A forced break closing in on a milestone

One down, one to go.

The 10 year anniversary of the day I became a runner is a month away, and I haven’t run for 11 days. There are a handful of reasons I haven’t run, and I’m not worried about falling out of the habit, I just wish that when I celebrated 10 years, I would be in a better spot. 

My running break started last Wednesday when I tweaked my left calf during a speed session. My left Achilles/ankle has bothered me off and on for months, and Wednesday that pain grabbed my calf and forced me to stop running. Unfortunately, I was 2.5 miles from home. It was a long walk because every step hurt. 

My calf feels better now and I am scheduled to get some professional help with the issue soon. But other issues cropped up to keep my from running. Specifically, I have a painful infection on the back of my leg and I am experiencing side effects from my first COVID-19 vaccination dose. The past week has been kind of a shit show. Sitting hurts, my whole body is been sore, and I’ve had a fever the last few days. 

I want to run. I feel miserable being stuck in the house, physically and mentally unable to get out the door to even jog a few miles. As I wrote in the last blog, I was just starting to ramp things up and feel better about myself after struggling with motivation and other health-related issues during the pandemic. That desire to run is why I am not worried about falling out of the running habit. I’ve stuck with this for 10 years, I’m confident a little bit of forced down time isn’t going to derail my running habit. 

The whole thing is just super frustrating, but I have to pause and remember to be grateful. I’m grateful I’ve been able to do this for almost 10 years and accomplish things I never even considered before I started running. I’m grateful I have the means to take care of these things that are keeping me from running. I’m grateful that I’m having a few side effects from a vaccine for COVID-19 rather than dealing with the disease itself.

At some point before I celebrate my 10 year anniversary of that first run I’m sure I will log some miles. I won’t run much and I’m sure it will be super slow, but I’ll be sure to enjoy every step. I look forward to the day when I can actually train, when life returns to whatever normal is post-pandemic, when I have goals to chase and I’m able to get myself out the door to chase them. 

Until then, I’ll do what I have to do to clear up this infection, wait for these vaccine side effects to subside, get my calf taken care, and be grateful for all running has given me. And I’ll look forward to the day when I’m back on the roads, reaping running’s benefits. 

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A workout to get back in the swing

I left the apartment Wednesday morning hoping I could convince myself to do some kind of hard effort. I started my warmup in the direction of Prospect Street, knowing that if I ended up on either side of it – Deering Ave. or Stevens Ave. – I had a good spot to do some hill repeats. I ended up my warmup on the Stevens Ave. end of Prospect and took a few minutes to do some dynamic warmup exercises and to talk myself into doing a little bit of work.

I had skipped doing any type of workout for most of the month of March. I threw in a couple of progress runs, but mostly I just tried to build my mileage a bit and not hate running.

But you know what? That is freaking boring. Don’t get my wrong, I’m happy to be logging some mileage, especially while we are still in a pandemic, I am still a few weeks away from being eligible to be vaccinated, and I’m trying to stay home as much as possible to keep from getting sick and getting other people sick. I don’t leave the house unless I have to. Those 35-50 minutes I get out of the house to run, even if I’m just going for a jog, has helped me hang on to the edge of sanity.

Still, I feel better as a runner and in general when I am pushing myself, even just a little bit. So Wednesday morning I did indeed talk myself into running some hills. The first rep, I wasn’t so sure how it was going to feel, so I did a hard 30 seconds. My breathing was a little labored, but I felt OK, so after a minute and half of recovery, I did 40 seconds on the next rep. I took a little effort to get my legs turning over, but again, it felt OK, so after another 1:30 recovery, I tried 45 seconds. Phew, this was getting hard, but I told myself to keep going. I did another 45 seconds rep, then another, then another.

I lost track of how many reps I had done, so I did one more 45 seconds rep, thinking it was eight total and decided to call it a win. Turns out I only did seven reps, but so what. I was happy to have done a workout. My legs were a little sore, especially my left calf/Achilles, but I was still in one piece. My breathing was OK, my asthma felt like it was under control. I was encouraged.

I threw in another workout on Saturday, doing 8×1 minute hard-ish (probably 5K effort) and, again, I ended it mostly in once piece. I ran in my neighborhood, on the severely cambered roads, which disagreed with my Achilles, and my hamstrings were a little tight, but I was able to run 6 miles the next day and, after a rest day on Monday, 5 more miles on Tuesday.

