Monday, June 25, 2012

Confessions of a (new) running addict

I flew to Boston last week to cover a biotech industry convention. I always look forward to the annual gathering -- the only only out-of-town, work-related trek I get to make each year -- but this year I was excited about something more: Running in Boston.

After nearly 47 years, seven knee surgeries and the discovery of a heart murmur, I have become an unlikely running addict.

Mind you, I run like an old man. It takes more than a mile into a run before my knees stop sending nasty messages to my brain. Even then, I must consciously work on relaxing my muscles -- all my muscles -- so my body doesn't go on strike in mid-stride.

I've even hit a couple of At-One-With-The-Universe moments, when my mind sees clear of any obligations and the running is easy. That lasts about a half-mile.

I record my routes on the RunKeeper app. I track all my workouts on, which creates mini-competitions, either with others or with one's self, to spur workouts.

I joined one of Fleetly's challenges -- run 100 miles by the end of the year -- in February. I started on the treadmill, not even hitting a mile. By mid-May, I completed the nearly 7.5-mile Bay to Breakers run in San Francisco.

Now I want to do more … more … more. I made an appointment with my doctor to get her opinion on whether I could/should increase my running, especially considering the heart murmur. She sent me for a stress test. I'm having some blood work done, too. I have no doubt that everything is fine: Just checking.

My goal is to run a half-marathon yet this year.

While waiting for the stress test and lab results, though, I didn't want to miss a step, so I found a couple of routes to run while I was in Boston. I ended up running two of the four full days that I was there for a total of about seven miles, mainly along the Charles River. The total would have been greater except for the 97-degree heat that translated into 70 humid degrees at 5:30 a.m. on two of those days.

I ran on our family vacation earlier this month, taking a short, two-mile jog around the beautiful Oregon Gardens, and a slightly longer route in Cascade Locks, Ore., that took me across the Bridge of the Gods into Washington state. When visiting family next week, I'll run in Wisconsin.

Years ago, I didn't have to train to run 10 kilometers in my native Michigan.

So, that will be Michigan, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, California, Oregon and Washington. Only 44 more states to go.

Yeah, I'm addicted.