Monday, March 30, 2009

Feeling the Burn

After running 8.5 miles today and then getting on the arc trainer for half and hour and then lifting weights, I am officially exhausted. My legs are especially tired...and I think it might be hard to get out of bed tomorrow morning. This is not a ton of exercise, but it has taken its tole on my body today, probably because I do not stretch.

That is correct: I rarely, if ever, stretch. If I do, it is for about 3 minutes. I have never been into stretching, and can even remember thinking it was mindless back when I ran cross country, track, and played basketball in high school. Maybe this is because I have never had a really, really serious injury before. Granted, one time in high school I got hurt playing basketball and was on crutches for 3 weeks in the middle of winter and over Christmas (not fun in the Iowa snow and ice!), but seeing a specialty foot doctor solved my problem. He told me that I have two bones connected in my left foot that shouldn't be, and fitted me for custom shoe inserts. Those solved my problem, and then I got tired of wearing them and have not since. And, I have never had a problem.

I have had some minor injuries that have required taking ice baths (jr. year of xc), calf issue (track jr. year), and some foot problem when I was in college but solved myself (self-diagnosis: running 10 miles everyday for many days in a row is not good on the body = take a day off). Still, even after all of that, I have not stretched.

My brother who is a runner and I signed up for the Madison half marathon a few years ago. We did the race two consecutive years together, with him always in the top 5 or 10, and me much farther behind. My mom accompanied us both years so she could hold all of my stuff while I ran, which made it a lot easier on me. Before the race, my brother went to do a warm up run and then stretched. I went to the bathroom, walked around to get out my nervous energy, and stretched for 3 minutes, declaring I was ready to go when I saw him again. He said to me, "Did you even stretch?" I replied by saying yes, for a couple minutes. He did a good job of masking his disbelief at my lack of stretching.

After finishing the half marathon, he went for a cool down run while I decided why bother with that? We were together and he was stretching, me chewing on gum and excited to have a new PR. Once again, "are you going to stretch?" Me: "nope." Another face of disbelief followed.

I think right now that I will probably only consider stretching if I have to in order to run. Right now, I'll just hope my legs work themselves out over the course of the night in order for another good run tomorrow.


  1. As you get older, you'll have to stretch atleast some. From what I've gathered, most people don't, until they have an injury.

    Are you running the Flying Pig? I get to see Doc Parilo on Thursday, Can't Wait!

    How are the Tough Strips working for you?


  2. I am also a non-stretching runner, but I don't have any illusions that I'm smart about it.
    I've had frozen shoulder in both shoulders. Regular stretching probably would have prevented this.
    As diabetics, we're more prone to problems like this because our cartilage gets glycosilated, that is, glucose bonds to it. It's the same thing an A1C test measures in your blood cells.
    I'm also sure that my running would benefit from a greater, smoother range of motion. I'm trying to do more stretching, but it hasn't become a habit for me yet.

  3. Ryan - The waterproof Tough Strips are amazing - no problems with them, even after 5-6 days.

    If you talk to Dr. Parilo about the running speaker, let me know the date or if you know who it will be. I think it would be very benefitical.

    I'm not sure about the Flying Pig yet. If anything, I'll do the half. I am graduating with my master's that weekend and some of my family will be here. I want to run it, though...I need to talk with them. I was on the website yesterday...6:30 am start. I am not a morning person!

    Hope your doctor's visit goes well. I'm going back in a little over a month. :)

  4. jpnairn - I never knew that about our cartiledge. Thanks for the info.