Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rolling with the punches

Just over a week ago I was out on a long run with my group, putting along and hoping that my legs were going to cooperate for the 10 or so miles I had planned. Silly me. Here comes mile 4, with its sharp and sudden pain. It wasn't in the usual spot on my calf, rather it was just below it and went down the inside of my leg to my ankle. My MD degree makes me think it was my soleus. It was enough that I came up short and limped along for a bit before slowly easing back into a manageable pace. I made it to the water station at mile 6 and decided to keep going, mostly out of sheer stupidity.

I made it back to home base, and then to the apartment, where I applied ice and lay down. I should have stopped my run sooner, considering I spent the rest of the day hobbling. I couldn't even walk down stairs without considerable pain.  I rested and iced for the next few days and the pain really abated. By Tuesday I thought a short test run was in order, as all regular activities were now pain free. I made it halfway up the block before the pain started coming back. This time I decided to bag it and just go home. It wasn't worth it. Clearly something isn't right.  Normally I would call my trusty chiro and take it from there.

Unfortunately, my transition back to graduate school means that I am currently without health insurance. Until further notice.  I don't have the funds to pay for the consult fee, and I've called around to a few other places to get similar quotes. In the meantime, I've had to make some hard decisions around my racing schedule. In the short term, I backed out of the VHTRC Women's Half Marathon that is in two weeks. I got my money back, but I'm still pretty disappointed. I had a great time last year and was looking forward to beating my time.

Next up is Ragnar, which I am still committed to doing. It isn't as simple as backing out of a race because 11 other people are depending on me to show up. Finding a replacement this late in the game would not be easy. I have one of the easier assignments on the race course, so I am not that worried. I just hope that my combination of rest, prayer, yoga, and junk food will heal my leg in time. I'm ignoring the MCM 10k in October for the moment, which means the big kahuna is next on the chopping block. Richmond.

Hotels are booked. Race fees are paid. More than anything else, my pride is what is keeping me from officially withdrawing. My longest successful run is 12 miles. I've missed several long runs in the last month due to injury and vacation, most recently an 18 miler this past weekend. At one point I was going to modify the long run schedule so that I'd be doing less now but eventually catching up with my group by late October. That was before the calf strain, which as of Saturday will have cost me two more weeks.

I have three options at this point. I can withdraw completely, lose $55 or so spent on the race fee, and mope indefinitely. I can drop to the 1/2, which will cost me an additional $35 in transfer fees and is a bit of a gamble considering the mileage I've covered thus far in the season. Lastly, I can drop to the 8k, which will cost me $10 and all my pride. 8k? Really? I think I might rather spectate, honestly. This marathon has been planned for 10 months, I'm travelling with a bunch of badass runners to do it, and dropping to the 8k just reeks of failure.

Sure, I can look on the bright side and just try to be the best little 8k-er there ever was. That just isn't my style at the moment. I don't need to make this decision today, but it does need to be made soon. This "woe is me" attitude sucks and I need to change it. I'm tired of being pissed off but I'm also tired of a body that continues to betray me. Are there other options I'm not considering at the moment? I tend to have blinders on when I get this worked up.

I'm hoping to have health insurance again soon, and when I do my first stop will be to one of the many professionals that have been recommended to me in the last two weeks. If I can get my work and school schedules to coordinate, I also plan to do another test run in the next few days. I can't help it. All this inactivity has me climbing the walls. My bike is set up in the living room but I haven't been able to get myself on it yet. I'm incorporating yoga for the moment, just to feel like I can still move my body and sweat. Not to mention the mental benefits I get out of it. I just......I'm a runner, dammit. I want to run. It shouldn't be this complicated.