It feels good to be back on the horse a little bit. I have to be careful that those little barks in my Achilles and hamstring don’t flare up into something worse, but I really have enjoyed doing some harder efforts, getting my legs moving and getting a little uncomfortable. I have a long way to go to feel as good as I did back in 2019 when I had maybe my best year of running ever. I followed that up with probably my worst year of running, so this year I’ll be happy with mediocre.

It’s not much, but it is a start. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.

A goal far off in the distance

In search of these kind of vibes

The final 10K of the 2019 Chicago Marathon was a painful experience. My right knee was creaky and hurt with every step and my left hamstring ached constantly. I finished the race with a new PR, a huge sense of accomplishment and thinking that my days of training for and running marathons might be over. 

I fell short of my goal (3:47) in that race, but I was still thrilled with how the race went. I ran a great 20 miles or so, finished faster than I ever have (by 11 seconds) and, despite the pain, enjoyed the experience. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t get what I wanted out of the marathon, I just wondered if all that pain was really worth it. I limped around the rest of the day, re-living the race and talking about how I didn’t think I ever needed to do that again. 

In the year and a half since crossing the finish line at Chicago, running has been a challenge. I worked hard to get over those knee and hamstring issues, built my mileage back up and started doing workouts again. Then the pandemic hit and eventually my motivation to do anything other than jog 3 or 4 miles went to shit. I’ve struggled with asthma and allergies, my body has been a little dinged up, and I just haven’t felt like putting in the effort. 

Training for and running a marathon hasn’t even been a thought because there are no marathons to train for, I haven’t run more than 9 miles since Chicago and in the last three months I’ve struggled to run more than 20 miles a week. Not exactly a recipe for marathoning success.

Yet, while jogging a slow, sluggish 3 miles Friday morning, with snow falling around me, a surgical mask covering my face making breathing even more difficult than my asthma, I started thinking about the marathon. I started thinking about the training I did in 2019, training that was harder than anything I had done before and went better than any marathon training cycle I’d ever put myself through. 

And I went back to my goal for Chicago, which has been my marathon goal since Oct. 2013, when I ran my first marathon in 4 hours, 47 minutes. During that slow-ass 3 miler Friday morning, I asked myself if I was ready to give up on my goal of running a marathon an hour faster than my debut. I fell two minutes shy at Chicago, and in the aftermath of the race, I decide I was OK with that.

I am OK with that, however, I still think about that goal. It is still written on the chalk board that hangs in my bedroom/office/gym. If I never ran another marathon, and 3:49:45 is my marathon PR for the rest of my life, that’s cool. There are other distances I probably enjoy more, plenty of other goals to shoot for.

A part of me wants to take another shot at it.

Not because I’m unsatisfied with my PR. I don’t stew over those two minutes at Chicago the way I did when I finished nine minutes shy of that goal at Chicago in 2014 or three minutes shy at the Maine Marathon in 2016. 

I think I want to give it another shot because 2019 was the most fun I’ve had running since 2013, when I was doing track workouts weekly and running 5Ks almost every Saturday. Both of those years I was training with purpose, pushing my body to new and different places, and doing it with rad people. 

During that run Friday, thinking about the marathon while struggling to make it through 3 miles, I gave myself a goal: Run that 3:47 marathon in October 2023, exactly 10 years after that 4:47. 

Why so far away? For a few reasons: 

  1. Two and a half years gives me plenty of time to get in shape. I’m overweight and undertrained right now, rushing into a marathon training plan is a sure fire way to get hurt and hate myself. 
  2. I don’t really love running right now and I want my focus to be on enjoying the miles I am able to run. When running feels better and is something I look forward to (I know it will be some day), I can start training harder. 
  3. Who knows when there are going to be marathons again. We are still in the neck deep in the pandemic and life won’t be anywhere close to normal for a long time. Virtual races are fine, but I have no interest in running a virtual 26.2 miles by myself, thanks.

Two and a half years is a long time. Maybe I’ll change my mind (I’ve already convinced myself this is a dumb idea two or three times). Maybe I will say to hell with running and find another way to work on my fitness (I’m almost 10 years into this running habit, I think/hope it is a part of my life for good). Maybe I decide that the 5K is my race of choice and focus on beating that PR that is about to turn five years old. 

This is where my head is at right now, though. I want to get back to that place I was in 2019, when the thought of running a 90-minute steady state run on a Wednesday is intimidating but also exciting. I miss the way I felt while training for the marathon that summer. I miss running the miles, I miss the camaraderie of training with friends, I miss being fit and feeling good about myself. 

