A few brief thoughts on the subject of change…
Whether we like it or not, change is a constant. Some changes are within our control and are self-induced. And others? Well, they just seem to happen. No matter how change occurs, one thing is for certain: change is inevitable in all of our lives.
Being injured has brought about very necessary changes in my life. I’m learning the importance of cross-training and PATIENCE. (With myself, I am not very patient.) One very important lesson I’m learning is that time does very certainly heal all.
For the sake of change, I’ll stop here and keep this post brief!
Argghhhhh! I finally had to yell “uncle” and let my leg rest. Infuriating, frustrating, discouraging.
Wednesday I went out for an 8 mile run and when I reached the halfway point and turned to head home, I knew what I had to do: walk. That’s right, I had to walk home in shorts and a sleeveless shirt in 53 degree weather. It was either walk or do some serious damage to me leg. Walking seemed like a much wiser choice.
After that lousy experience I decided to listen to Tom’s wise advice and do some running in the pool. So, for the last 3 days, I’ve run in the deep end of my local YMCA’s pool instead of on land. While running for 1 hour 45 minutes in the pool is about as exciting as watching paint dry, it is an excellent workout, and it actually helps injured muscles heal more quickly.
Tomorrow I’ll venture outside for a refreshing run on land on a crisp fall day (Rochester’s high temp is only predicted to be 54 degrees), but I’ll run a maximum of 7 miles at a very easy pace. Tuesday I’ll run in the pool, Wednesday on land, etc. I must be smarter about my recovery, especially with my marathon only 13 days away.
Injuries occur in the best of runners. Take my advice: alternate between easy and hard runs. If everyday is a long, hard day you are guaranteed to get injured.
What a difference a week makes! One week ago I was agonizing over whether or not to run the Columbus Marathon. One week ago my leg hurt badly making it difficult to place all of my weight on it. One week ago I struggled to maintain an 8:40 pace while running an easy 5 mile run. But today? Today I feel hopeful, stronger, and nearly pain-free.
On Saturday, I ran 5.7 miles at a very easy pace, although my tight adductors made it very difficult to get a decent stride. Nonetheless, I felt okay when I finished and began to prepare my mind for Sunday’s long run. I woke up Sunday morning with a nervous stomach and I felt rather anxious about completing my run. You see, I decided Saturday that I needed to run at least 16 miles to regain my confidence in my ability to run long as the my last 20.6 mile run was September 29 – an eternity ago.
Typically, I crave long runs. In fact, I look forward to the peace that washes over me when I’m about 12 miles or so into my run. It’s difficult for me to put into words what happens to my mind and body, but I’ll try. When I’m running for an hour and a half or more I feel like I’m floating, not running. My senses become much more in tune with my surroundings, and the brilliant autumn colors become much more vibrant, the birds chirp much more sweetly, and the occasional bunny is much more cute than usual. Truly, running is my escape, my refuge.
However, Sunday I was trepidacious as I set out on my run. Still, I laced up my shoes, loaded my gu flask with 4 packs of GU, filled my water bottles, and headed out to the Canal for my run. The first 11 miles went by slowly but with little pain. I stopped to buy a bottle of Powerade and started out to finish my last 5 miles. To me, Powerade is the elixir of life – my magic potion that unlocks all of the energy and strength in my body. Wow! I felt great and I finished my last 5 miles at my goal pace. That night I cautiously practiced my Yoga for Athletes DVD and whispered a thank you for a good run.
Today, Tuesday, I ran 5 miles in 40:54 and felt better than I’ve felt in nearly 4 weeks. While my left leg is still tight, I’d say that I’m 75% recovered. I’m being very, very careful to take a lot of time to cool down and stretch. In fact, my cool was .75 miles.
As I finished my cool down, an old favorite song of mine played on my ipod. It goes like this,
“I do believe in you, and I know you believe in me. Oh yeah, oh yeah…Knowing that you would have wanted it this way, I do believe I’m feelin’ stronger everyday.” -Chicago
Again, I whispered a thank you and smiled.
Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind. -Paavo Nurmi
Running is in my blood – the adrenaline flows before the races, the love/hate of butterflies in your stomach. -Marcus O’Sullivan
If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. - Henry David Thoreau
Have a dream, make a plan, go for it. You’ll get there, I promise. -Zoe Koplowitz
True life is lived when tiny changes appear. -Leo Tolstoy
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
A friend is one before whom I may think aloud. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s elevating and humbling at the same time. Running along a beach at sunrise with no other footprints in the sand, you realize the vastness of creation, your own insignificant space in the plan, how tiny you really are, your own creatureliness and how much you owe to the supreme body, the God that brought all this beauty and harmony into being. -Sister Marion Irvine, 2:51 PR and 1984 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier
Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. -Lou Holtz
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you don’t have a friend who truly cares about you enough to help you examine a situation honestly and objectively, I’m sorry. Last night I spoke with a very kind, compassionate friend for a long while about my pending marathon in Columbus and he helped me see the light. He simply asked me how I thought I’d feel in the later miles of the race given my current condition. Immediately, I knew what I had to do: let go of Columbus.
