Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's getting easier

Last year was a mostly non-running year for me. Yes, I managed to run 10k during the triathlon, but that was it. The next race I attempted was a dismal failure because I hadn't been running enough. I started the year with a knee injury, had a back injury in the middle of the year and was just discouraged at the end of the year. I never had a decent run that was longer than about 7 miles and even those never felt comfortable.

This year started with long cycling miles and again no running. After the century in March I started running again. Nothing hurt, but it was hard because I hadn't been running regularly for so long. I was starting from zero and it was discouraging.

When I made up our training schedule for the Chicago Marathon I decided that we needed to have lots and lots of runs in the 13-16 mile range. After about a half dozen of those, it no longer feels unnatural to run for hours at a time. Sure, for several reasons there's a lot of walking involved but I'm doing the miles and they're not killing me.

Saturday, Anita and I ran almost 16 miles. We met in Danville way too damn early, 6:15 am. The plan was to run the 8 mile street route that included a couple of hills, then do out-and-backs on the Iron Horse. Unbelievably, it seemed if not easy, then at least not hard. The air was the clearest it's been for ages and for the first couple of hours my breathing was smooth enough for me to blab nonstop. When we finished I was tired, exhausted even, but nothing hurt.

Today I don't even feel like I ran long miles. My lungs don't hurt, my legs don't hurt and even after yet another sleepless night I'm not tired. Yay!

Yesterday afternoon I spent several hours with my mom. She's in an assisted living facility in Oakland that's for dementia patients. Mentally she's the sharpest she's been since all this started, but I think she's still a good 20% less competent than she was two months ago. Physically she's very weak, both in strength and coordination. She's probably very close to her new baseline and seemingly stable.

We've got appointments this week with her two new doctors and we'll know more afterward, including what type of living situation she'll need. I don't think that at this point she needs the very intense scrutiny and care she's receiving now but I also don't think she can live on her own. It's also unclear whether she is indeed stable, and whether any change in situation would set her back. But for now, at least I was able to talk with her. I didn't think I'd have that again.

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