Comanche Lookout Park
I’ve mentioned my local hiking/running trails ad nauseum in the past. They’re accessed from the same parking lot as my local branch library, and the first time I explored the trails was back in 2006. Since then, I’ve gone on hundreds (if not thousands) of trips to the park. I’ve walked with friends. I’ve worked out novel ideas while I moved my body. I’ve played running games with my kids. I’ve used the exercise equipment dotted throughout. I was there when the equipment was put in. I learned how to run on those trails, and completed my first 5K there.
It’s been over three years since I’ve been able to use the park – the year back in TX between my moves, I was hampered by a sprained/broken ankle – and it’s like coming home. The same people walk/run there. There’s the couple with the disabled daughter, and the adult autistic men from the group home that go there with caretakers. There’s the super-skinny man who wears track shorts, parka, knit cap, and thick gloves no matter how hot it is. There’s the older short man who walks like a duck and always says “thank you ma’am” when I say good morning. Then there’s the very elderly man who walks extremely slowly around the trails with his very large, very well-behaved French pyrenee, stopping to chat with whoever wants to say hello. (Didn’t know if I’d see him again, given that he’s in his 90s. But I spotted him just two weeks ago. Him and his dog.)
I’ve also mentioned this particular type of physical therapy several times on the blog, but as a recap, this is manual manipulation of fascia combined with therapy exercises and icing. It’s like a fast-track to treating soft tissue injuries like sprains or plantar fasciitis. It’s extremely painful and extremely expensive and totally worth both the pain and the cost. Three visits, and my foot pain is nearly gone. Which means I can take long walks on my favorite trails again, and can start running just a teensy bit again.
I miss running. I miss many of the things that came along with it. Not everything was great of course, but there were good things. I miss little local 5Ks with all the fun vibes. I miss the feeling I got over a particularly good run. I miss the excitement of improving my times, even if I was never even remotely fast. I felt so good in those days, and so crushed whenever an injury would set me back. Products like Garmin watches excited me. I looked forward to new running shoes. I kept a journal of every run, no matter how good or bad or spotty. Now, I’m not glorifying here – there were days I hated running, days I felt terrible and awkward and out of step. There were times when the heat or humidity was just too much for me. Sometimes I’d go weeks or even months without running by choice. I’ve grown to understand that I don’t like long-distance sports, and I’m totally okay with doing 5Ks instead of marathons. I’m also very well aware that my current size and fitness level aren’t ideal for running. That hasn’t stopped me from trying from time to time. And enjoying a rare moment of making it through a (slow, short, all-downhill) run.
So…not all recovery is something I love. I really don’t like foam rolling or icing, though I know they’re necessary to heal and prevent injury. Some other parts of recovery are just wonderful, though. I can’t tell you just how amazing a post-workout breakfast tastes. Usually I put off stretching – I know, I know – but man when I actually follow through, it feels so good! I don’t know why I put it off, really. Other great recoveries include hot tubs or jacuzzi baths and (my favorite) massage. Speaking of which, it’s about time for a massage! I haven’t had one since my birthday!
Back when I was much thinner, I had a few moments when – yes – I actually felt sexier in running shorts and a high-tech tank top than I did in anything fancy or pretty. One of the hardest things about gaining weight has been the difficulty of finding decent plus-size clothes at decent prices. This goes for both regular clothes (I miss being able to shop at the thrift store!) and athletic-wear. Even so, I do the best I can, and have a wide array of yoga pants/capris, basketball shorts (from the men’s section), running shorts, tank tops, and flowing yoga tops. Now if only I could find decent plus-size sports bras…