It’s a lot of work, work I haven’t been willing to do lately, but hopefully it is work I eventually look forward to. For now, I’m going to go jog a few miles, during which I’ll probably talk myself into and out of this goal four or five times. 

A battle to hit my stride again

In Feb. 2019, I was starting to hit my stride. The first week of February was the last week of a 2 1/2 month training session for the Mid Winter Classic. I didn’t have a great race, but those two months were the first two months of decent training I had done since runner’s knee put me on the shelf late in 2017. I spent 2018 building my mileage back up and working to just feeling comfortable running again. In January 2019, I started doing the work and had one of my best years as a runner. I missed my 5K PR by 11 seconds, did the best workouts I have ever done, dropped a 7:22 mile at the end of a half marathon and PR’d in the marathon. 

I hoped in Feb. 2021 I would be in a similar situation. My knee shit the bed while I was running that marathon PR, so the plan was to get healthy and re-establish my running routines in 2020. Then, in 2021 I would pick a race and bust my ass getting ready. 

That is not exactly what happened. 

I was actually ahead of schedule, getting back into some harder training in March of 2020, when the pandemic shut everything down and canceled almost every in-person race. I was motivated to work hard for a while, but if you have been around this blog at all, you know it didn’t last. I slacked off, I didn’t run a ton of mileage, did even less maintenance on my broken down old body and running started to really suck. 

So now, in Feb. 2021, instead of hitting my stride, I’m trying to get back into a groove. Instead of preparing to do some really hard work to chase one PR or another, I’m struggling to run more than 3 miles. I’m hoping, when I layer up in running clothes and lace up my shoes for some mileage, that my recently sore ankle and my always sore knees won’t give me too many problems. 

It has been a struggle. Again, if you have been around this blog for any time at all, that is nothing you haven’t heard before. It’s a broken record that I keep on spinning. 

I have no idea when the world will get back to normal, when we will be able to put races on our calendar, and when I will feel comfortable going to the gym again (trying to do PT and strength work in an apartment I share with two other people and two cats who really run the show is a challenge, one I haven’t overcome). Until then, I have to find a way to make the best of it, to do what I need to do to stay motivated and to make running feel a little less shitty. Some days I am more successful at that than others. For now, that simply means running just enough so I don’t hate it. Some days that is 3 miles, some days it includes walk breaks. Whatever I can do to walk back into my apartment not hating life, is what I try to do.

Right now, I’m on speaking terms with running. I have a lot of work to do to, like I did in 2019, fall madly in love with it.

Back at it and trying not to hate it

If you follow along at all, you now I haven’t exactly been crushing it as a runner for a while. 2019 ended with a knee injury and 2020 … well, you know.

I’m not here to bitch about how shitty running has been for me. I won’t bore you with another bitch-fest.

No, that’s not the point of today’s post. The last time I sat down and wrote for this blog (about a month ago, whoops), I said I wanted to have fun running. That post didn’t change anything and running was a struggle for the rest of 2020. It was such a struggle that I allowed myself to take an entire week off . Seven days, zero miles.

When I finally suited up for some mileage again on Jan. 1, I cut myself a ton of slack. I walked as much as a ran, and I just tried to enjoy 35 minutes outside. And I have continued that trend for the first two weeks of the year.

I’m basically starting over. Well, not quite starting over (when I started running I had a hard time running for a minute at a time). What I am doing is starting super slow. That first run, I did 3 minutes of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking. I bumped 3 minutes to 5 minutes the following week, and the last two days those 5 minutes have turned into a mile. I’m still breaking for those 2 minute walks and I start and end each day with 5 minutes of walking.

I don’t need the walk breaks. I could run 3 or 4 or whatever miles without stopping to walk, but right now the only thing I care about is not hating myself when I am out trying to get a little exercise. Walking allows me to get my breathing under control (which isn’t easy with my asthma and wearing a mask) and has limited the ache in my knees and my ankle.

At some point I will mostly ditch the walk breaks and actually start training again, but with no races on the schedule for the foreseeable future, thanks to the pandemic, why would I bother to put pressure on myself. If I want to throw in my headphones and listen to an audiobook while enjoying my time outside, why not? If I want to randomly stop and walk or check out some of the headstones in the cemetery, stop and walk. As long as I’m outside and being active, and not hating myself, well that’s good enough.

