I haven’t been very fair in this blogging process. As evidenced by the gaps in posting days, I’ve been pretty quiet lately with my posting. Admittedly, part of this has to do with a busy personal life right now, but the greater influence has been my unwillingness to talk about running when I’ve been unable to do so. I would like to say I could have offered a more complete perspective of my experience, both good and bad, so as to give a more honest insight into what this whole competitive running entails, but I continuously found myself uninspired, sulking and depressed. Writing in this state would not have been very fun for anyone to read, myself included. There really is too much moaning and whining in the blogosphere and although I’ve done a fair amount of contribution to this in the past, I’m trying to be more positive and constructive when I post. I want readers to feel inspired after reading my blog, or at least informed, at the worst amused. I just know, given my emotional state through the past 2 -3 months I would have only have given you all a lot of cryassing and whiny 1st world problems kind of drivel. That’s not what I want from running. I want to offer to you what running offers to me. Inspiration. Satisfaction. Excitement. So I was quiet for a spell.
But I’m writing you now eh? So that means something.
With fingers firmly and hopefully crossed, it means I’m standing solidly on square one of the path that leads to a fall marathon and, if all goes well, an attempt to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials.
More specifically, this means my injury has turned around and as of this week I’m back to consistent, dedicated and difficult training! WOOOOOOOOOOOO! Seriously. I mean that.
Things started to turn around a couple weeks ago when I got so fed up with riding my bike, on the trainer, on my porch, sweating, staring into a not so vast landscape of….my neighbor’s porch, going nowhere, that I just HAD to try running again. I knew I wasn’t “there” yet, but I just couldn’t tolerate missing morning runs, missing the amazing Spring/Summer weather, missing everything I love about running in this season, so I made an effort to add more runs to my biking. And things went decently. I would head to a grouping of grassy soccer fields blocks from my house and run them in circles. First for 30 minutes, then 45, then back to 30, then 45, all the while trying to gauge how my leg was handling the stresses. Everything was going pretty well and I kept doing some bike alternating, but then one day my leg got all messed up and I feared I had set myself back another few weeks. A few days later however, I was able to gently run again. I relayed this to my coach who excitedly informed me that if being able to run 4 days after my leg was “jacked”, then that is progress! Being the experienced optimist he is, I considered his words and realized he was right. When this happened in the past I was down for weeks, but this only took 3 or so days. That WAS progress!
So I continued taking it easy and more importantly concentrating on my strength workouts that Darrel Barnes of St. Vincent’s Sports Performance Center had given me and slowly, but surely, my leg got stronger and stronger. I was able to do the exercises with greater ease and I started including more reps each time. I could actually see my atrophied muscle getting bigger and each time I went out to run, this time on the side of our paved trail, the pain lessened and lessened. Everything was starting to work again!
Then it happened. Last week I went out for a run…a full 10 miles. Something I hadn’t done since early March, just before the race that put me out of commission. It wasn’t just that I had completed 10 miles though, it was HOW I completed it. There I am running along, my stride not comprised by tight muscles or pain, and all of a sudden it hits me…that running feeling. All of a sudden I was my old running self again, spitting the ground out behind me, passing every runner sharing the pavement with me and getting faster and faster later into the run. It was like a switch had been thrown and I was running as if I had never been injured in the first place. And that was that. I was absolutely, uncontrollably ecstatic.
From there on out I’ve been remaining consistent with my running plans, still being tentative about my situation in that I don’t relapse into another brief hiatus as my leg builds up again. I’m still doing a little bit of alternating between running and the bike, but man is it hard to be on the bike when I know I have the ability to run freely again, and this past Tuesday I even had my first workout (12 miles with 4 x 1 mile) since pre-injury. It wasn’t the greatest ego boost, but I was satisfied with not only how it went, but that I didn’t suffer any residual pain or repercussions from the effort, save a sore butt muscle or two.
It just feels SO GOOD. Like I had a limb reattached or something.
And just in time….at this point last year I had JUST made the decision to run a marathon and started the preliminary training that would lead to Chicago. Granted, I’m not as strong right now as I was last year at this point, but since I have such a solid base from last year, once I get rolling again and get back up to fitness, I have no doubts that I’ll respond well and surpass my abilities from a year ago. I just need to keep taking it slowly as we get to that point and measure my progress.
The plan now is to keep building fitness slowly, continue my strength program, continue my core program and see where I’m at as we approach Chicago. If I’m ready by Chicago, we run there, if not, we find a marathon about a month later and try then. Everything depends on how and how fast I return to fitness.
The good news is that I’m now there, standing back on square one and ready to move forward again. It’s been a loooong 3 months. And I have a number of people to thank who helped me through it, but I’ll get to that in another post. I’ve also learned a lot about injuries, recovery, the demands of running at this level, my emotional investment into this and so on, but again, we’ll save all that for another post.
Until then, here we go again.
It’s good to be back friends.