Up and Running

Wow, has this been a journey!

While I was completely expecting to go through ups and downs as I recovered from my foot injury, I wasn’t expecting it to be that tough and to learn as much as I have.

Six years ago, when I tore my hamstring doing a set of one mile repeats at 6 minute pace, 10 days out from the LA marathon, the recovery process was far different, both emotionally and physically.

For one thing, I had a pity party which lasted a good two weeks.   Then, once I was over that, I was chomping at the bit to get running as soon as I could.

Granted, I didn’t act on it as quickly as I wanted to, and while I had a slightly less than typical run at my first race back in the game, I came back stronger and later that year, achieved a PR in both my marathon as well as my ironman time.

But then, guess what I did?

I got run greedy, as my coach used to say.

I raced Ironman World Championships, then three weeks later, the NYC marathon and then three weeks later, CIM.

Guess what happened in January?    My calf ‘suddenly’ felt a bit tweaky and I had to take a short period of time off running.

Fortunately, it wasn’t anything serious, but the point is, at some point, perhaps I should have been asking myself how much is too much and why the heck wasn’t I listening to my body a bit more?

It’s funny, in some ways, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite; I’m always suggesting others listen to their body in terms of what they should be eating and that’s something I adhere to 100%, yet there I was just anxious to get back to my sport.

Anxious being the key word.

One of the main reasons I got into triathlon in the first place was my tendency to be anxious.

Arguably a healthier vice (?) than drinking heavily or overeating, but still, there comes a point which other means of addressing any issue any of us may have needs to be dealt with rather than running from.

Acknowledging this then acting on it has been one of the most trying things I’ve ever done.  Not that I’ve mastered it by a long shot, but by adding mediation, visualization and acceptance, first and foremost has helped tremendously.

Since the LA Marathon which I missed this year, I’ve gone through denial, false acceptance (as in – ok I have a boot on my foot but I’ll still go all day long being busy as normal ), complete acceptance ( as in – I actually need to be sitting down with my foot up and resting – gasp), freak out (the ‘what ifs’) and then finally, a shift in mindset to being peaceful and calm, and gradually seeing my body begin to heal.

I knew this was all happening as it was happening but it wasn’t until I went out with my dogs for the first time to the beach last Friday that I realized how fundamental of a change had transpired.

The amount of gratitude I felt at just being able to take my precious kids to the beach as the sun rose, to walk barefoot in the low tide and feel the healing waters splash on my feet and to simply be there was a gift that cannot be accurately illustrated in words.

That morning was supposed to be my first test run, and I thought about it, but in all honesty, I didn’t feel like it.   I just wanted to be there enjoying the moment and walking along slowly in gratitude.

I decided to do my test run the next day instead after masters swim.

I walked one mile in the grass inside the track, then ran 50 meters.  Writing that I ran those miles gingerly is putting it mildly.

I walked a lap, then ran 200 meters.   Then again, but 400 meters.

I felt creaky, tweaky and odd… but nothing hurt.

I wrapped it up, stretched and called it a day and silently gave thanks that I was able to run again.

I’m ramping back up slowly without a fear of having lost fitness or worry about missing what now seems like just a little run.

The tough part now is to keep the worrying part of my mind at bay and balance it out with what I’ve learned about trust, faith and being present.

Knowing when to stop because something is actually wrong versus letting any little twinge create a false need to terminate a workout is something I pride myself in being able to do.

I know my body well- too well, perhaps, to make something like building up my run too quickly a non issue.

Strong and steady, slowly but surely, I’m on the mend, but further ahead in the mental game after allowing myself to really be present with what was, and what is going on.