Thursday, July 15, 2010

Being "Okay With It"

If you've followed my running adventures recently, you know that I'm fighting a heel (and, now it seems, ankle) injury. I took the first three weeks of June completely off. I went through four weeks of physical therapy (and just got the bill...holy crap!) I'm still in the process of easing back into running. It's been a struggle, and I'm not just talking about the heel (which has its good days and bad days). Since I was running upwards of 50+ miles a week during my marathon buildup, I've continued to eat...and eat...and the same intake level as I was then. Consequently, I've put on some weight. Admittedly, I'm still underweight by non-runner standards, but I definitely notice it when I'm running. I ran my first race last weekend since a) the marathon and, b) the injury. While my wife scolds me for saying I'm not happy with my time, I still contend that it wasn't a reflection of what I SHOULD be able to run right now. Add to that a hot 8-miler that I ran yesterday, which was my longest post-injury run. The nine minute miles I was clicking off felt much harder than they should have, and my right hip & heel were barking at me a good bit of that run. My heart rate was high, too. Yes, I'm out of shape.

I spent seventeen months of my "running resurrection" basically injury-free. That doesn't necessarily mean that I was "due" for an injury, but I've never gone that long without one. It has set me back in more than one respect (as I mentioned above). The question is, how am I going to deal with it mentally? How am I going to handle NOT being able to put in the mileage and speedwork that I'd love to be currently running? How will I cope with the fact that I'll most likely be letting my Ragnar teammates down next weekend (in my mind, anyway) because I'm unable to bust out a good race pace right now?

I put a lot of pressure on myself...which is silly, frankly, since I'm a recreational runner. One that likes to compete...but definitely not a "contender" at races.

I've struggled with these thoughts the past couple of weeks. I've finally decided that this is just a down cycle in my running. I'm giving in to it, rather than fighting it. If I run slow, nobody is going to go hungry because of it. Nobody will lose sleep over it. Nobody will die of cancer because of it. It's a good opportunity to let my mind and body spin down and get ready to ramp back up later this year, when it's ready. I have a habit of forcing things - especially when it comes to running - so choosing this mindset is out of character for me. But I know it'll make the whole process more enjoyable and take a lot of self-imposed pressure off.

And if I get lucky and run a good race here and there, it'll be icing on the cake.

(Man, that was a serious post. I'll resist the urge to make a fart joke to lighten the mood.)


  1. man...i agree with you on so many levels. hang in there, sir...i'll try to do the same.

  2. Colin, not much I can add here really. Looks like you kinda figured it out. Bottom line is you are injured. It hasn't been THAT long. I freaking hate not being able to train the way I want to.

    You know, there is aqua jogging :-) I did "speed work" this morning and it was every bit as tiring as doing it on the track. Tomorrow is my "long slow run" - 1 3/4 hours running in the pool. Dude, it's super duper fun.

  3. Colin, I understand many of your thoughts - hang in there!

  4. Hey, Colin. I'm in this with you man. I've been struggling to rehab a strained hamstring and cross-training just isn't the same as running. I also have the same tendency for my right foot to splay out. Aqua-jogging has helped me work on some problem muscles and tendons and I'm just easing into running. Let's both stay positive. You have one big thing going for you that I envy - you are 15 years younger. Rehabbing seems to get harder with age. Hang in there!

  5. Hey, the random serious post is bound to happen to the best of us....just like running injuries.

    They always last longer than you think they will, they always take longer to heal than they should, and I too seem to always gain weight.

    Got a bike? I feel that REALLY helped me stay in shape when I was out for the count for 2 months w/ my sFx.