January 23, 2008

True Confessions

So yesterday we were talking about New Years Resolutions and whether people were keeping them or not. And I explained that like many of you, I hadn't made any official resolutions, but I'd already announced earlier I was going to do a couple of things.
  • I was going to get more serious and structured about interval training; and
  • I was going to stop trashing my knees by running.
So today, I'm going to try to explain justify rationalize make up some weasely lame-ass excuses as to why I'm Zero for Two on those.

Yes, like one of those wholesome house-wifey drug abusers straight out of a made-for-tv-movie, I've been keeping up appearances but sneaking out the back door to get high. I may say "exercise" or "workout," but for the last month or two that's included running, and it feels wonderful, so much better than dork-walking! And yeah, my knees do hurt a bit more sometimes (but not THAT MUCH, okay?).

Is this some sudden magical change in the physiology of my middle-aged knees? Maybe that fish oil and glucosamine are finally kicking in, even though I've been taking them for years? Or is this is yet another short-term experiment that will only end badly?

Any sensible person knows the answer to that question--but someone who desperately craves running endorphins is not a sensible person.

Why no doctor visit? Well, the reason is boring--it involves our moving, and filling out insurance applications again, and my wanting to look like I never actually visit a the doctors office. But I swear I'll go once I'm set up again. It's not like I'm doctor-avoidant or anything...

In the meantime, I've discovered icing.

Not the fun kind of icing, like on cupcakes. I discovered that kind of icing quite a long time ago. No, I mean the kind where you wrap something freezing cold around your injured joints after you abuse them. And (this may be wishful thinking, but...) icing helps! I'm pretty darn sure that my knees are not nearly as crotchety after a run as they used to be.

I started with the low-tech version of a Cold Pack:

And yeah, I know you're supposed to use peas or carrots or something more pliable, but we didn't have any of those.

(By the way, Frozen Asparagus? Works way better as an ice pack than as a side dish. Some vegetables just should never ever be frozen and asparagus, it turns out, is one of them.)

Anyway, now I have an Official Expensive cold pack instead, which is good, because the asparagus bag finally split open and was dripping foul asparagus ice-water all over everything.

So enough about the running and the asparagus. What happened to the intervals?

Well, I still do them, because I do think they're really good for you. But I bailed on the whole "structured" part, which worked better on a treadmill. It was too creepy going all-out on a treadmill and hoping I didn't trip and fly off the back and slam into a wall and kill myself. (Paranoid? Who me?)

So I'm back to doing un-timed, unofficial intervals when I run--and these tend to coincide with hills or really great songs on the ipod. I think I'm pushing myself further and harder with these intervals than I did on the treadmill, but in all honesty, I'm probably not doing as quite as many of them.

Whatever. Close enough.

So of course there's two ways to frame this. "Bailing on my resolutions..." or, the much better sounding "Being Flexible!"

And thanks everyone for checking in about your own progress yesterday. Since this is sort of a continuation of yesterday's post, it doesn't leave a whole hell of a lot to stuff to comment on. So feel free to say hi or not or weigh in something totally unrelated that made you happy or cranky or amused you today.

On a personal note, I'll be in and out today, as the Lobster and I are going to be visiting a notary and signing a stack of documents about two feet high, then wiring what seems a rather whopping sum of money cross country. If all goes well, by close of business we'll be the official owners of a place in Provincetown, Massachusetts!

We plan to visit it next week, start getting it fixed up, and put our California house on the market as soon as we can after we get back. (We'll also be in DC again, as the Lobster has some Business to Attend to and I get to come along for the ride). So if I'm a little lax in blog visits etc these days, I promise I'll get much better once things calm down a bit. ('Cause I'm obviously so good at keeping promises).


  1. It's funny, the sensible part of me says, "you're cazy for taking the risk of screwing up your already-screwed-up knees!" but of course what I really thought when I read about you running was, "Yes! Yes! Keep going. Endorphins! Ice Packs fix everything, of course!"

