A few minutes ago I went out the front door to take Margie to do her thing and got stung by some kind of bee. My calf is swelling now, and throbbing with pain. This is a perfect reflection of the way my heart feels about saying good-bye to July and hello to August. It’s painful; it stings, and I didn’t really see it coming. Oh well, I’ll put my calf on ice and write about July. It was wonderful and deserves a proper eulogy.
I began the month by driving to Atlanta to spend some time with my folks and help with my niece’s bridal shower. I had a good time running errands with my parents for the shower and sitting on their lovely back patio. I also enjoyed walking and running their neighborhood. It’s flatter than mine and I was able to get in some pretty good mileage. Several mornings my mom walked the first two miles with me. She’s amazing.
When I got home I continued to work on running further, longer, and faster. I added intervals to my routine on the treadmill and I was finally able to run my entire neighborhood (just over three miles and lots of hills) without stopping and in 32 minutes. I was happy with that. I think I did too much too fast, though, because on the 17th, while doing intervals, I got an intense pain in my side. It hurt only when I ran at a medium pace. It did not hurt when I sprinted or when I walked. I thought it was a “stitch” like I used to get when I tried to run all the way home from school in elementary school. It got worse as the day went on, however, and after doing some research I diagnosed myself with a pulled oblique muscle. I rested it the next day, just doing some easy walking. The day after that it seemed better and I went hiking with my daughter and her kids. We climbed Hanging Rock.
I haven’t done anything like that in years. I had a blast and was very encouraged about how easy it was for me to do. I really am in better shape. By the next Monday I felt ready to run again, so I decided to try my “walk the main road/run the side streets” workout. It was drizzling as I ran that morning and it felt incredibly refreshing. I was fine until about a mile in. I was running downhill and around a big SUV, when I almost ran into a walker coming in the opposite direction. As I sidestepped to avoid hitting her, I felt the muscle pull. Like an idiot, I kept going, finishing the three miles and thinking I was okay. I was not.
Since then I’ve been careful. I have been doing a lot of walking, upping my overall mileage, but not running for a week. I used ice and ibuprofen liberally and got used to being surrounded by the scent of BenGay. I also spent some time in the pool. I went back to running this Monday, but only on the flat or uphill. I try to walk at least a mile before I run to make sure the muscles are warm. I’ve also added stretches and strengthening exercises. This morning I ran about a mile and a half. It felt good. I could have gone further, but I didn’t. I’m learning.
The weather has been cool and amazing, almost miraculous for July in North Carolina. I’ve done almost all of my walking and running outside for the last few weeks. I think it makes me stronger. While I was walking only I worked on form. I thought about my muscles and what they’re doing as I walked uphill and down. I’m working on keeping my vision focused out instead of down. I still find my eyes drawn to my feet as if they were magnetic, but I catch myself and look back up.
I don’t know if I will be able to run as far as I had hoped in Florence, but I’ve decided that’s okay. The important thing is being in shape to walk all day. We’ll see. I’ve got a new plan and I’m taking it slow and trying to be patient. I learned another valuable lesson: more is not necessarily better.
On the food/weight front, it’s been a great month. I’m going to miss summer and all of its fresh veggies and fruit. I bet I’ve almost singlehandedly eaten four or five watermelons. I am switching us over to coconut oil and I’ve been baking fresh-ground whole wheat bread again. I’ve lost a total of 46 pounds now and I bought some clothes in sizes I haven’t been able to wear in fifteen years. Strangely, I weigh more than I did last time I wore those sizes. I guess it must be the muscle. On the downside, I went through my closet last week and my entire professional wardrobe is toast.
Since I still have 29 pounds to go to my goal, I don’t want to spend money on a whole intermediate wardrobe, so I’m taking advantage of end of season sales and trying to buy strategically. I’m not complaining, but it is something else to plan and think about.
I love these Brooks shoes I bought at the end of last month. I can tell that my foot is much more stable as it hits the pavement. I’m a fan. I also got some socks with a bit more cushion. My feet are happy feet.
August means readjusting to a work day schedule. I’ve been thinking about what that means for my running. July has allowed me to concentrate on exercise; but August will dare me to fit it in. It’s going to have to be in the morning, so I’m trying to figure out what that looks like. I went out at 6:00 this morning and it was lovely. I enjoy greeting the sun. My Fitbit and I will celebrate a year together on the 22nd. I hope to have lost four more pounds by then. Since my birthday is in August, I’m asking for a GPS running watch. I’ll still wear the Fitbit, but I’d like to learn a bit more about pacing and find out more exact information about distance. My next update will come just days before Italy. Wow! I’ve got stuff to do! My bee sting is properly iced and getting things down in writing always helps me deal. Let’s go.