Monday, April 8, 2013

Slow Stone Running

Pondering stones & running...

Last week, I stood barefoot on a pair of silver plates and held onto handles like the spaceship steering-mechanism on Galaxy Quest (the Protector).
This machine said I'm carrying 35 pounds I'm not likely to need.

Honestly, I think the machine was fat-phobic. I just might want some of those pounds.
Let's say, 7 of them. That leaves a nice, round 2 stone.

Isn't stone a great word for 14 lbs. of human body weight?
Since we never use the word in the United States, it sounds neutral to me, without all the baggage that words about weight usually carry.

I also like that the plural of stone is...

I picture my 52-year-old skeleton carrying stones,
and the rubber bands holding my bones together straining against stone. And I know––(really know now, since it took 8+ months for my pulled wrist tendons to heal)––that if push comes to shove, stone wins.

So, in the two months since I've started running, I've been going slowly––a 14 minute mile, only a little faster than walking.

(An athletic friend informed me you can't say you "run" unless you're making at least an 8 min/mile.
I say, Way to be pedantic, friend!)

Going slowly is its own challenge.
My first running teacher encouraged me to push myself. The supposed virtue of pushing yourself is an American-held Belief, one as likely (more?) to produce hemorrhoids as heroes.

My second teacher, of a "Learn to Run" class at the Running Rm, suits me so much better.
She took three of us beginners out yesterday morning and told us to SLOW DOWN:
this idea that you should always run as fast as you can for as long as you can is actually counterproductive physically, she said.

Runners who care about this stuff can get all biochemical on you, but I gather you can run right past the spot where you are getting stronger, and right into the area where you are spinning your wheels. Or something like that.

So far (fingers crossed), I have not injured myself, for which I am deeply grateful.

The other day I stopped on the running path to the lake and cried. Just a little.
Because I was having fun, running.


Clair said...

My hat is really off to you, Fresca -- I walked to my tax person yesterday (no car) and for preventive medicine I put a knee brace on my right knee which seems to thoroughly hate walking more than the distance between my studio and the kitchen (about 15 feet!).

I do ride my bicycle in the good weather months, but even that is tough on that @#$@#*& knee.

momo said...

TIL: how much a a stone is.

I doff my hat. The journey through the head is more arduous than the running itself.

Fresca said...

Thanks, Claire!
Yeah... knees are the weak spot.
My knees groaned when I was walking across Spain---it made a huge difference to use 2 walking sticks (hiking poles--made of titanium, so super lightweight), and I've used them sometimes here too: takes some pressure off the old joints! I recommend them!

MOMO: TIL: that "TIL" means "thing I learned": I had to look it up!
it's the head even more than the knees that slows me down. And all the junk I store in there from OTHER people.
Time to clear the clutter: get out the vinegar! :)

momo said...

See, now, I thought TIL meant "today I learned" but "thing I learned" works just the same :)

when I read your post, I relived my journey through taking dance classes, and how many YEARS of persistance it took to finally get to a place of dancing without shame. YEARS. I'm glad I stuck it out, but it was hard, hard, hard.

Emma J said...

"Going slowly is its own challenge" strikes me as a piece of ponderable wisdom.

poodletail said...

How about applying your model of "sustainable kindness" to running: "sustainable pace"?

I say P.U. to your athletic friend. Who cares? If one is a competitive person one had better not take up running unless one can be the winner. Otherwise you're the loser.

It's really OK to run (slowly!) for the euphoria of those endorphins.

poodletail said...

P.S. Those endorphins sometimes make me cry, too. In a good way.

Fresca said...

"Sustainable kindness"! Thanks for reminding me of that, Poodle.
I don't even know if I was running fast or long enough for endorphins to kick in... I must look that up.
But whether it was endorphins or just free-floating emotion, it was indeed crying in the good way.

Fresca said...

MOMO: P.S. Yes, you're right,
TIL = "Today" I Learned, not "Things"--between looking it up and writing it down, I scrambled it!