It’s a toss-up which I love more now: running in the morning to work out some pre-event jitters, or listening to this playlist I created specifically for running and riding uphills, while also working out the pre-event jitters.
I started running last December. Actually, I started running last fall and felt so excited about my initial progress (“Did you see how I just ran for and caught the bus right there?! BOOM! I shall take my superhero cape in cerulean, please.”) that I signed up for a half marathon run in December. By a month into my first attempt at running, however, I had developed so much pain in my hips that friends would ask me what was wrong with me as I shuffled up to meet them in the street. “This is the gait of someone trying to get healthy,” I would say. The irony of the statement finally seeped in, and I stopped my ritual joint-hammering.
December rolled around and lo, I was still signed up for this half marathon. That was obviously not going to happen, but how hard could a 5k be for someone who has run not at all in a few months? Surely this was a great idea! I had run for and caught the bus at least twice the previous week (it’s possible the bus driver waited for me), so I called that enough training to qualify as legit. Friends Brad and Kim—whom you met in a previous episode of this blog—were signed up for the half marathon, so I knew at least a few folks on the course.
I’m not saying one shouldn’t train for a 5k before actually running it, but everything turned out fine. I couldn’t stop smiling on the course. Group runs are hilarious, and the volunteers were quite high-fiveable. I wanted to keep running, but I was concerned about staying motivated, and also joint health. Enter playlists and research.
Playlists and Stretching
First issue was preventing hip pain. In asking running friends and, you know, the internet, I learned that the thing that was getting me down was likely my treatment of my IT band. Well, that seemed a solvable problem. I tried out these post-run exercises that the NHS suggested, and two of them stretched the exact areas of my body that I remembered hurting. I timed how long doing these all these stretches took to complete and added that to the time I protected for my morning run.
I thought about how I wanted to feel during my run and also in my life. I want to feel confident, happy, able to kick challenges’ asses and have fun doing it. And so I went on a treasure hunt for songs that had tempos that a) wouldn’t kill my legs and b) had lyrics that reflected how I wanted to feel. Friends shared their favorites, too. I loved the playlist so much that I wanted to listen to it all the time, but I decided that I could only unlock it during runs and uphill rides. It’s worked so far!
What I learned at life today: If at first you don’t succeed, make a playlist you love and try again.