I do miss hard training and I do miss racing, but I those things haven’t felt good for a long time. That is my own fault for putting too much pressure on myself, for not taking care of my body, for not getting enough sleep and eating like crap. Those things can wait. For now, I just want to get some exercise and not totally hate it.

Looking forward to having fun

Last December, I was hesitant to set any running goals for myself because I didn’t know how my knee would respond after flaring up during the Chicago Marathon in October.

Well, we all know how 2020 turned out and I’m actually grateful I did not set any goals. I already feel bad about letting my fitness go to shit while being stuck at home because of the pandemic, imagine how shitty I would feel if I had set goals and then wasn’t able to accomplish them either because a race was canceled or I just got lazy when all of my routines were shattered by stay-at-home and work-from-home orders.

I’m in the middle of a nine-day vacation and I hoped that having some time off from work would spark a turn around in motivation. In fact, it hasn’t changed a thing. I’m just spending my time sitting at my desk watching TV instead of working. I’m walking to the kitchen even more often for snacks. I’m struggling to talk myself to go for a run, putting it off until later in the day because I don’t have to work, and then not going at all. Running isn’t any fun because stuff hurts (my left ankle right now, to be specific), I’ve lost all my fitness, and I have nothing to train for.

I’ve also had plenty of time to think about whether or not I want to set any goals for 2021. The new year starts in just over two weeks and while I don’t like to wait around for the new year to my ass in gear, it is a good time to pause and reset. It’s a good time to set some new goals.

In 2017 I deal with the same type of knee problems as I dealing with at the end of last year. I set one simple goal in December 2017, “JUST FUCKING RUN.” I spoke of that goal again last December and I guess I have to say I accomplished it both times. I have been able to run for much of this year, and I’ve had some good moments, it just hasn’t always felt great and hasn’t been a lot of fun.

So maybe that should be my goal, simply to have fun. Last summer, when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, running was fun. Earlier this year, when I was done with rehab and getting back to training again, running was fun. I want to have that kind of fun again. I want to drop these 25 pounds I have gained since the Chicago Marathon and be able to go run for an hour just because it is Thursday. I want to build back the strength I gained last summer and do speed sessions on Wednesday night that last for an hour and a half. I went to run 50-60 miles a week. I want to get fit. I want to be motivated to get out the door, to my physical therapy, to eat the right food.

Yeah, that’s a goal I can get down with.

The struggle continues

Just when I thought running couldn’t be any more of a struggle in 2020, a few health issues cropped up and dealt me another set back.

When the year started I was still rehabbing my knee after running the Chicago Marathon. My knee was in pretty good shape when the pandemic hit and trashed my habits and my motivation (running just didn’t seem all that important).

My asthma and allergies, which have been an issue all year, really flared up in October. I constantly had a sore throat and breathing while running, especially while wearing a mask, was difficult and made me want to stay home.

Then, I got a skin infection (cellulitis) that was not only tremendously painful, it also made me quite sick. I’m about to share too much information, you’ve been warned. A boil on my chest became infected and swelled to size of a half a tennis ball. It was red, painful and hot to the touch. It also made me sick. By the time I finally went to the doctor, I had a fever, the chills and felt like I was going to puke. Describe those symptoms, along with the fact that I constantly have a sore throat, to the doctor’s office and have fun getting an appointment. I had to go to a different office and I felt like I was in a science fiction story when I did see the doctor, who was wearing a full hazmat suit.

To top all of this off, the antibiotics I took to clear up the infection had some gnarly side effects, namely monster headaches and (again, TMI warning) diarrhea. For two weeks I either had severe pain and a fever, or a headache and the shits. My mileage was already down, then I spent five days sleeping and sitting in an office chair. Running was the last thing I wanted to do.

Fortunately, I’m on the mend. The infection has cleared up and I have been off the antibiotics for almost two weeks. I also was given another prescription for my asthma/allergies (on top of a daily inhaler and a rescue inhaler). I’ve been on Singulair for about a week and a half, and it already seems to be helping.

With all of those issues hopefully behind me, I am now back to searching for motivation. I haven’t been especially motivated to run and I have been even less motivated to stretch, do strength work and generally take care of myself. I’ve lost a ton of fitness and something hurts every time I run.

But I’m giving myself some grace. This year has been a challenge. A pandemic has changed life as we know it and I haven’t exactly been the picture of health. I’ve been sick and I’ve been injured. Not every year is going to be a huge success, and with all these obstacles in my way, I understand this year was bound to be anything but.

