk for a while, but it didn’t feel like hard enough exercise.  While my knees hurt and running is difficult, at least I want to start improving my cardio and pulmonary endurance.

So this morning I used the elliptical machine for the first time.  I didn’t love it – the motion is too small for me.  I’m pretty tall and have long-ish legs, so I would have liked a bigger ellipse.  But at least it got my heartrate up and made me sweat.  I did 2.5 miles worth of ellipses (??) without hurting my knees.  This could be a good Plan B til I’m able to deal with the impact again.

Mentally, I’m still having doubts, but not ready to give up.  I’m worried that my body, particularly my joints, might not be able to take on running at age 35.  To make matters worse, I’m about to send out fundraising letters where I tell everyone I’m running this race.  I guess worst case scenario would be still doing the half marathon, but with significant walking.  But I think I refuse to be deafeated in that way – there must be a way to get myself into running.  I just don’t have any experience with running, so I’m struggling to find the path that gets me there.