I’ll never learn.
I’ll never learn that minor painful sensations are quiet whispers, mercifully instructing me to back off for a day or two. I’ll never learn that 115 miles a week of running, no matter how good it feels, is a SIGNIFICANT amount of mileage, enough to cause SIGNIFICANT muscular damage if not managed appropriately. I’ll never learn that I can’t run through pain that increases day after day after day, just because I WANT it to go away.
Of course, I DO learn this….always too late.
We are officially 2 1/2 weeks out from Vermont and I’ve stopped running completely, because of my inability to learn from my past mistakes. Do yourself a favor, don’t listen to me. I’m driven more by obsession than grounded perception. I’ll run 115 miles a week because it sounds great. I’ll run on trails for 4 hours, back to back, despite a piercing leg pain at the trailhead because I’m convinced I’ll run it away.
Now it’s time to regroup. 2 1/2 weeks out is NOT where I want to be when my leg “condition” finally holds more sway than my apparently oxygen deprived brain. I’ve got a race to run…a long one…on lots of hills. So I’m backing off now, confident that I’ll be able to run strong on the 25th if I can turn this “condition” (that’s what we call debilitating pain that developed over time…not an “injury”) around by then.
I should have listened to the dead spot in my quad. Then I should have listened to the post-run groin pain. Then I should have listened to the sore foot. Then I should have listened to the tight ITB, then hip flexor, then etc. etc. etc. I should have listened to all that chattering bouncing around my right upper leg like it was its own Facebook group. But I didn’t.
I listened to my heart rate that remained strong as I plowed up hill after hill in Southern Indiana. I listened to the self-congratulation going on in my head after putting in back to back 4 hour runs on the hilly trails without fatigue. I listened to the beeps on my watch that rattled off progressively faster times on our 800 intervals during the Tuesday Night Speedwork sessions. I listened to the tired story in my head that talks of triumphant victory, that talks of ceaseless running and the need to work harder than my competition. I listened to all that stupidity and here I am. Where is that exactly?
2 1/2 weeks out and I’m listening to my body, that stopped whispering and started screaming, that made just normal walking problematic. I also listened to the calendar staring at me in the face. If I can’t turn this around soon, I’ll begin losing all that hard fought for fitness and struggle, moreso, through the 50 miles of hills on the 25th than I hoped for. So I’ve got a plan.
For the next 3 days I’m taking off. Not an ounce of running. Not an ounce of lifting. Just complete rest. Then, if my leg has started talking to me in quieter, more relaxed tones, I’m getting on the bike and continuing my cardio. I won’t let go of the ballooning I’ve filled in my lungs because I’m going to need that desperately, and then when my leg has repaired its flesh pushed beyond use, I’ll integrate basic running to keep my strength at manageable levels, while letting the rest of my body come back into equilibrium.
Then when the 25th rolls around I’ll be primed, rested and ready to unleash on the course.
That’s my plan anyways.
All the while my head will be to the rails, listening for any oncoming trains that might derail me from my course. My leg may be weak, but now my ears are much stronger.