Not…Running Brookfield…So Much

Let this be a lesson to me: Run to the pain, then stop.

A couple of months ago, I was proud that I managed to run a full mile without having to stop for oxygen. As I’ve increased my distances, I’ve tried to remind myself not to push it, not to try to get a body that’s been relatively idle to go too far. But I’ve also discovered that feeling runners get when they “find their pace”. Not wanting to stop. Having the desire and energy to run through a mileage goal. Knowing the difference between pain and injury. Turns out, I may not know that last part so well.

Last Monday, at about the 4-mile mark of a run in Brookfield (the 4-mile mark? I can go further than 4 miles?), I started to feel tightness in my right calf. I stopped, stretched it out, and started running again. And it felt fine. But the pain returned, and I shut it down. I walked for about 3/4 of a mile, but I got impatient and bored, and ran the last mile or so home. I mean, come on. Walking takes a lot longer than running, I think because it’s slower. And despite the discomfort, I pushed. Way too hard.

It’s been a week and a half now. I just got back from a trial run, and a 1/4 of a mile in I knew I wasn’t ready. Not only did I hurt myself more that I thought, but I overestimated my recovery time. Maybe what those sobbing retiring athletes say is true: the older we get, the more time that takes. The more patience, the more preparation, the more attention to the physiological “signs” our bodies are sending. Especially for someone like me who is brand new to this type of strenuous activity.

So the wait will continue. More stretching is a given; maybe more heat/ice treatment is in order as well. I’ll wait a few more days and see how it goes. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I’ve started to new blog to track my quest to run every street in Brookfield,IL. Just check out for updates. It’d be cool to get others to start running their towns too. Hopefully, I’ll be adding new streets soon.


Running Brookfield

Running Brookfield
Don’t be afraid. I don’t need volunteers to post fliers. I won’t be soliciting your campaign contributions. Shoot, I don’t even need your vote. I don’t want to be the Mayor of Brookfield. I want to run Brookfield. Every block of every street, lane, avenue and boulevard. Why? Come one, you know why. Because it’s there.

The idea occurred to me during my nearly-5-miler yesterday. It also occurred to me to be glad I live in a relatively small town. I wouldn’t want to try this in, say, the 5 Boroughs. But even this little village will present some difficulties.

For starters, this would be much easier if I lived in the center of town. No such luck. I am in the far southeast corner of Brookfield. My home is about 2 3/4 miles from the furthest point north. I would prefer to run the town from my own apartment, not drive to a neighborhood and then run all the streets. But since I’m not centrally located, that will be tough to do. But for now, my goal is to leave the car at home.

I’m still new to running. I don’t do 10-15 miles at a time. Right now I’m happy with 4, thrilled with 5. Running the 2.75 mi to that furthest neighborhood, running a few of its streets, and then covering the 2.75 back home is daunting, to say the least. I think my best strategy might be to get the nearby streets first, and as I build endurance, hit those far away places. I’ll waste an awful lot of energy on my own street (Custer Ave) each time I return home, but that’s unavoidable.

Ultimately, the goal here is fitness. I won’t be wasting gas, paying tolls, or putting wear and tear on my car, so nitpicking about double coverage is not a bad thing. Sure, I’d like to be efficient with my planning, but extra miles mean fewer pounds, stronger legs, and more lung capacity, right?

Can I conquer running Brookfield? Do I really have the determination to keep running, even when the weather starts to turn? I hope so. The further I’m able to run, the more time I need to devote to it. And that’s a concern for someone who isn’t used to setting aside an hour or two for exercise on a near-daily basis. I hope I can stay healthy too. Hopefully sore knees and ankles won’t become a factor; the new Nikes are taking care of that just fine.

I wonder if people will start to recognize me when they see me on their streets. I wonder if the citizens of Brookfield will stream out of their houses and run behind me, Forrest Gump style. I wonder if I might be over-thinking this whole idea. Maybe I should just shut up and start running.