I’m hopeful that at some point running will be fun again. I’m hopeful that at some point I’ll be motivated enough to start taking my health more seriously, not only for the sake of running, but for the sake of my overall well being. I’m already being treated for high blood pressure and it isn’t exactly where we want it to be right now. With a history of heart disease in my family, that is not something to mess around with.

I’m not waiting around for 2021 to change my ways, I’m just searching for a spark of motivation. Because I just want running to be fun again.

Maine Marathon Virtual 5K

Wreck Everyone and Leave. Or something like that.

I have spent the better part of 2020 searching for wins. I have not always worked as hard as I would like to seek out those wins, but at a time when I am stuck at home and the world outside feels like it is falling apart, any little victory makes things feel a little more normal (and 2020 has been anything but “normal”).

Last Sunday morning I had a pretty big win. I wasn’t expecting much when I left the house to run the Maine Marathon Virtual 5K. My training had been OK, but I also slacked off quite a bit. I wasn’t feeling great when I woke up and I was fighting myself over where to run this “time trial” and what to wear, until I actually pressed start on my Garmin and took off.

I fought through those moments of self doubt, those questions of “why even bother to do this,” to run a decent 5K. My time of 22:58 is more than a minute slower than my personal best, but is in the top 15 of all the 5Ks I have ever run. And at a time when I have felt bored with running, when running more often than not hurts, and when it is hard to get motivated to do the work because there are so many other stresses wearing me down, it was definitely a win to break 23 minutes.

Sunday’s effort was the first time I had “raced” a 5K since March when I did the Perryman’s Pub Virtual 5K. I was working my way back into running and training after my knees begged for mercy at Chicago when I ran that 5K (which was also in the very early stages of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders). The 23:51 I ran wasn’t great, but it felt good considering a month earlier I was still throwing in walk breaks to most of my runs.

When I left the house to run the Maine Marathon Virtual 5K, I told myself I’d be happy with a repeat performance. My workouts were all geared toward running 7:45ish pace and that pace felt like pretty hard work. All my intervals at that pace felt doable, but then I ran a mile at what I thought was 5K pace in the midst of a run, and 7:41 felt super hard. Like, all-out-mile-pace hard.

So when I finished the first mile on Sunday in 7:29, I was surprised and nervous. Surprised because I ran 7:29 and it didn’t feel like I was sprinting. Nervous because I was sure I was going to blow up.

I said “fuck it” though and decided to just keep going at this effort. If I blew up, so what, I was close enough to home to walk or jog back.

The thing is, I didn’t blow up. I started to hurt quite a bit in the second mile, my legs getting heavy and my breathing getting labored, but I fought it off and ran 7:25. With 1.1 to go, I decided to just go for it. I knew once I turned back onto Ludlow Street, I knew I had a little downhill to carry me for a bit. I ignored my watched and pushed. Then I turned down Jeanne Street for the final stretch. That last quarter of a mile was a fight. I felt like I was stomping the ground as opposed to the slight fall forward, quickly get my feet off the ground form I try to run with. I heard my watch beep as I ticked past mile 3 (7:20), then stared at it while sprinting (if you could call what I was doing at that point sprinting) until it finally hit 3.1.

That time trial, virtual race, whatever you want to call it was a win. A win I badly needed. I’ve taken it pretty easy in the week since, but will start to ramp up again soon as I prepare to run a few more 5K time trial/virtual races in Novemeber. I’ll do that training with the knowledge that even though I feel like a slug, I can still run a decent (for me) 5K and if I work a harder, I know I’m capable of much more.

In a year where the world feels like a dumpster fire, I’ll take all the wins I can get.

Looking for the good

Trainers. Flats. Fall foliage.

The last time I have posted on this blog, I was beating myself up a little bit for putting in a half-assed effort because I was feeling it. My knees (specifically my right knee) were starting to hurt and my hip was achy.

It has been a few weeks since that post, and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is, my hip and my knees feel OK. I’m not running super-high mileage, but I am getting in decent mileage five days a week, including two sessions with some sort of 5K-specific speed work built in.

The bad news is, my half-assed effort hasn’t really improved. I’m doing physical therapy sometimes. I’m stretching after ever run, but I never roll. I spend a lot of time in my room, sitting on my ass watching baseball, trying to read, or scrolling social media between trips to the kitchen for a handful of Ruffles potato chips.