So, that is the state of things here. I'm leaning on friends right now to give advice and perk me up. It isn't the end of the world. I just got really lucky last year with the way my training and racing went for MCM. I was foolish to think it would go as well the second time around.  Alright, vent over. Must...end...pity party. Aside from telling me to suck it up and get my head out of my ass, I'd really appreciate some practical advice as to what my next steps should be. I always feel better once I have a plan in place. Control freak, much? 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vacation and Motivation

Back from the Bahamas!  :)

Ok, so I've been back over a week now and am just now updating. Sue me. I had an amazing time on vacation. Mom and I got along really well and I'm so glad I had her company for the trip. Three days at the yoga ashram at Paradise Island to rebalance and recenter, then another three days in Nassau. Despite having permission from my chiro to do light running (barefoot only, on the beach), I chose not to. The yoga classes and all the walking/swimming/snorkeling we did was more than enough movement for me.  I really just wanted to let my legs calm down.

I have a laundry list of corrective exercises to do but I can't say as I'm doing a good job remembering. I was the same way when I went through physical therapy for my hamstring. Makes for a waste of time and money when I don't follow through on the things that will keep me healthy and make me a better runner. I was supposed to go back to the chiro this week for follow up and clearance to run, but when I arrived home from vacation I found out that my insurance was cancelled. Awesome. I called to cancel my future appts and spoke with my chiro for a few minutes to get his advice on what I should do next.

He gave me the go ahead to try and run, seeing as I'm not experiencing any pain. He also reminded me that I need to keep up with the exercises, as those are what will, in theory, solve my problem and prevent future issues. I admit that I cheated and ran once over the past weekend, but I'd already committed to running this virtual race in memory of murdered runner Sarah Hart and didn't think I had a good enough reason not to participate. It was an incredibly slow 4 miles with D, but I finished and felt nothing beyond the normal discomfort from not running in a while.

Once I was officially good to go, I decided to join the PR Thursday night run. I was there working anyways, and we're allowed to participate in the runs, so I gave it a shot. The route was 5.2 miles and the group going was mostly male and mostly fast. I had a feeling I'd be on my own and bringing up the rear, but I didn't want that to discourage me. I'm tired of giving myself reasons not to run. An added bonus was being given the opportunity to test drive shoes from Adidas.  The rep was at the store for the night and all the run participants had the chance to run in a selection of their product line.

I chose the Aegis, mostly because it was the prettiest. I can't lie. The model we carry in the store is a different color and pretty bland, so rocking the hot pink version was cool.  It isn't the shoe for me, but it was fun to test it out. The run itself was fine as far as the course went, nothing I haven't trained on before. The familiarity definitely helped me keep going, as I was tired early on but wanted to keep going.  I finished second to last, but I finished and I'm glad I made myself go. I am surprisingly sore today and that makes me even more nervous about my long run tomorrow.

The last long run I finished was 12 miles, the day of my double. The long run the week after that was a 16 miler, of which I completed one mile before I had to stop because of pain. The next weekend was vacation and the Saturday after that was the short virtual run. In other words, it has been a while since I've gone long and I'm not sure how best to approach it. Slowly, of course. But do I commit to the full 14? Nevermind that it includes the loop of Haines Point. The first time we did this run, I had to cut it short and do 10. I emailed Tuan for advice, and I'm expecting to be told to suck it up any second now.

So, that is where things are.  I'm having a really hard time being motivated to run and time is ticking by. The idea of dropping down to the half in Richmond has crossed my mind, but I'm waiting for advice from others before I make a final decision. I have a trail half in 4 weeks, and Ragnar 2 weeks after that, so I need to get back into a groove and fast. I'm just scared that it will be painful and that I'll be slower than I'm used to (which really discourages me), so instead of trying I just don't bother. I know it is the wrong way to approach the situation and that makes me more depressed, and I cycle on from there.

If you made it this far, thanks. This training cycle is so different from MCM last year. Not that it was easy, but I feel like I sailed through it in comparison to what it feels like this time around. Has anyone had a similar experience? I need a swift kick in the butt and some really good luck. Send any good vibes you can spare my way, and I'll let you know how tomorrow pans out.