I’m sitting on the couch, shirt soaked in sweat, and burning up in a house that’s only 70 degrees. That’s because I just broke the 100 mile mark. But this story starts back in January.
I’ve been battling neck pain for over a year and a half. I blame a chiropractor, but I’ve been over that. I tried traditional physical therapy for a couple months, and that seemed to be working, but then it wasn’t. Back in January I decided to visit a different chiropractor, one that was suggested by my physical therapist. I went to him in January of this year, and one of the first things he said to me was how important exercise was. At that point, I was willing to try anything, so I took up running. (11 or so months removed from that first visit, my neck isn’t perfect, but it is remarkably better than it was this time last year.)
On February 2nd, I went for my first run. I had no idea what I was doing, and I went into it knowing I’ve hated running in the past, but if the chiro thought exercise would help, I was willing to try it. Those first couple weeks were pretty bad. I would feel winded after a quarter mile! Trying to run one whole mile without stopping was out of the question…but I pressed on.
There was a hump to get over, and once I did, running started to be fun. At first it was one mile without stopping…then two….and three…(and one time four!) There were times where I could run non-stop for a half an hour! What a far cry from having to stop and walk after just a few minutes.
My running saga hasn’t been without setbacks. My first was knee and hip pain, and for that I blame big bulky running shoes. I switched to Vibrams, and it was night and day. Unfortunately I also switched to a pure forefoot strike (basically landing on my toes), and that led to some foot problems. In the middle of those foot problems though I developed a much more natural midfoot strike, but not knowing why my foot hurt, I went to my podiatrist.
He wasn’t a fan of barefoot style running, so he convinced me to buy a new pair of shoes. After a full month off, I started running in those…and I just couldn’t enjoy it. I did a few weeks in shoes, and then went back to my Vibrams, haha. I’ve done 15 miles since, and I’m feeling good.
So it took me 10.5 months (316 days) to rack up 100 miles. I had a couple months off where I didn’t really run at all while I healed up, but I’m excited I did my first 100 in less than a year. Sometimes I wonder if my body is cut out for running, but I’ve got this urge to keep pushing myself. If I can do 100 miles in 10 months, can I do the next 100 in 6 months? That’s like 1 mile every other day. Seems doable!
As much as I wish I’d never hurt my neck, sometimes I think it will be for the better. If I hadn’t, I might never have been scared enough to take control and get fit. I don’t want to wait until I’m 50 to realize I’m out of shape and can’t do anything about it. I want to stick around for my family as long as possible, and I think that starts now.