I am not here to beat myself up. I done that enough to know it accomplishes absolutely nothing. It’s just that if I am going to have a blog, I should update it from time to time, if for no other reason than to have some deeper thoughts in writing that I can look back on than I put down in my training log (which reminds me, I need to jot a few notes about today’s workout in my log). The update, like I said is a little good and a little bad.

I wish I was working harder, but finding the motivation has been a struggle. I know I said I was going to try to follow the wisdom “mood follows action,” and I have, but I’m still struggling with my routines, and struggling to make things habit.

I can, however, look on the bright side. Today is a good example. This morning I packed a bag and drove to the Mountain Division Trail in Windham for my mid-week speed sessions. Today’s the plan was to run up and down the ladder 1-minute to 5-minute intervals, shooting for 7:45-8:02 per mile pace. In the middle of my first 3-minute interval, I started to doubt my ability to finish this working. Toward the end of the first 4-minute interval I decided to quit. During my 1-minute recovery after that interval I decided to at least give the 5-minute interval a shot. Two and a half minutes into that interval, I had a pretty good idea I would actually finish the workout. Sixteen minutes later, I had finished the workout, hitting all of my paces, and I didn’t feel destroyed.

Those paces are a long way from where I was the last time I raced a 5K, when I averaged 6:52 per mile and missed my 5K PR by 11 seconds at the Mother’s Day 5K a year and a half ago. That could be deflating, but I spent the first few months of the year getting my knees healthy enough to run, spent the first part of the pandemic trying to stay on a training plan for no race, then basically gave up and just jogged every day. I only started doing faster stuff again five weeks ago, and I’m not really taking it all that serious, if I’m being completely honest. Getting through today’s workout was a confidence builder, if nothing else.

I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do if I want to ever approach the kind of 5K speed I had on that day back in May 2019. And I do want to have that type of speed again. I know I won’t have it when I run a 5K time trial on Oct. 12 as part of the Maine Marathon’s virtual event. I won’t have that kind of speed when I run two more time trials – or virtual races or whatever we are calling these things we are doing during the pandemic – but I’ve enjoyed getting out and doing some speed sessions lately, and right now, that is plenty.

Some day, maybe mood will follow action and I will be fired up to do all the necessary work to run a fast 5K. I decided recently that at some point in the near future, probably sometime in the spring of next year, I would like to be in the kind of shape to make a run at setting a 5K PR. That thing is more than five years old and I proved to myself last year that if I am actually willing to do the work, I am capable of running that fast again.

Some day I will be motivated enough to truly get after it. Maybe today was a start.

Half-ass effort, half-ass results

Not sure why I’m making that face, today’s workout was fairly all right.

On Sunday morning I had a flashback to Chicago. Not because I was crushing a long run or taking part in a race, and certainly not because I was in a sea of people chasing goals or screaming for friends who were chasing goals.

I was all by myself, jogging up Walton Street in Portland, 6 1/2 miles into my run, a mile from my apartment, which is exactly where I was heading. And I had a flashback to the marathon because my knee started to hurt, just like it did 13 miles into the Chicago Marathon. It hurt the rest of the run and has been a little bit achy in the three days since.

I was quite a bit discouraged jogging that final mile home, and even more so in the immediate aftermath. I sat on the floor in my bedroom, half-assing my stretching routine and sulking a little bit.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out exactly why my knee was hurting. I figured it out when I was half-assing my stretching routine. All that half-assing is why my knee started to hurt Sunday. It is why my hip has been sore for most of the last month and a half. It’s why I’ve been complaining so much about running not being any fun.

Give a half-assed effort and get a half-assed result.

I’m OK. I’m just whining a little bit. I have 10 miles in my log so far this week, including a decent little ladder speed workout this morning. Both knees and my right hip are a little cranky, but, especially my knees, it’s all just enough to be annoying.

And the solution to those annoyances is pretty simple: Proper warmup, stretch, roll, actually do my physical therapy on a regular basis. I’m 46 and a little bit broken, the days of rolling out of bed and getting in miles are over (they have been for quite a while, actually). Leaving the house and running, then walking back in the house after run a sitting down to scroll social media or watch TV is going to cut it.

So, if I’m doing this right, I will post this blog, clear out some space in my room, and go through my physical therapy routine while watching the second half of the Celtics game. Running has been a little bit more fun the last week or so, I’d like to keep that momentum going and not hate every step because my knee hurts or my hip hurts because I’m a lazy turd.

In other words, if I want to enjoy this, I have to stop half-assing it.