The body speaks

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.

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8 responses to “The body speaks

  1. Bag the VT ultra and allow your body to fully recover. Otherwise you may be out for a LONG time.

    • Nah, I’ve got time to recover and am not concerned about long term injury. Just today I can already feel a difference in leg pain/strength. I predict I’ll be ready to continue run training by this weekend….but I’m taking it day by day.

  2. I hope you won’t be too hard on yourself for letting it get that far – it’s so difficult to know the difference between a trivial niggle and a serious one. I really hope you’ll be fit for the Vermont 50, I’ve been looking forward to your result!

    • Christopher…thanks for the concern, but I’m dealing with this “setback” with a lot of hope and positivity. It’s only been 2 full days off and my leg is already feeling better. I’ll be back at it soon and tuning up for VT. I hope to provide a good race report!

  3. We all do foolish things. I’m training for a marathon on the same day as your race, went out and bought new shoes on the weekend (even switched brands), then did a 2 hour run. Could feel a bit stiff and my knees were aching a bit, but I thought, oh well it’s natural, just my body telling me “oh, that’s a new pair of shoes, makes it all feel a bit different”.

    Then yesterday, all of a sudden while mainly sitting at my desk working, I could feel a shin splint type pain coming on, which just got progressively worse throughout the day, to the extent that it was painful to walk. I still went out for a run in the evening but packed it in after about 100 metres! A bit better today, but still painful. So I’m trying to take it easy too, but know I still got training to do before the race – all very frustrating! Still, my main aim is simply to get through the race (ok, and under 4h this time), so better I rest now than conk out with pain in two weeks while out there.

    • It’s a fine line between pushing the envelope and pushing yourself over the edge. It happens, but it’s never something we can’t come back from. Don’t worry, with the right rest and maintenance, we’ll both be ready for the race!

  4. Ummmmmm…the VT50 is our ANNIVERSARY TRIP! ;o) I suppose if he can’t run he can always cheer me on while I ride! (That should suffice as enough motivation to get better…Scott…on the sidelines cheering…HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) ;o)

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