Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Achillies Heels

We've all had that one special day.  One where every step you ran, from the first to the last, was pure bliss. One that made you love everything about running.  One that made you believe you will run every single day until you die.

Too bad we don't always feel that way.  The fraction of life that DOESN'T involve running tends to throw innumerable wrenches into our best-laid plans.  I've traditionally held up well against many of said wrenches, but my kryptonite...my de-railer...has hit me head-on this past week.

Weather and terrain seem to be a major player in the excuse sweepstakes.  Luckily, I've felt impervious to mother nature.  Maybe it was my upbringing in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I ran 10 miles on this day, so getting through ones like this were no problem this winter.  (La Crosse also afforded me the opportunity to run on this day - my buddy and I even intentionally ran at 4PM to just to see if we could do it)  Mountains?  Altitude?  Whatever, just run slower.  Adjusting to altitude only sucks for a little bit.  Visiting my parents in Colorado during college meant dealing with that adjustment multiple times a year.  I couldn't afford to just quit training, so I just dealt with it.  Wind?  I remember this story from my high school coach upon overhearing a teammate of mine remark "the wind SUCKS!"  His response:  "No, Kelly.  The wind sucks for Edina."  In other words, the conditions are the same for everyone.  It's how you react to the conditions that matters - any bit of adversity can be an opportunity to separate yourself from your competitors.

The stress of work and the real world also seem to derail a good deal of people.  I get it.  Back when I made good money sitting in front of a computer all day long, I sometimes found myself struggling to get out the door.  I just didn't get excited about doing anything after work...I just wanted to go home and stare at a wall.  When I sucked up my pride and went into a profession for which I actually had a passion, I found that I could work twice as hard, give ten times the emotional energy, yet still be ready to rip off a hard hill run when it was all said and done.  I attribute this to the fact that teaching might take a toll on me unlike anything I ever experienced in the corporate world, yet whatever I get in return makes me feel alive!  That, in turn, gives me that extra motivation to run immediately after work.  More common than work doldrums are the personal and relationship stressors that people deal with.  I've had my share, trust me...but I've found that when I run, I relax.  I think things through.  I escape my demons.  Years ago, when I went through a divorce, running was the one thing I could count on.  Even when I'd torment myself for the other 23 hours of the day, I knew I would have a stretch of time where I would feel at peace.  Safe.  The stresses of life have always pushed me TO train harder.

I wish I could say that I'm invincible.  Tough as nails.  This brings me to this entry.  Here's the problem:  I see weakness in myself when presented with scenarios such as the one I'm in now.  My left hip has been bugging me for the past week or so.  At first I thought it was ITB, but now I'm beginning to think it may be Greater Trochanteric Bursitis?  (I'd never heard of it until today, when a PT friend of mine suggested I jfgi and find out)  Anyhoo, I took three days off last week (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) to see if it would go away...and it did seem to bother me less every day I stayed off it.  However, today I felt it throughout much of my run.  At this juncture, the pain does seem bearable - something I can run on for a few weeks if I had to...but the thought of having this nagging injury for the next five months is unfathomable.  When I'm dinged up, I lose all motivation to train.  Could I bike?  Swim?  Ice and stretch?  Absolutely.  Do I do everything I can to heal?  No.  I don't know why I struggle with this part.  I think, "eh, I'm a gimp, so why even bother doing anything about it?"  In the face of a potentially serious malady, I can't believe I could even think this way for an instant.  But...I do.  Henceforth, one of my goals shall be to "do better" with the little things like stretching and icing.

Thing is, how do you measure this?

6 miles, 800' to 1st tunnel with Haven this afternoon.  Hip bothered me throughout, and definitely more at the end than the beginning.  Going to try flat surfaces for the next two days.

Cale turns 6 tomorrow.  That thought in itself is big.


  1. Having to rehab partially torn muscles and other potentially serious knee injuries a few times over my running career I can attest to it taking the wind out of your sails. I’ve found that focusing on the stretches or rehab activity that has the most suckage for you and doing them enough to make them tolerable or easy worked for me as a way to achieve some amount of fulfillment from doing something that you would rather not. I would offer something more insightful, possibly even philosophical but I got nothing when it comes to sailing. I wish I hadn’t started out writing about sailing and stuck with something I know more about. So I will close with these suggestions: give Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers brewing out of Portland a try, also give a listen to John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours, and finally don’t hang trout on the walls of the urinal as it is a filthy nasty habit.

  2. So sorry your vagina is giving you issues. My advice would be to take off from now until May 6th. Just think of how well rested you'll be for CP.

    Saw JP and the Duskray Troubadours in the Springs a few weeks ago.

  3. Being a Spartan I used to hate those cake eaters.

  4. Spartan...Richfield, right? It's been a while...