Good news for those who hate/love to run

Run.

It's one word that evokes many feelings. It doesn't need any adjectives to make your heart race with either excited anticipation or dreaded anxiety. It's a different feeling for everyone. It's what every other sport does for punishment. It's what some of us do for a release. If you ask 10 people what the word run means to them emotionally, well, you get what I'm after.

When I created the Dynamic Run Class for Spears Strong, I knew it would be the least popular to start. But I really feel this class can be life changing for two types of people: those who run and those who would like to run. I also know that the first group of people would prefer to “just run” because, well, all you have to do is run. You put on your shoes, go outside, put one foot in front of the other and keep trying to do it faster and longer.

I also thought that once. I was younger then. My body was more resilient. My attitude was more brash. I viewed my body as something that was designed to run so why would I need to do anything but run more to be better at running? So I ran more. I got faster and could go farther. So I tried to run even faster and farther. It worked. 

But then I got plantar fasciitis in my right foot and occasionally had electrical jolts in my left achilles.

I called my sister who is a physical therapist and she gave me a few simple exercises . I stopped running and did the exercises every day, no excuses. My foot got better, but it had been a couple months since the last time I ran. I was cross training and doing my physical therapy exercises but my endurance wasn’t where it was before. So I built the running back. And I couldn’t be stopped. I was getting faster, running more. 40 mile mountain race, check. Boston Marathon, check. 

A few weeks after the Boston Marathon, I felt like I could push hard again. I was on one of my regular trail runs kicking butt, passing mountain bikers and feeling great when all of a sudden my right knee gave out a loud pop and my knee buckled. I collapsed and momentarily couldn't stand back up. I was alone, about two miles away from the trailhead where my car with manual transmission was parked. I hobbled back thinking how lucky I was that it wasn't my left knee because if it was I doubt if I could shift to be able to drive home.

The doctor said it was a meniscus tear. He told me I probably would never run again. I was back to physical therapy and some basic exercises. It was heartbreaking and painful but at least it happened right before we moved from the coast of North Carolina to the Pacific Northwest. I had the move to distract from the fact I couldn’t run and my knee would occasionally lock up, causing agonizing pain.

Once in Portland I knew I had to change my training. A few extra exercises weren’t going to work. I needed a new training philosophy. And so my journey to Adapt Training began.

                               Training for the Ironman Wisconsin at Powell Butte in Portland. 

                              Training for the Ironman Wisconsin at Powell Butte in Portland. 

Since moving here three years ago and becoming Adapt Training certified, I have reduced my free weight lifting but my functional weight training has increased. My time spent running has dramatically decreased, but my speed and distance has increased. I do active recovery workouts on a regular basis. I'm stronger than I can ever remember being with no aches or pains. I no longer feel vulnerable - just like when I was young and brash.

I run up Dog Mountain and Angel's Rest. Fast! I completed Ironman Wisconsin last year. I have had a podium finish in a Spartan Sprint and the Lake Chelan Marathon. My marathon, and even shorter distance, race times are faster now than before my meniscus tear. I can do anything and everything without having to worry about my knee, hip, shoulder, or foot. I know there are more body parts on that list than what we talked about in this post, but they're for another day.

The runners’ creed is that in order to be a runner you simply have to do one thing: run. But then if you’re injured and can’t run are you no longer a runner? 

And those who don’t run but may want to tend to fear the word run. Maybe we can all have a new title: Dynamic Runner. 

Even though the Dynamic Run class has fewer people, now is the time to come. You will get more focused attention from me directing you to getting your body working the way it should. Whether you run or not, the Dynamic Run class could be for you. It is not a group run and is open to everyone. 

Running is not just about your legs. It’s about knowing how to use your whole body to propel yourself forward in the fastest, and most efficient way.