This past weekend I did the Tough Mudder in Whistler. My last race prior to this was a Terry Fox run when I was in grade 6. When I started getting ready for this, a few months ago, I was concerned that my knees wouldn’t make it. I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t like running. A large part of that is that it used to really hurt my knees to run. So, just as I avoid poking myself in my eye with my finger in order to avoid stabbing pain to my eye, I avoided running. But the Tough Mudder was almost a half marathon distance, plus obstacles, so I needed to make running a major part of my training.
How do you practice running when running hurts?
I started by choosing my terrain. I knew that running on pavement, particularly on sidewalks, is the worst for painful shock impact. So, I chose to run mostly on a chip trail circuit.
I also started with a run/walk combo. I have a hard time allowing myself to slow down or stop, but I knew that if I pushed too hard, my knees would give out.
I tried to listen to my body. At the beginning, I paid attention to pain. But, I also discovered that certain kinds of pain would go away. They were not actually true pains, but more like discomforts. I could push through those, keep running, and be fine.
But, a couple of times I misread pain/discomfort and suffered afterward. As a result, I made sure to ice my knees following my runs, so as to take down the inflammation I was causing.
Since I knew that running was the most injurious, I did other forms of training that didn’t involve running, but would continue to build strength and endurance. Snowshoeing, climbing the Grouse Grind, and yoga were my choices.
I also made sure to get treatments. I had massage, chiro, and acupuncture. I did my own biopuncture in my knees, using a combo of Traumeel, Zeel, Lympdiaral, and procaine once a week to build up my knees and take down the inflammation. This was definitely a huge part of my healing and strengthening!
Most Tough Mudders I spoke with were worried about one obstacle or another–overcoming fears of heights, electrocution, water, etc. I was most worried about the running. At the beginning I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get past 5K of running. Because at the beginning my knees hurt at just 3-4K. I also had problems with anything downhill.
But, I love reading about the power of the mind. So, one day I did the snowshoe grind and decided to run down the mountain with the thought of strong knees that would carry me down with ease. Indeed they were strong that day and I suffered no pain. Unfortunately, not every training after that meant no pain. But some did, so that was encouraging.
It was those “some” moments that allowed me to believe that no knee pain would be possible.
Now, just 2 days after Tough Mudder, I’m happy to have happy knees. They didn’t hurt at all on event day. They didn’t hurt the day after. And they don’t hurt today. Well, except for the bruises.
So, if you have pain, perhaps there is a way around, to do the things that you strive to do.
I thought I’d write about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms), but no one can explain this better than geneticist David Suzuki.
Are GMOs safe?
We are told that GM (genetically modified) foods are safe, but it really is still to early to know, and a growing body of research has connected GM foods with both environmental damage and with health issues, like cancer, digestive problems, inflammation, and fertility problems. Most developed nations require GM foods to be labeled as such, and some even ban GM food production and import. Canada and the U.S. have taken neither of these actions.
A recent study followed pigs eating GM corn and soy feed and compared them against pigs eating an equivalent diet of non-GM feed. The uterus of pigs on the GM diet were 25% larger. Both male and female pigs on the GM feed were 2.6 times more likely to have severe inflammation of their stomachs. This study was done because:
Farmers have seen a reduced ability to conceive and higher rates of miscarriage in piggeries where sows have been fed on a GM diet, and a reduction in the number of piglets born if boars were used for conception rather than artificial insemination. There is also evidence of a higher rates of intestinal problems in pigs fed a GM diet, including inflammation of the stomach and small intestine, stomach ulcers, a thinning of intestinal walls and an increase in haemorrhagic bowel disease, where a pig can rapidly “bleed-out” from its bowel and die. ¹
How to Avoid GMOs
If you do want to avoid GMO foods, limit or avoid processed foods as most will contain GMO ingredients. Be aware that the most genetically engineered (GE) foods in Canada are corn, soya, canola, zucchini, and sugar beets. We also import GE papaya, squash, milk products, and cottonseed oil. Apples and potatoes are next in line for GE production.
Since GMO labeling is not mandatory in Canada, choosing certified organic foods is one way to avoid GMOs. You can also avoid buying from companies that use GM foods and/or are paying money to prevent our right to know (see below).
If you want to have a say in what policy decides about your food choices, there are many ways to do so.