The Enjoyment of Running

February 27, 2014

I began running about 33 years ago, while in college at Indiana University.  I won’t give you my age, but I was around 19 then : ).  Over those years I have varied quite a bit in my consistency.  It wasn’t until 2010, though, that I ran in a timed race, the Jacksonville Symphony River Run Classic (sponsored by my employer!).  My pace was around about 11-1/4 minutes/mile (I had thought it was slower, but when looking it up, discovered the race had been 4 miles long).

Sometime around that year, while attending a Buddhist study conference at the Florida Nature and Culture Center Sheilah Edwards, now deceased, happened to see me running, and encouraged me to be certain to enjoy myself.  As time went on, I came to value those words, especially as I began running in more races and noticed that many people were not enjoying themselves, pushing themselves so hard, perhaps from lack of practice/training to the point where they were in pain.  I even learned about a running club that gave extra points if a club member threw up after crossing the finish line, apparently viewing that as a badge of honor!

I have discovered several things that have indeed greatly enhanced my sense of enjoyment while running.   First was finding the book Brain Training for Runners, by Marc Fitzgerald.  To date, I have applied only a few of his ideas. The second is the Alter-G treadmill, which benefits both rehab patients and runners trying to improve by allowing less strain to joints and muscles while training.   Locally here in Jacksonville, Fl, you can get a free 10-minute trial on this treadmill by contacting Heartland Rehabilitations Services at (904) 288-0900.  Currently, they are also running a special of 10 30-minute sessions for $45, or 5 30-minute sessions for $34, a 55% discount for first-time users.  (Please make sure to tell them I referred you, as it entitles me to one free session of my own!)  The treadmill user selects a percentage of body weight he/she would like to utilize, then an air chamber adjusts gravity accordingly. Third, I began the practice of nose-breathing advocated by John Douillard in his book Body, Mind, Sport.  I’ll share more details about this in a future posting.

Also, I have been running using the Vibram shoe for several years, which has virtually removed any sense of burn I used to feel in my shins, although I am not sure how I will hold up in longer distance-runs.  So far, I have run only up to 10K (6.2 miles).  My time has steadily improved. In my most recent effort, part of a 10-person team for the 55 mile Wolfson Children’s Hospital Run, I finished at around a 9″30″ pace.

I now definitely enjoy running, and also continue to experiment with various supplements to aid me in being at peak performance.  The latest that have been very effective so far, are Mitoblast 2, developed by local doctor Anthony Capasso, who is the medical director of Thin Centers MD, and Instant Cordyceps.