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About 5 ½ years ago, my daughter noticed a small bump on the right side of my neck and told me I needed to go see a doctor about it. She is a bit of a worry wart about medical stuff, but she also happens to be very persistent, so I went.
I wasn’t overly concerned, so you can imagine my surprise when my doctor told me I had Stage 4 Head and Neck Cancer. Not knowing much about cancer at that point, I asked her some questions; in particular, I asked her what Stage 4 meant. I can pinpoint the point in time I realized I was in deep trouble to when she answered “Well, there isn’t a Stage 5”.
After a short 24 hour pity party, we started looking at potential treatment options and agreed on the most aggressive one to start in a week so that had time to put in a feeding tube, and do a boatload of testing to make sure I could survive the treatment.
After the preparation, I went through 4 rounds of chemotherapy (losing about 40 pounds and all my hair) and 7 straight weeks of radiation, broken up only by a 5 day period where I had to go on steroids to reduce the swelling in my face and on May 14, 2015 I had my last treatment.
And, I’m happy to say, I’ve not only been cancer free but I’m probably in better shape than I have been since my 20’s having completed a Sprint Triathlon and become very serious about my running, nutrition and overall health.
This pandemic reminds me of this period of my life, and I think there are many reasons to use this crazy time period to better ourselves and come out in a better place. So, I’ve committed to running every single day during the pandemic and have come up with 5 reasons how and why you can use running to get through this and come out stronger on the other side.
How many of you read our 6 Reason Why the Walk/Run Method May Be For You blog with a little bit of skepticism? I know when I first started researching the idea, I approached it with quite a bit of doubt because the common sense of it told me, I’d run faster and longer if I rate at a slow, consistent rate. When I read up on the concept, I was somewhat swayed by the arguments but, truth be told, I really wasn’t sold.
But, I’m one of those athletes that has been injury prone for most of my life; I tore my right hamstring in Middle School, training for the Regional Track meet (a little brag here, I had won the District Meet in the 400 meter dash); I then tore that same hamstring playing baseball the following year; and, to add insult to injury I then ruptured my Achilles Tendon playing basketball in my late 20’s.
As I took up distance running as I got older, I tended to have calf strains primarily which seemed to happen later in my runs and, in particular, during my long runs. So, this research was about self-survival as a runner entering his 60’s but I determined the research was based on large groups of people and I wanted to know how it would impact ME!
Are you trying to get faster? Add more miles weekly?
For a new runner, or a middle of the packer like me simply adding miles or speed workouts can lead to injuries and injuries are a runner’s worst enemy.
So, how do you increase you aerobic base…the foundation for your running endurance without succumbing to injury? The answer is you need to add cross-training to your regimen.
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