"I don't like to run" I told somebody recently. "I just don't think it is what I'm good at". I found myself just trying to get through with the runs so I could relax. I was getting grumpy on the trails. I was tired, winded, in pain, and what was worse, I had a bad attitude. Whenever we forget to be grateful, we get the gift of a gentle (or sometimes not so gentle) reminder.
After our 20-mile run, I was having pretty severe pain in my groin. I have become used to experiencing pain after long runs, so I didn't think much of it. Brian and I went for our 5 mile run on Monday and that pain was there again. This time, it wasn't submitting to my will. Instead of getting better after I warmed up, it got worse. I had to stop at 3 miles. I wasn't really worried, I knew I had just run 20 miles. I waited as Brian completed his 5 miles and we went home to ice packs and election coverage.
I stayed home and rested Wednesday night and Brian went to meet the team for a short 5 mile run. I had to finish a paper for school anyway. I neglected my stretching and supplements for most of the week. "I'm fine," I thought. We are in our taper phase. In the taper phase, you decrease mileage to let your body rest for the big day.
By Saturday (two weekends ago), I felt ready to run again. We headed to the park for a mere 8 mile run. This seemed like nothing compared to what we had just accomplished. Tina, my running buddy, found me and we ran together. She is at the same pace as I am, so we have bonded. She was kicking my butt, though! I felt so tired. Again, I was just trying to 'get through it'. My groin was full of complaints, but I ran through it as I have done with other pains. At about mile 7, Tina started feeling severe pain in her knee. She tried to run through it, but I suggested that we take it easy and walk it in. With the marathon this close, I didn't want her to take any chances. Inside, I was grateful for the walking. I was in pain too. We took that time to have conversation that is usually impossible when we are huffing and puffing during the run. It was a nice change of pace. I started to remember what I liked about training in the first place.
Brian and I headed to North Hollywood park for our usual Monday night run. This time, I could only run 1 mile. I was feeling a good amount of pain. We agreed that I shouldn't push it, so he did another mile and we walked for a bit. I kept the ice routine and thanks to my lovely friends, Brendan and Aarti, I have a rice bag (you heat it up and apply it to sore areas to help them heal). Ice and heat and ... worry.
I called Jeff Waldberg on Tuesday to ask about my groin. He believes it's a muscle issue. He suggested I...ride the bike. Wednesday, Brian was off to meet the team and I layed on the couch in a puddle of self pity. There are two kinds of pain when dealing with a sports injury; the pain of the injury, and the pain of the depression that sets in because your body can't do what you want it to. Did I ride the bike on Wednesday? Nope. I sat and wallowed.
Saturday, the team was running 6 miles. Brian was up at 5:30 to head to the park. I told him I was going to get up at the same time to go to the gym, but I slept until 9:30. It took everything I had to get myself to the gym and on that bike. I sat there with a scowl, pedaling. I was so angry at being back where I started.
Tuesday night, the team met at California Pizza Kitchen to have a send off dinner. We got there late (the debate was on). When we arrived, I saw a girl with crutches. I looked closer and realized it was Tina. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. "I have a stress fracture at the top of my femur bone," she said. That is a pretty major injury. This is what caused the pain in her knee. The femur is the largest bone in the body, and if you remember from one of my older blogs, I broke mine too a long time ago. This really struck a chord with me. I was face to face with my own demons. All the fear I felt at the beginning of training because of my previous femur injury came rushing back. My heart really went out to Tina. She has been training for five months! Now she can't run the marathon with us. I hope she runs again once she has recovered. She has been such an amazing running buddy.
What a lesson.
This week has been a battle for me but one good thing has come out of it. My appreciation for running has returned. I am still healing, but I feel better every day. I am taking my supplements, applying ice and heat and changing my attitude (which is the hardest part). I do like running. It is hard and painful, but that is part of what makes it great! I feel like one tough chick.
The marathon is 9 days away. I am so grateful for this renewed vision of my quest. I can't believe it is almost here!
Such an incredible journey.