June 13, 2009

One positive result of my blood clots

My blood clots really weakened my body. On the Monday that I discovered the clots, I could only walk 50-100 feet, and going up stairs to my bedroom was really hard and my head was covered with sweat. I was in the hospital for 5 days and did a small amount of walking there -- I got up to about 400 feet. I gained almost 30 pounds of water-weight in my hips and legs, and I had therapy for two months to get rid of the water; the therapy consisted of bandaging my legs with 5 or 6 layers of compress stockings, closed-cell foam, and Ace bandages to hold all of it together. This put a lot of compression on my legs to force the water from the swelling to go into my lymph system and then out through my bladder. After the therapy was over, I started to wear thick compression stockings, which I will have to wear for two years.

Upon returning home, I got my walking up to 1.5 miles, and then I started merging in some jogging. At first I could only jog for a short distance. Even though I've been running for 36 years, I'm starting over as a beginner since my body is taking longer to return to running than I had expected. For example, after my auto accident 5 years ago, I started with 1/8 mile or running, but I was able to add 10% each week, and I soon returned to the 7 miles I had been running before the accident. This time, however, I'm progressing at a much slower rate.

I like to be positive about my life, and I realize that having to start over in running is actually a good thing. I'm using myself as an experiment of one to test my philosophy of not following a plan but letting ones body dictate how fast increases in distance or speed should occur. The results of this experiment of one are good -- my body is a much better manager of my training than any training plan could be. Training plans are written for a fictitious person and should be modified and adapted to the person using the plan, while my body knows exactly how much stress it can handle. So far, the results are good. I'm improving each week and I haven't overtrained such that I get injured or depressed. It's true that my progress is taking longer than I had expected, but that just shows the severity of the impact of the blood clots on my body. I'm being reassured that my philosophy of beginning running is good, and I think I will have more compassion and understanding of beginning runners who are having a difficult time getting their body trained.

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