I don’t know if you’ve noticed, you 5 or 6 people who might read these blogs on a regular basis, but many of my blogs are inspired by where my life is at that particular point in time. It’s one of the advantages of not being sponsored and having to answer to anyone else for the content of this blog. But in defense of this method of topic selection, I find that when I’m feeling particularly passionate about something I tend to write a more interesting blog. But maybe that’s just me.
This time it’s about setbacks. I tend to look at things on a yearly basis. Last year was smooth sailing. Train, diet, run, lift. I felt healthy and fit. My clothes fit well, even my “tight” clothes. I didn’t have to worry about upcoming races. I just trained for them and did them. No P.R.s (personal records, for those non-runners in the crowd. Or P.B. personal best, in Europe) but I ran comfortably.
Well not 2019. No sir.
Small, nagging injury after small nagging injury. The latest has been a foot injury which, after my first treatment plan (ignoring it) failed, required a minor procedure. Got that done, let that heal up , at least enough ( in my opinion) . Ran Sunday. 4 miles. Great! Felt the foot, but not really an issue. I’ve got a race coming up, about 8 weeks out, so here we go. We’ll start at 4, ramp it up, . Be in a good place come race time.
Went out yesterday for my noontime “lunch run” 4 miles. Flat. I’ll take it easy, start & finish. Have that positive experience, then add some miles over the weekend. Then, a half mile in I feel this tightness in my calf/shin area.
I’ve had shin splints before, but I haven’t been running. Why would that happen now? I’ll just ignore……
Again, this time unmistakable. If I keep running it’ll turn into a sharp pain. I’ll be done for at least 2 weeks.
Slowly jog / walk back.
Ever seen the episode of “Twilight Zone” with Burgess Merideth, who was quite possibly the best character actor America has ever produced. It was called “All the Time in the World”. Burgess was a bookworm with a shrewish wife who got locked in a safe during an atomic war. He comes out and everyone is gone. Just he and his books. In his glee he trips, dislodges his (thick) glasses and breaks them. In all the world just he and his precious books. And he can’t read. His last line is “It’s not fair” , which he repeats over and over.
That’s how I feel during my walk / jog back to the office.
I’ve been good. I’ve taken time off. I rehabbed. I did all the right things. And something TOTALLY unrelated pops up, just when I’m getting back in the groove.
It’s not fair.
I don’t feel healthy. I don’t feel fit. My tight clothes are freaking tight.
So, what now, cupcake?
We’ve talked about making hard choices before.
We’ve talked about “what do you want, and what are you willing to do to get there?”
We’ve talked about “the truth” before.
That’s what is next.
In “Pale Rider”, Clint Eastwood is explaining to the settlers how to defend their cabin which is about to be attacked. He says that if/when the attackers get into the cabin , “That’s when you gotta get mean.”
That’s what is going on now. I gotta get mean. I gotta make hard choices. I gotta get my head right.
You are not lazy and this won’t last forever
Taking a break because you are ill or injured is not lazy and it’s not something you should allow yourself to feel any guilt over whatsoever. You have to do what’s best for your health & body – and sometimes, rest is best. Get your mind right and don’t get down on yourself – tell yourself; this is what I need and I am going to do what I need to do to heal.
Do what you can
There’s almost always some kind of activity you can do that will benefit your situation. It’s important to not be “too cool” for easier training while you’re down and out. However light or easy it might feel compared to the training you’re used to, anything is better than nothing Do what you can, and be satisfied that you showed up. Also, look at stretching / yoga / pilates. In general, we tend to focus on running, lifting etc., and the endorphin rush that those activities can supply. Take this time to focus on these important aspects of fitness. Who knows, you might even find that you want to integrate them into your regular workout routine.
Prioritize your nutrition and hydration.
I don’t want to do this, but these are probably two of the most important aspects of fitness.. What we put into our bodies is going to directly affect the way we perform day-to-day functions. Take this time to tune into your diet and practice good nutrition habits. If you create a plan and stick to it, you will feel much better once you start increasing your training again.
Plan your work & work your plan
It’s unrealistic to believe that you will just jump right back into all activity after a serious injury. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make a game plan as to how you will go back into training. Write down how you will start incorporating increased activity, aka more mileage, more weight, longer duration, etc. Then., after you’ve made the plan …STICK TO IT!. I know, this is the hard part for me too. But don’t rush it– the last thing you want is to be back in the same position you started in.
The cool thing is ( and yes, there is ALWAYS a cool thing, if you look for it) that this is where many people find a reason to quit. After a couple of setbacks, they figure that “maybe it’s a sign” or “ I’m too old” or just plain “ I’m tired of trying”.
But you’re not.
Tough times go away. Tough people don’t.
OK, I’ve gotta go now. Off to the gym.
Chest & triceps, core, and the elliptical.
Day by F-M day.