    ( And your blog slacking coincides perfectly with my lack of blog posting...which I have no excuse for really.)

  2. Oooh frozen veggies. Been there done that, except it was my shins, not my knees.

    And agreed! Frozen asparagus is WRONG. Tried it once, since we love asparagus so much, and it is AWFUL. Never again.

  3. Frozen corn. Works better than frozen peas, which is the runner's standby, and it's certainly better than frozen asparagus.

    Good luck on your closing!

  4. Thanks guys!

    And yeah, Katieo, ice packs are no substitute for common sense, but you can keep 'em handy in the freezer--who the heck knows where I put my common sense!

    And Sarah, thanks for confirming the asparagus thing. Yuck!

    Bunnygirl, thanks! And I appreciate the tip about the frozen corn--I may try that for the other knee before I buy another expensive ice pack.

  5. Intervals are a good idea.
    I find if I do run 5 min/walk 2 I can go for ~40 minutes no problem. Running the whole thing without intervals or jsut walking every 10 minutes or so makes my knees ache by the end. I figure if it works...I'll stick with it. I hope it works for you and lets you keep at what you love.

    And I vote for frozen peas.

  6. Well, at least you found a use for frozen asparagus.

  7. Brrr - up here in the frozen north, we can just put snow in a ziplock bag. Really. That's what the ski patrol used to do when the Bag Lady worked at the ski hill. Ice in a ziplock works, too...
    Sheesh, the Bag Lady is really getting into this fitness stuff now, eh? Discussing what to do if she ever injures herself running? *picks herself up off the floor where she fell, laughing*

  8. Crabby!
    Good for you! I can't stop the doctor thing, so...you are running off-road, right? What I mean by that is on grass or dirt, not asphalt or the dreaded concrete. Doing this has extended my running life.
    Dr. J

  9. I was sad last night when I realized I was OUT of frozen asparagus and here YOU are sacrificing it for your knees?


  10. Have fun traveling!!

    On the knee thing- my dad was a runner for 30 years until he torn the cartilage in his knee and had to have surgery. The doc said no more running. Dad ran again. Dad had a 2nd surgery and now his knee swells up whenever he is on it for an extended period of time. The eliptical machine is his best friend.

  11. I broke my resolution about not eating restaurants so much, but was overjoyed when the scale said I did not game. No damage! So, now I am back on track without the remorse.

    And I hear you on the running thing. I keep trying it. After a couple of months my ankle starts swelling and hurting when I run. So I lay off for a long while. But, then I am tempted. As soon as it gets warmer, I am running again.

  12. PS - and, canned asparagus is much worse.

  13. Thank you!! I love running. love it! But lately, my left knee (and of course it is the right knee's MCL that I tore last year, so now I am basically screwed) started hurting, and making an audible crunching noise when I walk up stairs. Mike told me to quit running, but I can't. The elliptical doesn't make me feel it in my muscles the next day like running does. So, I am going to follow in your footsteps, Crabby, and continue to run and then ice afterwards and see how it goes. If anything, we can trade names of good orthopedists when all is said and done.
    Congrats on your new house. Provincetown sounds like a cozy little place. :)

  14. Ouch. The hurt knees sound painful. Hey, I wonder if ice would help my hurt foot (from running)?! Yeah, so no advice from me.

    AND congratulations on the new place!

  15. The Bag Lady's mother-in-law is in the hospital right now, recovering from her second knee replacement surgery. She had the first one done about 15 years ago, and now needs the pads replaced in it.
    So go ahead, keep running...ignore the crunching sounds, and the pain. WTF, they can work wonders now.
    Oh, and the lady in the next bed to M.I.L? She's there getting her second new hip. To go with her steel knees and fused ankle. She'll have to have a note from her doctor to ever get on a plane again!! They have taken to calling her the Bionic Woman.

