One of my goals has been to blog every day, sort of indefinitely until I get sick of it or just forget. I’m doing pretty well, I think — 43 days in a row and counting! The interesting thing for me is that I am enjoying it so much that I really look forward to it — it’s not a “chore”, at least not at this point.
A similar feeling has happened with my running, to some extent — I have run at least one mile for at least 18 days in a row. My goal is to run every day in January (but probably not in February; I’ll see). I had not done much running over the course of many years, but I resumed in December around the same time I accelerated my blogging. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well my body has taken to the running; I feel a bit sheepish about it, because for a long time I was telling people running caused too much pain — in my knees, calves, feet, or wherever — whereas cycling was much more to my liking, as it doesn’t cause me pain.
First of all, that last part is a lie. Cycling does cause me pain at times, especially in that it seems to put pressure on certain nerves that in turn create havoc in my shoulders, neck, back and arms. Such problems are very inconsistent and mysterious. The aches and pains come and go, vary in intensity, and move around my body. The only real correlation I can draw is that I can often expect to have nerve problems in my arms and shoulders within a few days after a really long or strenuous bike ride.
Second, the running I have done since December has led to a surprisingly small amount of discomfort in my legs and no real injuries that I can determine. In fact, it seems to be doing what I intended — strengthening my legs. Tendonitis that I used to suffer on the side of my right knee (concurrent with the ramping up of my cycling a few years ago) has been non-existent. I certainly have some “conditioning pain”, as I call it, which I define as a reasonable amount of pain in specific muscle groups — pain that is (for me) to be expected with increasingly heavy workouts of a type I had not recently been doing. Cycling and running obviously both focus on the legs, but it’s worth pointing out that the muscle groups used by each activity are dramatically different in a way one might not expect unless you do a lot of each. My legs have been in good cycling shape, but the running is really rounding out my overall lower body strength. The only complaint I have is that I may have some degree of plantar fasciitis developing, because I suffer from occasional pain in my right heel since I resumed running. The weird thing is that the heel pain does NOT occur while running — that is, strictly upon impact; I experience it usually while at rest and when I first get up in the morning. At any rate, I’m not concerned about it, because the pain has lessened and become manageable as I have been using a little pink rubber ball to roll around under my feet.
Third, there are definite signs that the running is having a “cross-training” benefit for my cycling. Last week, my legs were feeling pretty tired each day, yet I forced myself to continue my workouts. On Saturday, I felt good enough to attempt riding on Mt. Diablo, despite not feeling very energetic before the ride. Even though my goal was to go to the junction, not the summit, my legs felt strong, and I made it to the junction only about a half a minute behind my unofficial record time. (I say unofficial because I simply do not time most of my rides; however, I did keep track of my time on one ride to the summit a few months ago and accomplished what I consider my fastest time ever.) That was very encouraging.
In short, while cycling remains my favorite exercise, I am enjoying running again! Which is good, because I will be doing a lot of it, at least until I get through the GoRuck Challenge in June.