Friday, February 13, 2009

The Comeback Kid

I have not been posting much lately because of the injury, not because it has been mopey and dreary but because I have been so busy taking care of the injury that I have had little else on my radar. I am happy to report that I am up and running again. Slowly but surely I am working up my mileage, stopping immediately when any pain returns in any of my tendons in my ankle. And for 5 days I have had no pain on the run. The only day I had pain was my first day, Sunday when I ran a short 5 miler with Krissy.

Since Sunday, I have been getting really "loopy". That is, I am running only places where I know that should the pain start, I am no more than about a 1.5 mile walk back to the car or home. I have also been getting by butt kicked at Northwest Crossfit and continuing my PT exercises in order to develop more developed strength. I am also hammering on the stretching and have developed a good stretching routine from Wharton's Stretching Book. Getting injured heightens your vigilance about things like strength, flexibility and balance. It also reminds you of your own limits and making sure you are respecting your bodies limits. Routinely we endurance athletes push ourselves as close to the brink as possible without going over the edge and then backing off. It is the backoff part that is important. Even when you feel good, ultrarunning and long distance sports tax more than just your muscles. Our bodies are crazy complex systems and it is the moment you forget to holistically take care of yourself that things crop up. Backing off means taking rest days, easy days and listening to your body for cues you are not doing the right thing. For my two years in the ultrarunning scene, I have done really well to stay healthy by listening to my body. I don't force myself out when I feel like crap, I listen when my body cannot muster the energy to do a long run. I listen carefully and take diligent notes. I think that was the most surprising thing about this injury. I did make mistakes, like wearing older shoes (maybe 500 miles on the pair) and probably not getting enough rest after the Library Run, since I felt really good. I didn't let my ankle develop from a small problem to a big one. It pretty much happened in one day and I feel lucky that with the way it came on suddenly that it wasn't more serious or a tear or something. I guess this is just a lesson in listening even harder and erring on the side of caution.

I am excited to be back running that is for sure, but I also feel as if a little of the pressure I had built up over my plans for the year was released. I have come back to running just focused on the running, instead of the races that I may or may not run or which side of the fence I should sit on (ultra or marathon). I am running like a kid again, just giddy and free and I love that feeling. I am not unleashing myself into a hammering schedule and have resolved instead to slide on into Napa Valley Marathon and Way Too Cool on the great training pre-injury I did. That is not to say I'm not running, but I am not trying to make up for lost time either. That would be a one way ticket back to the disabled list, no thank you!

All I want right now is to continue to get better and then run healthy and strong for many, many good years. The other stuff doesn't even matter (running related that is!).

3 comments:

  1. Being as young as you are, listening to your body is key to being competitive when you're 55 or 60. I feel lucky to have picked up so much endurance as I already have, but being in my mid-twenties as well means that I have many more years to 'theoretically' destroy & run my body in the ground. Always buy new shoes at 500 miles too!

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  2. Ben, I definitely know better about the shoes. In fact I had about 5 brand new pairs sitting in my closet....sometimes we just act really really dumb. lol.

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  3. What going to be on your schedule this year?

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