  16. "Official owners" sounds awfully important!
    My architect has officially signed off on the new house, and I'm allowed to put stuff in the basement.

    By way of a gardening uncle I have heard that Home Grown frozen asparagus is another animal entirely. I cannot speak from experience--they did not share long-distance.

    Knees? No Comment.
    Mary Anne (and her hips and knees and ankles) in Kentucky

  17. Thanks everyone! Back now and hopefully all those papers we signed are making their way to their destination.

    Glad the intervals work for you geosomin!

    And Leah, apparently I should have sent the frozen spears to Marie instead, she likes em!

    Thanks for the fitness tips, Bag Lady, especially the bit about all the hip & knee replacements I'm gonna need!

    Dr. J--off road, mostly, but there's a little bit of nasty sidewalk. Wish there were more runner friendly surfaces around!

    Saintseester, hope I'm not being a bad influence! And yeah, canned asparagus is just weird.

    Emily, yikes, I suppose if I had any sense I'd take a lesson from your dad.

    Cara, I suspect we're both gonna regret the running thing, but maybe they'll invent new injectable cartilege sometime before we need new knees.

    Soapbox girl, yet another running casualty! Yeah, if you can't lay off, I'd say try ice!

    Thanks Mary-Anne! And glad you at least have access to your basement.I got confused at first about the home grown frozen asparagus--like really, it comes out of the ground frozen???

  18. Hahahaha, oh running, so addictive. I'm right there with you by sneaking out for the high, I swear it's the best drug ever, why waste your time with something illegal?

  19. heya crabby, i totally feel yah on the treadmill thing! i swear, it's super scary. when my imagination goes into overdrive as well, i even imagine cracking my skull on the edge of the equipment used for bench presses and whatnot that's adjacent to the treadmill area in our gym.

    so now i do intervals at the running tracks in the major sports stadium here in the city. the ground's somewhat rubberized, which is good as this would lessen the impact on the knees, especially when the fun part comes and i break into an all-out, lung-busting sprint. if you're planning on doing intervals and there's no soft ground where you can go running in your immediate location (and you don't mind the lack of a "natural" landscape), maybe you can try the tracks at your local stadium or sports center or something. for the purposes mentioned, i think the more springy the tracks, the better.

  20. crabby said:"I got confused at first about the home grown frozen asparagus--like really, it comes out of the ground frozen???"

    Now that you mention it, that uncle did have a son living in Alaska....
    Maybe the gene-mod people are working on it? along with the injectable cartilage, which would surely be better if cloned from your own cells.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  21. Frozen asparagus doesn't do the vegetable justice. I love it fresh, but frozen? Nope, nope, nope.

    And speaking of New Year's resolutions.........Iowa Avenue is sponsoring a "Take off to a Tighter Ass" Challenge in order to respark those resolutions. When you have time, check it out, although your knee will probably prevent you from participating, at least for now.

    Keep those ice packs up and I hope you recover soon..........a bad knee can make a crabby person even crabbier...........:)

  22. Congratulations on your new place in Provincetown...that sounds like such fun. I totally understand about risking the knees by running...I do it too. My knees are aching right now after a particularly good run this morning... and so is my right hip so I think I will take your advice and get some cold packs. PS-- I could have sworn I saw a study somewhere that claimed that runner's knees are no worse off than anyone elses..hard to believe.

  23. I say you are being flexible and experimental and courages. That sound good right?
    Have you tried BioFreeze (http://www.biofreeze.com)? That woks wonders on the muscles and joints.
    Congrats on the house!

  24. Thanks Jill, Fahfarrazi, Mary Anne, Lisa, Swizzlepop and CrabApple!

    Some great advice there. Will check out biofreeze, and I'm totally waiting on the cloned injectible cartilege. And springy running tracks are great! Oh, and I too read a study that says overall, runners didn't have worse knees when they were older--but I find that hard to believe.

    And hooray for tighter asses--I'll have to check out what's cooking at iowa avenue!


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)