End of last year I took up running around and stuff. End of last year I started limping a bit with nearly unlimited shin / calf muscle pain. Emails to Michelle about running have read like “Tried for a mile today, had to stop and cry and limp. Took all of the efforts to not call someone to get me” and slowly progressed to “Made it 1.5 miles and did not cry in pain today!!” then “made it a few days in a row no crying less pain” – this week “ Made it four days in a row“.
For me running on gravel feels gentler then running on pavement. Plus, the time away from family cost for me means most of my running has been at work. Microsoft organically grew starting the 90’s and officially committed in the 00’s to large network of fitness trails around the Redmond campus – see image to left of the trail map. I borrowed the map from the fitness trail website internally. Debated posting it because I couldn’t find it online anywhere, but it’s posted in a number of locations on the trail so it’s public domain.
The Trails are awesome company and community perk. Lights every 20-30 feet so you can run at night, and Emergency call boxes with cameras tied into Microsoft security every few hundred feet, to feel safe. They are well-marked and well maintained. The gravel is held in place with a steel band in the earth, and I’ve seen crews cleaning up limbs after storms. The wooden walk ways over swap parts are even light up with rope lights at night. I’ve run at 9 o’clock at night on no moon nights without issue. With far less traffic on the trails night runs are actually pleasant.
With a great gravel trail I can run on in any weather condition, a wife who supports me and encourages me to leave a bit early for work to have time to run, a wife who helps me fill out my kit and washes my gear, and fun gadgets to track everything; I’ve got no excuses at all to not run other being a wimp or having too much shin splint pain. The Shin pain has moved from tendon to tendon and muscle to muscle as I keep on pushing through things and stretching and recovering. This week I made 4 days in a row of running with minimal pain.
Next week I’ll do the same thing with more distance. It’s great feeling to see and experience progress. It’s a better feeling hearing nice encouraging words and feeling support from Michelle. Thanks wifie for being so good to me.
The emergency call boxes and lights on the trail have been great push points for me. I started out and could only run to X red pedestal before I needed to walk and breath. The next week I committed to making it the next one and the next one before walking a bit. The trail head by my building is on the 2 and 3 mile loops. Short term goal for the month is to do the 2-mile loop without crying. I say without crying because I did the loop last week and cried my shins hurt so bad. Currently I’m going about .6 -.9 miles and turning back depending on pace and day and pain
I’ve always suffered from shin splints. I’ve used it as an excuse to not run or give up in the past. Right now in life It’s no longer an excuse; it’s a challenge to overcome. It’s not been a simple challenge to overcome but it’s one I’m strongly committed to overcoming. I’m down to about a 12-minute mile with less and less walking and less every time I run. Hope the pain keeps on fading.
Gear and Stuff
Another benefit Microsoft provides is what they call the stayfit benefit. Stayfit affords each employee who elects to use the program 800$ a year of reimbursement for fitness related things. So far this year I’ve used it to purchase long sleeve merino wool base layer shirts, long sleeve compression shirts, gloves with soft snot wiping patches on the fingers, and a new pair of runners. If I’m going to run, I need a uniform to run in. Michelle picked me up some nice bags to go inside of my Rush 72 5.11 backpack, for dirty runners, used clothing and shower bits.
Speaking of showers. Today was day four of running and I still hurt a bit, so I started off with a 30-minute walk accompanied by coworker, Sean, then ran for 20. After the run I went to shower in the locker room below the building 31 café. After 5 minutes of running all of the heads in the shower waiting for hot water I gave up. Put on a towel, got in my car and drove to another building with a locker room to shower. Cold water shows are not horrible, but this shower felt like oh my fuck why is this water not ice? How can it be this cold and not be frozen solid? The company provided towels are small; I’m sure the bits were visible getting in and out of the car; Hi security. Glad this happened on a weekend.
And now for a few pictures because I like pictures.
Band data for one of my runs last week – I like seeing highly improving, and I’m loving the data provided by the band for running. Favoring it over Fitbit for runs.
Looking super excited to go run in the rain in one of the compression shirts I bought – I like those things, but I think they are so tight and wick so well they might make me colder
It’s been a long time since I showered with another man in a locker room – It’s happened a few times now. I’ mostly over it.
Pictures taken on todays run with my narrative clip camera
One of the callout poles on the trail below building 36
LED light pole on the tail
Today – waiting for hot water – texting a co-worker a lunch order. Thanks Brandon for the greek meat salad.