I drifted off to sleep on the bus ride home imagining myself running through the crowds at the OKC Memorial Marathon. I looked strong and felt confident like I did at the Lone Star Conference so long ago. I must admit, it did help that I was listening to my iPod Shuffle full of “running tunes”. (I use quotations because I think I imagine myself running listening to this music more than I actually run with headphones…twice EVER.) I woke up before my stop and remembered I was still less than a month away from the marathon with an INJURY.
I followed my 20 mile long run last weekend with the usual–roll, stretch, shower, eat, nap. I had maintained an average pace of 8:30/mile with hills, which felt easy. The morning was foggy, which is lovely for running. I did an impromptu run on the hills northeast of town with the hope of running into the OKRunner group. This means that I had to change running surfaces quite a bit and that I didn’t have access to the electrolytes I set out at home. However, I was wearing the most supportive of all my shoes and knew where a water stop would be set up. The run was so wonderful that I thought about writing a blog post about it while I was out there. After my nap, however, I was no longer inspired to write because it hurt just to walk on my right foot. Some of my thoughts from the long run are below for your amusement though:
- ‘I can see why Stephen King wrote “The Mist”. Creepy.’
- ‘Wow. What was that noise? Are geese mating right now? That definitely sounds like geese. Wait. No…donkeys. Are donkeys mating?’
- ‘Nicole would find this funny. I miss running with Nicole. She’s like having a vehicle on cruise control running beside you. You can just feel Nicole’s energy. I seriously had the best running partner I could have possibly had in those first years of running.’
- ‘Please don’t chase me. Please don’t chase me. Please don’t chase me.’ (In response to dog barking off to the side on the country roads.)
- ‘Why is the bill of my hat so fuzzy? Running hats aren’t fuzzy.’ (Dusted it off.) ‘Oh! It’s water. You ARE running through fog, dummy.’
- (Looks at Garmin at turn around.) ‘You are still running in mid-8:00/mile pace. Do I hurt? Am I tired? No. Keep going.’
- ‘At this rate, you will finish 20 miles 10 minutes slower than it takes Camille to finish the marathon. I’ll take it.’
- ‘The sun looks weird through the fog. I think that’s how it looks during a desert sun rise–a big round ball, no rays. Kate would know. I miss Kate.’
- ‘This “natural running thing” gets easier and easier. So efficient.’
- (Mile 17.) ‘You’re tired. You can stop if you want. You’re cramping. Why am I cramping? Ugh. Oh…no electrolytes. Whoopsy.’
- ‘BRAWNDO–The Thirst Mutilator! It’s got electrolytes. It’s what plants crave!’
- ‘Why didn’t I train with a camel back like a friend suggested?’
- (See a race running by on campus.) ‘Yes! Races have Gatorade. And there goes Jan! She’s so fast. How does she just keep staying that fast. I hope I can run like her. I wonder if anyone else I know is at the race. I bet Jan is winning. Why are so many “fit looking” people walking? Run! Run! Don’t you know how fun it is? It’s way better than making kissy faces at yourself in the gym. Just do it!’
- ‘Man. Nike coined the best term. “Just do it!” Freakin’ genius.’
The rest of the day Saturday, I tried not to worry about the tight, pulling pain below my fibular head on my right foot. Sunday, after a swim, I went to the store. It really started hurting at that point and I was noticeably limping. Once I got home I was doing everything I could not to break down and maaaaaaybe I was a bit short with Husband. If you think it’s tough living with a chick, try living with an injured runner chick. Husband probably thinks I’m bipolar. He’s very understanding though.
Since accepting this injury (read: announcing it on a social networking site after crying in my living room while my dog licked my face and Husband held my foot), people have been so kind with their advice and encouragement.
Everyone, no matter what stage of the game, needs encouragement. Humans crave feedback. Maybe it’s a symptom of all the Gold Stars and Smiley Faces. We also don’t like feeling alone. I don’t want others to be injured, but I want to know that someone has been through it and come out healthy on the other side. I learned from some of my marathon finisher friends that with proper rest this too will pass. “The hay is in the barn.” I’ve gotten in some quality training and long runs in the past 4 months. Heck…the past 10 years! Another good friend reminded me that it’s better to get across the finish line at 40-50% of your potential speed than to not even get to the starting line. As an athlete, you really feel alone when you’re injured. Sometimes I feel like everyone else stays so healthy and I should give up as a runner that I will never be healthy. But then, your friends start letting you know that you’re not alone.
They’ve had this injury, that injury. They’ve sustained their running fitness by aqua jogging for a month before a marathon. They’ve cycled on a stress fracture for 3 weeks during marathon training. They’ve used acupuncture, ART, RICE, inserts, orthotics, minimal shoes, motion control shoes, massage, biofeedback, stim therapy, ice baths, strength training, barefoot running, foam rollers, sticks to treat plantaar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, IT band syndrome, tight periformis, hip flexor strain, stress fracture, medial tibial stress. It’s a constant learning process.
If we look at running or triathloning from a longevity point of view, we will see that our injuries collectively commandeer <5% of our active lives. Humans were meant to move. We were not made to sit at computers all day or travel EVERYWHERE by motor vehicle. It’s become a bit of a cliche at this point, but, baby, we were BORN TO RUN!