Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Surviving The Loss of Running Muscle Memory

Well here I go again trying something I had not done since last December. I would like to say that I have given up running altogether because of my ankle tendon problems and myopathy stricken thighs due to Atorvastatin, but I broke that non-running habit again last Thursday. Any semblance of running nowadays may be worth writing about because of the glaring absence of it in my exercise logs. So this is what happened last Thursday: I jogged to the bank and back home. Not like what I did a couple of weeks before when I jogged 1 minute and walked 1 minute, but one continuous, non-stop jog other than stopping to withdraw money from the ATM and for stop lights. One might call it a slow jog but jogging already implies slow, so perhaps it was more like shuffling my feet forward and backward. Nevertheless I thought it was faster than my fastest walking pace. So how did it feel? Hmm, very, very different. It felt like I had never ran before because the muscle memory that I had  from decades of running had developed Alzheimer’s disease. The unfamiliar strides I took were the shortest I had ever taken, which was probably helpful because I landed less heavily. What was surprising to me was that I was anticipating for the myopathy to act up, but it never did, so I just kept on plugging along.
Another surprise awaited me on the way home. I ran into Katherine with her dog who also happened to be running to and from her bank. The muscle memory might be gone but at least I remember my neighbor Katherine whom I trained with for years. I may have mentioned her before in one or two of my posts and I'd like to lay to claim that I contributed to her marathon PR in L.A. (correctly or otherwise), because of the workouts we did together especially the ones on the track in Long Beach City College. For two people who supposedly don’t run anymore, it was funny to have met on the street while running to and from different banks. We separated ways after exchanging a few pleasantries.
A couple of blocks from home, I had to do a double take in a strip mall because I noticed that the video store I used to rent DVD’s from had closed down, no doubt due to lack of customers who have probably since switched to Netflix, Red Box, or at worst, illegal downloading. I was sad to see it go. I was there so frequently in recent years that the managers knew my membership number by heart. Another thing that tells you is that I haven’t exercised outdoors much so it was the first time I noticed the video store was gone. A few more minutes later, I was back home from the unexpected 42 minute jaunt through the neighborhood with not much or any permanent damage done to both muscles or tendons.
A couple of days later, I logged another run, but this time it was on the treadmill, which lasted 50 minutes. It almost felt like my running muscles were slowly regaining their memory.  I'm so glad the Press Telegram fixed their Android app (there was a problem with it for a couple of weeks) and it made for better reading while running on the machine.  Okay, this can't be right. What's this showing up in my workout log? Two runs for the week? Highly unusual nowadays. My body has learned to live without running but after a couple of these recent experiences, I'm feeling the craving again. It's like a damn drug! Is that normal?
From that running high came the downer two days later – the tragedy of Boston Marathon 2013. WHY???!!!

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