The Dead End of 7km

Hey! Back in July, I wrote a blog post all about my mission to learn to run 7km to compete in a group run at the Remutaka Rail Trail. If you haven't read that post yet, I would suggest you bounce across to have a quick read of that, and then come back to read this update.

Soo, after a few weeks of training, of running at least three to four times a week, I had to give in. I was starting to kind of enjoy the feeling of not being able to breathe, and slowly not feeling like I wanted to vomit after every run. I was getting better and better, and able to run further distances for longer periods of time. Diego was enjoying this new form of exercise, although was confused when we ran around the park with him still on a lead.

The reason I had to stop, was due to the beginning of shin splints. If you haven't heard of shin splints, here is a great definition from Google:

"Shin splints result when muscles, tendons and bone tissue become overworked. Shin splints often occur in athletes who've recently intensified or changed their training routines. The main symptom is pain in the leg."
There is more information online, but that definition came up first and it made me laugh due to how basic it was. In other words, shin splits hurt like heck down the front of your shins. It's a weird feeling because you can't really massage it out the same way you could with a pulled or tight muscle. I started to develop these while running, and to be honest they never got to full shin splint pain because I stopped before that was allowed.

I pushed through while my shins were hurting during runs for a few runs, I just accepted this as a new pain that happens when you are running. However, I was power walking to work and started to feel the pain while just walking along Wellington streets. That is when I doubted my running because I don't mind my legs hurting while I run, but I didn't want it to effect my everyday life. I also went on an uphill hike with Diego, and my shins burned! That was when I decided it was not worth it.

I definitely could have looked into purchasing better shoes, I was running in Nike, which we know are more style than they are comfort. This would have improved the likelihood of my shin splints improving. This would have been an expense that would have totalled a few hundred dollars. I don't mind that, but I also knew my running technique was off, and really, I wasn't as passionate about being a runner as I hoped to become. I prefer my ability to walk and hike long distances, than run short distances.

I loved the idea of pushing myself to learn something new, to say I had taught myself how to run and successfully competed in a running 'race'. I think striving for a goal is an important part of life, and something we stop doing as adults. Striving to push myself out of my comfort zone is something I think about a lot. I am a creature of habit and so easily can just cruise by life without doing anything new, fun or exciting. I am forever creating new goals, and trying to accept things I want to say no to because otherwise I will never do them. This is what allowed me to start the blog in the first place, to go to Christchurch for the Pet Expo, to really put myself out there as a weird dog person. But, I didn't want this running goal to ruin my legs and body.

I was talking to my brother about it, who is very active and lives his life rock climbing, snow boarding and travelling with no real home base. He said how much he hates running, how it isn't natural and how he sees so many people with injuries from years of running. He said he much prefers swimming, that it doesn't hurt you as much and is still a cool skill to have. He doesn't get to go swimming much due to the nature of his life, but when he does, he really enjoys it. My dad also said that he helped his asthma by learning to swim better. Before his asthma would flare up all the time, but due to learning how to breathe for swimming and increasing his lung capacity, he said it doesn't effect him as much now. That might be a placebo, but I love placebos.

That has now changed my mind, and I think maybe my new goal will be to compete in an ocean swim in Wellington. Our pool here in Upper Hutt is still closed for Winter cleaning, so I haven't exactly started this goal, but thought if I put pen to paper, it might convince me to start as soon as the pool is open again. I enjoyed swimming when I was younger, I wasn't necessarily quick or good but it was something that brought me happiness. I will still have to go out and purchase a proper swimsuit as well as goggles, so the expense of shoes still comes up with swimming. I like this idea, it is sad it isn't something I can do with Diego, but I like the idea of being underwater with my own thoughts and no outside distractions a couple of times a week.

Does anyone have any tips for me? Anyone else competed in any sort of swimming event? Or even, what is your goal to push yourself outside of you comfort zone?


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