Friday, December 3, 2010

Not So Fast...

When I started this blog, I wrote that I would be posting small victories as well as setbacks.  Consider this a post about setbacks.  I posted on Sunday that I was running again.  And I am.  But I don't really think I should be, or at least not go about it the way I have been.  I have had some good, short runs on the treadmill this week and those were not problematic.  Yesterday I wasn't going to be able to make it to the gym, but I really needed a good workout, so I made the decision to run.  I decided to do the four mile loop I'd done on Sunday.  Yes, the flat one.  I decided to just go out with no plans and just see how it felt.  Well it felt great!  After a little warm-up, of course I couldn't resist.  I picked it up and went faster!  Faster than what I should have been doing.  I should have slowed down.  I probably should have walked as the familiar feel of yes, pain, crept into my left lower leg.  Now I was angry.  Dammit, I am GOING to do this run and I am GOING to do it well because the rest of me feels so good and strong and I am not going backwards.  I had the sweet taste of running again and I didn't want to stop.  I glanced down at my Garmin at mile 3.  Yes, I was flying (it's all relative.  To an elite runner, this would be slow jog pace).  For me, to be running the pace I was while NOT racing or NOT doing a tempo, but rather "just a run" is great.  What would I be doing in a 5k?  I could go faster if I were racing.  I was thinking this to myself.  I felt like keeping up the pace... so I did, until I got home at 4.23 miles.  I stretched out my calves immediately, but the left one was PISSED!  It was whining, quite a bit, about the stunt I'd just pulled.  I finished stretching and headed to the freezer for ice.  I packed up the whole lower leg with ice and sat there.. thinking... for 20 minutes.  I thought about what a cruel irony it is that I am in the best running shape I've ever been in so far, despite the time off (You like that?  Yup, it indicates I'm always striving to get better) and I cannot perform the way I feel I am entitled to perform.  If I keep pulling this kind of nonsense on a very sensitive, fresh from injury body part, I'm going to pay in more ways than just this.  I know the logic, but I am struggling with the concept.  I'm like the alcoholic that has "just one beer".  I can't do "just one run".  I either have to stay away completely or be ready to go all out, which I'm not.  I have a very hard time with moderation when it comes to running.  More so now since I have not been running and I want to begin training for my spring marathon.

I have to do everything in my power to let good sense take over.  I have to ignore the fact that Saturday we are supposed to be hit with snow... which I LOVE to run in.  I need to go out cautiously, if I go out at all.  I need to pull in the reins and slow down, listen to my body, stop for pain and accept that it is because I have chosen to make this sport such a big part of my life, that I will inevitably find myself occasionally needing to take time off for injury.

This is a huge exercise in restraint for me.  I am digging for the mental muscle needed to complete this exercise successfully.

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