What I Think About Running

Pages: 58 - 58
George Wallace, DPM

My running avocation began over 30 years ago. On average, I have been hitting the pavement three times per week, maybe for three miles per session. As age creeps in, the desire is still there, but the performance is, especially the older I get, more labored. Let’s face it. I’m getting slower.

Below are some thoughts about this avocation.

• How many times when beginning the run does my body wonder what the hell I’m doing this for?

• I read everything about the stretching period before running but never have the time to stretch. Luckily—knock on wood—I never developed a significant injury because of running without any pre- or post-stretching.

• If all the loose garbage were collected from the streets I run on, the landfills would be full in no time at all. Where is the pride of a community?

• Pepsi seems to be more popular than Coke, judging by the trash in the streets, or are the Pepsi drinkers just sloppier?

• Nothing beats an early Sunday morning run. Everything is so quiet and uncongested.

• Last Fourth of July, it was beautiful to run through the streets as everyone raised their flags or attached them to their houses. Shivers went down my back thinking how free we really are as a society.

• Watching a squirrel being hit by a car and breathing its last breath is not the most pleasant experience.

• Are those buses pulling away from a corner really inspected for noxious fumes? Should I hold my breath?

• Drivers are very courteous to my running so far but discourteous to other drivers.

• I never had time to train for a marathon. It’s amazing how much time it takes. I’m amazed at those who have the time to get ready and then participate. I calculated it could take me almost six hours. Forget it.

• The change of seasons is spectacular up and down the streets.

• A sweat and the runner’s “high” after coming in are the main reasons this exercise continues.

• When I pass another runner, how come he or she looks in better shape, has better form and is going faster? Into my early 60s now, I have found that fast is a thing of the past.

• In all my years of running, last Sunday was the first I ever smelled bacon cooking. It smelled delicious! I went home and was told bacon was no good for your cholesterol.

• I can’t keep up with all of the information on the running shoes or, as we used to call them in the old days, “sneakers.”

• After reading the various articles on running barefoot or in minimalist shoes, I advise patients to buck those trends and stay in a running shoe. Call me old-fashioned but a well-constructed shoe provides support, shock absorption and protection from any material in the streets.

• When a runner comes in with a bag full of shoes, you know you are in for a long visit. Many runners are not too receptive to your suggestions.

• A great time for an early morning run is while you are on vacation. Running on a deserted beach or through an unknown area is a fantastic way to see the sights. A 6 a.m. run past the White House and the D.C. monuments was breathtaking.  

• My Dad and father-in-law, and for that matter all of those in their generation, never worried about fitting in any type of exercise or caring about what they ate. Yet if I miss a few days or indulge in a fatty meal, there’s worry the end is close.

• The knees are fine but like my Dad, I developed bilateral hallux limitus, which will ache occasionally. Now I can relate to patients with a similar diagnosis.

• A 5K used to take me under 30 minutes. Now, I’m pushing 40 minutes. Damn.

• Last Sunday, I put on my headphones. I couldn’t hear a car come up behind me. Never again.

• I got lost once running. My mom moved into a senior complex and all the houses and streets look the same. I kept going and had 15 minutes of not knowing how to get back. Mom, ever the seer, said “That was a long run. What’s the matter? Did you get lost?” “Nope.”

Don’t give up on any exercises you do. In this line of business, we need some outlet. If you don’t do anything physical, start. You’ll feel better!

Dr. Wallace is the Director of the Podiatry Service and the Medical Director of Ambulatory Care Services at University Hospital in Newark, N.J.

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