I am thrilled to report that this is the last post I will be making in the “Stress Fracture” category. I wish I could post and say that this was the best race I’ve ever had. I wish I could say that it felt effortless like most of the other (shorter-than-marathon distance) races I’ve run but my Mom taught not to lie. Continue reading
I did not run for 8 weeks. I took 8 more weeks to build my mileage up ever so slowly. For a little more than a week I have been an unrestricted runner. I make the calls now. I no longer have a recovery plan that I turn to for advice.
I’m left to wonder where my running ability is right now. I wasn’t able to do the sort of training I had in mind this past spring. I hope that I was able to maintain where I was at. I hope that I haven’t lost much speed. I ran a 13 mile long run last Sunday, the longest since May 1st! That run went well. I started slow and clunky but the second half was great. I was running smooth and fast. I felt like I could have easily done 16 but chose to be conservative and stop at 13. This coming Sunday is the day I prove to myself that I can still run and run well.
My goal is to finish in under 1:30. This might be a little ambitious but I’m not sure. Last year I ran the same race, in ideal weather, in 1:24:59. I was in great shape last year and do not expect to come close to that time this time. Just before my injury I ran a 1:27:30 (ish) on a different course. I feel like 1:30 should still be in my grasp.
For this race some Metallica lyrics shall serve as my inspiration: “You rise, you fall, you’re down then you rise again.” Not the most eloquent lyrics and they could be bent for nearly any life situation but I’m bending them to my running. It’s cheesy but I AM BACK.
This week I’ve run twice and it has been wonderful! Sure I’m only running 5 minutes at a time but my leg doesn’t ache when I’m done and it’s fine the next day too. Just 5 minutes of running feels amazing to me right now. Best of all I finally know that I’m nearly done with this ordeal. In the back of my mind I knew I’d get back to running in time but I had doubts. I had doubts about the time frame. Now I know that, unless I make major mistakes, I’ll be back to normal mileage in another 5-7 weeks.
I have bad news. I’m not ready to start running yet. Yesterday I watched the Musselman Half Iron Triathlon. It was the first half for two of my close friends. I ran a little bit as a spectator so I could catch them multiple times at transition and I also ran, briefly, with both of them at the ends of the race (bailing before the finish line of course). Even this tiny bit of running caused discomfort. I could feel it while I was running and I could feel it when I stopped. It felt exactly like it has every single time I’ve tried to run on it since the onset of the injury.
Today the site of the injury is sensitive to the touch again — but just barely. And it feels more sensitive along the bone than it does on the bone. Thus it is possible that what I’m feeling is just scar tissue breaking up. I’m not sure. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I guess I’ll probably wait another week before running on it again. I’m afraid that it won’t feel any different even then but that’s just my pessimism about this whole situation shining through. I know that stress fractures take 6-8 weeks before you can run on them. Even then they aren’t healed. And 6-8 weeks is generally the minimum time. I’m probably just not ready yet. It sucks but crying about it isn’t going to make it heal any faster.
The good news that I have to report is that my 60+ mile ride this weekend was pretty good! I rode alone from my home to the Musselman Half Iron Triathlon. The route was hilly but I still managed to average about 15.5.mph. For most any cyclist that is pretty slow but for me, for my bike, and for the route, it’s not half bad. Plus I wasn’t trying to go fast. At the beginning of the ride I avoided putting forth much effort because I didn’t want to suffer in the late miles. Mentally I treated it just like a long run.
Along the ride I met two guys from Holland that were biking from Boston to LA! Between those guys and all of the atheltes at the Half Iron I should have been motivated. Instead I felt sad that I wasn’t participating (neglect for a moment the fact that I can’t swim and I’m horrible on the bike and that I can’t currently run without pain).
Lately I have lost my motivation. I don’t feel like riding my bike. I don’t feel like learning to swim. I don’t even feel like trying to run even though I should be OK to start running again. I don’t care about breaking 3 hours in a marathon anymore. I don’t know where my motivation went or how/if I can get it back. I really don’t feel like doing much of anything at all.
Did the injury sap my motivation? Probably, at least to some extent. Maybe I’m just tired from poor sleep patterns lately.
According to my calendar and the way my leg feels I could start running any day I want. But…I don’t want to.
I’m not seeking sympathy. I’m not reaching out for help. I’m just documenting this so that later I can look back and see what was going on as opposed to believe my false and incomplete memories.
ps: The title of this post is dumb because it actually means “Why are you Motivation?”
I’ve logged 540 miles on the bike since May 23. That was exactly one week from the aborted long run that really was the day the injury set in (May 16th for the mathematically challenged). That makes today more than 6.5 weeks from the initial injury. Normally a stress fracture of this type would be OK to start running on by now — and mine might be. However two weeks into the injury (May 28th) I was instructed by my doctor to try a run. That was a horrible run that resulted in so much pain in one mile that it took me 20 minutes to limp home. To be a little conservative I’m giving myself extra resting time by considering that day to be the onset of the injury. It’s been 5 weeks since that day and I haven’t attempted to run at all.
In 1 week I will try to run again. If it doesn’t feel right I will take an additional week off.
I really have to hand it to runners that are able to stay positive through a stress fracture. I try to be positive but I’m failing at it. I’ve tried biking and it’s OK. It’s better than nothing. Swimming isn’t going terribly well. People assure me that it’s “going to click” anytime now but I can’t help but doubt that.
And what is it about humans and making things worse? I’ve been quite knowingly doing things that aren’t good for me but doing them anyhow. For example I haven’t been eating right. Eating comfort foods is a common way to deal with stress. I’ve been doing that. I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I’ve skipped some bike rides or cut them shorter than I should. I seem to be intentionally sabotaging myself. It’s easy to explain comfort foods — they give you pleasure. But the other behaviors don’t really give you pleasure or very little. Perhaps I’m trying to make matters worse so that I can hit “rock bottom?” The funny part is that none of this is serious! I’ll recover from my injury. I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. Missing running isn’t serious, not really, but it feels like it is. Maybe someone with a real problem can come by and smack me.