If I've learned anything after six years of running, it's that sometimes you need to worry that your legs aren't up to it, and sometimes it's your lungs. Lately, with my asthma, it's been the lungs. Today, it was the legs.
I had planned on running about 6 miles this morning. About a half mile in, my feet started hurting. Not good. The same thing cut short my run on Tuesday. I skipped Thursday all together, hoping a little rest would help. It didn't. The pain in my feet radiated up to my calves, and I hobbled on for another mile. I've had plantar fasciitis in the past, and it sort of feels like that, but not exactly. I stopped and retied my shoes and walked for a minute or two, and that seemed to help. Or maybe my feel were just numbed from pain at that point.
I decided to cut the run short at 5 miles -- 5 slow, uncomfortable miles. Still pretty good, though I sure would have liked to have gone six. But I'm smart enough to know a mile less today gives me a better chance at running at all next week. No sense in pushing it and getting hurt. I'm old and fat, but I'm smart.
And it's all worth it, because runners live longer than non-runners -- so said the European Society of Cardiology on Thursday.
Of course, that's not to say that my lungs were entirely happy this morning. Every now and then, you pick up speed during a run, and end up breathing a little heavier. Like, say, when a pack of college-aged women runners comes running toward you. Move to the side, give a polite nod, and the next thing you know, you're breathing heavier. And you need to slow down again. It happens.
And I need my lungs. Also on Thursday, researchers from the University of Georgia announced that they believe it is not genetic mutations, but rather low oxygen levels in cells, that drive cancer. This certainly goes against current thinking. And it also gives me yet another reason to run -- more oxygen in my body means less chance of a low-oxygen environment in my cells?
Probably not -- cancer is always more complicated than that. (And if it was the case, that two years of running before I was diagnosed would have done me more good than it apparently did.)
But don't tell my lungs that. They're already pissed off about the whole asthma thing, and maybe the cancer/oxygen connection will make them feel better about it all.
(Sitting and typing for a half hour was not good....Legs stiffened up again....ouch.....)