Tuesday, August 28, 2012

40 days until Chicago.....

OK so last week was ...... I am not even sure what words to use to decscribe it....difficult, depressing, upsetting, painful, boring, LONG, frustrating..... I'm sure I can think of more, but if I think about it too much I will start crying.  After the painful end to my 20 miler I decided it might be best to back off and listen to my body and REST.  Something that IS NOT easy for me.  I made a commitment to myself and tried to think of the best long term plan to get me to Chicago and my other big races next year.  Unfortunately, the immediate reality that it hurt to run was forcing me to evaluate my training plan and adjust accordingly. 
I decided to rest for the entire week!  The last time I took 5 days off in a row was after Goofy, over 6 months ago.  OK, when I put it that way, I'm overdue for some rest, but I thought I was doing good this summer taking more rest days and running less.  I mean my weekly mileage is a lot lower than it was when I trained for Vermont and for Goofy.  But I also think this foot pain sort of started at the begining of the summer just after Vermont.  It's been slowly bubbling to the surface.  It's been that nagging inner voice saying "Hey Stupid, why don't you take a break?!?!"  10 marathons in 4 years is a LOT.
Last Tuesday, I went to my good friend Peri for some acupuncture to try and help my body repair the damage that has been done.  I have been icing and massaging and sleeping with the annoying special foot sling thing that holds my foot flexed.  I'm trying everything to help speed the recovery of this injury and praying that it is only a minor set back.  Peri did some cool microcurrent things and some needle treatments.  I felt optomistic as the week went on.

The hardest part of the whole week was not running.  I wanted to but I also wanted to let my foot heal.  Everything I read and everyone I talked to said the best thing for Plantar fasciitis is rest.  It's one overuse injury that you can run through and I felt ok during the two sprint triathlons after my 20 miler confirming that I COULD run if I really wanted to, but to give myself the best chance possible of having a good experience in Chicago I knew that rest was the better option.  So, I rested.

Friday I went to REI and got some more supportive casual shoes to wear to work to add to the healing supplies.  If I couldn't run, I would focus my effforts on finding everything I could to fix my foot fast to get me back to running.  I went to bed early Friday night, alarm set for early morning to attempt my long run and see how my efforts had gone so far.

I got up Saturday and go dressed.  My foot felt really good.  No pain at all stepping out of bed.  Maybe all the rest helped.  I left before the sun came up and started out for 18 miles with the knowledge that I could cut it short if I didn't feel good.  I was a little slow when I started out, but that’s normal. Takes me the first 3 miles of a long run to loosen up and find my pace. From mile 4-12 I felt great. I was averaging a good solid pace right on target for my marathon goal pace. Then I started to doubt the distance I set out to do (18 miles). I reached the fork in the road and decided to cut the run short to 16 miles, but the short cut was on horrible uneven sidewalks and THAT is when my foot started to hurt. I wonder if I had just stayed with my original route if it would have been better.

Once I decided to cut the run short I started to feel sluggish and I don’t know if it was because the sun was coming up and it was getting warm or if I was mentally defeated. I felt like gravity increased and it required more effort to lift my legs and turn my feet over. As it got more difficult and my foot started to hurt more I just felt more defeated. It was pretty awful. I just kept thinking what am I going to do, what did I do wrong, what could I have done differently, why now after 5 years of running and training all of the sudden this happens, maybe I need to change my diet again, maybe I need more iron and maybe I should be eating meat, maybe I should see a chiropractor to see if the car accident last year threw me out of balance…… a million questions and no good answers except “STOP RUNNING” and that thought makes me want to cry.
I got to about mile 14 and then I could barely walk.  My last two miles took over 20 minutes each.  I literally wanted to cry, not from the pain in my foot but from the pain in my heart from the thought of not being able to run.  Everything I've done in the past few years completely transforming myself and finding this new love, this passion for something I never thought I would love so much, possibly going away.  It's a crushing thought and I stay away from it.  Saturday was a VERY TOUGH RUN, physically and emotionally.  
It's not so much the thought of being injured that destroyed me.  From that little seed in my brain this horrible negative tumor of emotions grows - without running will I get fat again????  I don't ever want to go back to that person I was before and the idea terrifies me.  It's difficult to admit and really painful to talk about, but the structure of my training and eating healthy and maintaining my weight is a constant battle for me to avoid slipping back into that comfort zone of a sedentary lifestyle eating junk food and then falling into the deep depression that held me in that prison of fat for so long.
I WILL NOT GO BACK!  I am stronger than that!  I fought my way out of that darkness and refuse to be pulled back into it.  I know that this is a minor set back and it will not defeat me.  I will beat this and get better.  I will be strong and I will run Chicago surrounded by my friends and no matter what the clock says when I finish I will be triumphant knowing that I may not win the race, but I have won something much more important and valuable - health and happiness.  I will visualize it for the next 40 days and replay it in my brain over and over and I will make it happen. 

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