Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Running in San Fran

Here I am in San Francisco again, and this time, I'm running it.

But before I get into that - over the weekend, I went for a jog with my college roommate.  If you knew the two of us well, you'd really get a kick out of this, because it was a running joke (no pun intended) that she was not that athletic and I hated running.  In fact, one year, she got one-pound weights and sweatbands as a joke Christmas gift.

In the last few years though, she's been going to the gym, doing yoga, and working with a trainer, who got her started with running.  So she suggested we go for a run Saturday morning while we were having a college girls' weekend.

Our friend's husband pointed us to a bike trail nearby that we could run on, and we decided to do about thirty minutes. I hadn't run that long all week, so I was hoping I could manage it, but it helped that she's a slower runner, so I could better pace myself.  We chatted and ran the whole thirty minutes, and agreed that we felt GREAT when we were done - really nice addition to the weekend!

My plan was to take Sunday and Monday off because of having to fit in a bunch of stuff, and then run this week in San Francisco on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday and either Friday and Saturday back home.  I flew in yesterday, and before I left, I managed to tweak my neck.

For some background - a few years ago, I ended up with a pinched nerve in my neck.  I'm not sure how it happened, but I actually think it's a result of a car accident my friend Sage and I were in while we were in college (we were stopped to make a left turn and a car plowed into the van that was stopped behind us and both of us ended up with some whiplash).  Anyway, it was so bad that I couldn't sit at my desk for more than a few hours, and I ended up working while lying in bed with my laptop on my chest.

Eventually, I had to be put on some painkillers to allow muscles to relax enough that the nerve slipped back into place.  Every once in a while, I get some pain there, but normally nothing serious and after a few days, it's gone.  Normally, it's because I'm lifting things that are just a bit too heavy or carrying a heavy purse too much.

Well, yesterday, I'm not sure what started it off, but what pushed it over the edge was jumping up from the kitchen table funny to check and see if there was a squirrel at the bird feeder. I know, I'm awesome.

And unfortunately, it's put me in levels of pain that I haven't felt since I first pinched it.  I can't get comfortable, the muscles are screaming, and lying down seems to be the only relief I get.  But my hotel is pretty much right on the Embarcadero here in San Fran, so I could run outside instead of at the gym.  And I've been feeling really antsy and wanted to run outside.

I figured I'd just do an easy run and see how it went.  And honestly, it wasn't so bad - my neck didn't hurt any more or less than when I'm sitting up doing nothing.  It was a tough run though, so I just tried to take it slow and enjoy it.  I ran about 25 minutes total, with some walking breaks (and a break to take a phone call when the person refused to leave me a voicemail and just called me three times in a row instead).  Am I really happy with today's run? No, I'm not.

But I'm out of my element, running on crowded sidewalks in an unfamiliar city (I've been here three times, but never run here), so the main thing was that I went out and did it.  And I've got two more days to run here too!

So let's hope my neck settles back in. I stopped at a Walgreens on my way back to the hotel to pick up those neck heating patches, some icy hot, and some aspirin (I only have Excedrin, which you're not supposed to take more than once a day).  I can't take ibuprofen because it's counter-indicated for something else I'm on, so aspirin it is.  We'll see how it goes - but keep your fingers crossed because I'm already fed up with the pain and it's only been 24 hours.  I had big plans to walk around the city today, but I think some more rest is in order so that I'm in better shape for tomorrow (when the weather should be better anyway!).

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