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.