That’s right; I’m not running the Columbus Marathon this Sunday as I had planned. Instead, I’m permitting my body to take some time to rest and heal. I strongly believe that I’m currently experiencing overtraining syndrome. The symptoms of overtraining include: increased fatigue, poor sleep patterns, decline in performance, lack of appetite, unexplained weight loss, change in heart rate (could be an elevated or a lowered heart rate), moodiness, and injury.
Instead of Columbus, I’ve set my sights on the Richmond Marathon in Richmond, Virginia on November 10, 4 weeks from this Sunday. If you get a chance, check out their website at www.richmondmarathon.com. This marathon is advertised as “The World’s Friendliest Marathon”, and wait ’til you see all of the free stuff they’re giving away! I’ve never been to Virginia, so I’m going to make it a mini-vacation for myself. My goal for Richmond is to get there healthy, happy, and enjoy every step of the race. Perhaps it’s time to let go of my dream of Boston, at least for this marathon.
I don’t mean to trivialize my feelings. If you’ve read my blog, you know how hard I worked and how much I dreamed about Columbus. This may sound silly, but I even visualized myself crossing the finish line in 3:48:02 (that was the time the clock read when I crossed the finish at the Rochester Marathon). To say that I agonized over this decision is an understatement. This is the first time that I’ve ever set a goal (running goal, that is) that I wasn’t able to achieve. Yes, I’ll admit that I’ve shed a few tears over Columbus and my foolish approach to my training. But in the end, I know I made the right choice.
Well, tomorrow is decision day regarding my participation in the Columbus Marathon this Sunday. To those of you who’ve never experienced an injury prior to a marathon, be thankful, very thankful. The months of grueling track workouts, hill repeats, 21 mile runs with the last 7 at marathon goal pace, tempo runs in 88 degree weather are poof! seemingly up in smoke.
I am happy to report that I went for a 4.4 mile run this afternoon and had very little pain; just the first several steps of my run were very slightly painful. Really, the pain was insignificant. On the downside, my legs felt fat and heavy and my mind tired. Now, if I rest completely, and I mean not even a mile of running, I think I could finish Sunday’s marathon. However, my goal for the past several months has been to qualify for Boston. So, do I go to Columbus just to run and not focus on qualifying? Or do I wait a few weeks and run a November marathon?
If you would kindly voice your opinion, I would be ever so grateful. Also, if you have any helpful website you’d like to suggest, I’d welcome your suggestions with open arms.
Thank you to my friends Tom, Amy, Bella, Mary, Kathy, and JP for checking in on me, even if it’s only periodically. Some of you have sent me emails daily inquiring about my physical and mental health. You’ll never know just how very much your compassion and concern for me has meant. It’s great to know I have friends!
In case you’re wondering, my total miles run to date = 1513.65. I guess that’s something to be proud of, anyway.
A very dear friend of mine (as well as a colleague and a fellow runner) stopped by my classroom to say hi Friday morning. Shortly after we said hello, he remarked on my lack of posts as of late. It’s true: I haven’t posted in a very long time. Instead, I’ve enjoyed reading my blogging friends have to say. Some of my favorites are run-a-bout.blogspot.com, runnerslounge.wordpress.com, and bellablogshack.blogspot.com. (Psst…I don’t know how to create links or I’d do that so that you, too, could enjoy these blogs with just the click of your mouse.) Oh, if you want to go to a great website where you can meet other runners with goals similar to yours, check out www.runnerslounge.com. It’s a great, new site developed just for a runner like you (that is, anyone!).
One word best characterizes any runs I’ve had lately – painful. My left inner thigh/groin is injured making even easy 5 mile runs a challenge. However, I’ve cut back on my running substantially and that, combined with my visits to my chiropractor, seem to be helping. I’m still hopeful that I’ll be pain-free by next Sunday for the Columbus Marathon.
Having run 6 previous marathons, I know that I must be pain-free or close to it to run the distance well and right now I have some pain. However, the body and mind are miraculous and, I believe, can heal very quickly. So, I’m focusing on strength and wellness. Hey, a lot can happen in a week!