Healing takes time.

Last year, while training for the LA Marathon, I set a personal record of 3 miles in under 27 minutes. On last Wednesday, I ran 3 miles in just 28 minutes, the fastest I’ve been able to do since August 2011. Between a sprained pelvis and SI joint, and the resulting hip pain and hamstring irritation, and a serious shoulder injury and sprained AC joint, getting back to running has not been easy. I’m finally starting to feel more like myself while running though, and I have a new focus and attention to myself while I run.

That said, running that fast the other day has wreaked some havoc on my left heel. It doesn’t help that the same day, I took my first ballet class in a year. So my feet are a little sore. It’s hard to say “I can’t run this morning,” but a smart runner and racer would know that they have a race in less than a week, and it’s better to be feeling good with no aches and pains for a race rather than feel like at this stage that any additional training gains will actually happen. Psychologically, I still need to run, and I will, but I’ll keep it light and easy and if it starts getting too uncomfortable, I’ll stop.

Committing to smart training is a big step for me because I come from a discipline and training that says “play through the pain, perform through the pain no matter the cost.” Now that I’m older, I know what the cost is: giving up future activity and future goals for a run today is not worth the pain of a run that I need for no other reason than to satisfy my irrational need to run and prepare for a race.

Yes, I feel undertrained for the half-marathon, but I think that’s my own insecurity, and this race is no more than a training activity. My goal is to finish it and to enjoy it.

So how do you train yourself to enjoy something? I mean, I enjoy running, but when I’m running an official event, I enjoy about the first 20 miles, and then the last 6 miles are pure and total hell. And then when it’s over, I’m in purgatory–in pain and not at all in the mindset to enjoy post-race parties and celebrations. So when I say I want to enjoy it, I mean I want to finish it feeling good and ready to celebrate my accomplishment with others. You’d think that would be easy. Trust me, it’s not.

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