Let me start by saying Mono sucks! But, I’ve got some other things to talk about before getting into that.
I got new shoes! And its a departure from my normal Sauconys. Enda Itens. Enda Sports is a company from Kenya. They got their start from a Kick-starter campaign and have been producing shoes for about 2 years. They build shoes with the philosophy that the big corporations have sold us on over complicated and over engineered running shoes. Basically, I like the philosophy of “Keep it Simple”.
I’ve now done numerous training runs and several races with them and I love them more every time I wear them. Generally, I forget that I’m wearing them, which is a very good thing. It means that they aren’t bothering me or causing any issues for me to become conscious of and I can focus on the other aspects of running. The other great thing about them is that, relatively speaking, they are cheap, about $100. Honestly, I can’t say enough about these shoes.
OK, enough gushing about shoes. The back half of the year was a rough one for me from a health and running perspective. I got a membership at Kilo Barbell Club and began lifting 3 days a week. I’m not a weight lifter and generally have no idea what I’m doing. Jet and Keven are very patient with teaching me how to lift properly and getting me to rest between sets. I had no idea that the rest between sets was so important.
Just as I was getting into the swing of lifting, I went to the doctor after having a sore throat for a week that I couldn’t shake and feeling exhausted to the point of not being able to get through my work day without taking a nap. Turns out, I somehow contracted the Epstein-Barr Virus better known as Mono. This was the beginning of October.
As I stated above, Mono sucks. I was exhausted all the time no matter how much I slept. My whole body was achy, I wasn’t allowed to do any exercise. No running, no biking, no lifting, nothing! It was brutal. To add some extra stress, I got a new manager on the first day I had to be out from this.
Luckily, I have a somewhat flexible job and was able to work from home as I was able most days and go into the office just a couple of times a week. Not ideal, but it was better than being out completely. Unfortunately, this came right as we where preparing to move across town and my daughter from Indiana was here for 3 weeks. Needless to say I was little to no help packing and Coach V should be nominated for sainthood.
Finally on Nov 13, 1 month, 2 weeks, and 1 day after my last run I tentatively went out for a short run. A slow 2 mile effort around my new neighborhood at a 10:37 average pace. It felt AMAZING!
Still feeling a little hesitant to get back at it too fast, I started working full days at the office again and Thursday I joined the group for the Arrowhead loop run. The more I did the better I started feeling. This is when Coach V put forth the theory that I was no longer fighting mono but depression. Coincidentally, I was listening to an audiobook titled Running is my Therapy by Scott Douglas. And as I thought about it, I think she was right. I use running to help keep my mood level and the ADHD in check. It clears my head and helps me to stay focused throughout the day. In the book Mr. Douglas discusses studies that show the effects of running (aerobic activity) to be very similar to antidepressants. That is all well and good, but can be taken too far. I had become so dependent on running that when it was taken away I began to struggle.
In my profession we call this a single point failure. That means the entire operation can grind to a halt if one piece is removed. It is something to be avoided. When we find those we work to find ways around them as contingency plans. I have no contingency plan for running.
He also talked about a therapist in California that does something that they call running therapy. After a search in the Phoenix area I found a counselor, Yvonne Lewis from Creative Quiescence, that does running therapy.
The premise is to have a talk therapy session while on a light run. The thought is that it can be a little less intimidating to talk to someone when you are side by side and doing some other physical activity. If you go on group runs or have a training partner you probably talk about everything under the sun. Including some things that are very personal and you probably wouldn’t talk about if you were to just sit down with someone over coffee. This approach appealed to me since I get very uncomfortable talking about my feeling and emotions. As you have probably noticed I don’t mind telling stories.
I’ve been to 3 sessions with Yvonne and I feel like I’m getting a lot out of them. Generally the session starts in her studio with some talking about how things have been since the last session and how I’m feeling in general. Then we go outside and run or walk at a conversational pace. She has me focus on mindful running and listening to what my body is telling me. This is a small departure from me telling my body to be quiet and get moving. Although it turns out I was already practicing some mindful running without knowing it.
We talk about running and how I run or react to situations running or reffing and how that might be translating to other areas of life. She is very good at guiding my thoughts to come to realizations and insights. All in all, I like it and feel like this is helping my running and other areas of life. I know that therapy can be intimidating and mental health has become a hot topic, but it is important and getting help if you are struggling there is just as important as going to PT for a calf injury.
2019 is over and my goal accomplishment rate was 50%. In a previous post I talked about my goals and having high goals and low goals. I had 2 high goals for 2019.
- Pay off my consumer debt, credit cards, car loans, etc. and 25% of my student loan.
- Get my 5K time to sub 18.
And the Low goals of:
- Pay off the consumer debt
- 5K under 20 minutes.
I’m happy to report that I knocked #1 out of the park. I have cleared the debt completely with the exception of my mortgage. So, put a big fat check on that one.
The fitness goal didn’t go so well. Not to make excuses but the baby coming in April, 2 injuries in May and June then Mono in October, these goals just were not in the cards for this year. And I’m OK with it. Basically, I’m just pushing the 5K goals out a year. That leads to the announcement of:
2020: The Year of the 5K!
There are a couple of steps that I have already started toward that end but I’ll go into more detail on those next time. Until then…C-YA!