July 2, 2014

Not-So-Pretty Thoughts

This post will be a little off-the-cuff, so I apologize in advance if you stumbled over here looking for something light and cheery with a neat and tidy wrapping.

I'm feeling far from that today.

This morning I woke up and realized two things:
 #1 My foot hurt too much to apply pressure to walk normally. 
This was not the case yesterday. 
I kind of thought that I had brilliantly overcame another obstacle-- That I had babied my L foot enough to get over whatever happened to it last weekend ( which didn't start hurting until later in the day, several hours after running 17 miles and working at a race).

 #2 The 4th of July is FRIDAY and not Saturday. Don't ask me how I had the day of the week wrong, but I did. And, the combination of #1 and #2 means that I would need to register tomorrow to race on the 4th, but that does not seem prudent. :(

Here I am again.
Wondering how I am such a train wreck as a runner.


Last night my foot felt great. Everything felt great. I had a magical run down a logging road. It felt so great that at mile 4, I ran up a hill that climbed 600f in 4/10 mile, then ran another 5 miles. During my run, I realized I had not given God thanks for healing my foot and I thanked Him as I cheerfully made my way down the road, smiling, for letting me run without injury. 
Oh how quickly feelings change from gratitude to disappointment.

How can I have been so successful from 2010 to 2012, and just drop off a precipice at the end of all of it? 
Am I just a bio-mechanical failure? Or am I just that bad at training, that I just keep injuring myself? 

I try really hard to be careful with training paces. I rebuilt carefully from plantar fasciitis, and it's been almost a year since I started running again after that agonizing layoff. But, since I started training for a goal, something has tipped the scales. 

I thought I had a well-structured plan. Sometimes I would like a coach, but I don't know how well I would listen to one. Seems I would be paying mostly for encouragement and a leash.

I had a conversation with my husband today. It went something like this:
Him: "I know you probably want to go to the doctor for this." (feeling guilty we don't have insurance)
Me: " I don't want to go to the doctor. I just want to run like I used to without getting hurt. I want to run what I think is reasonable mileage and not get hurt." (bursting into tears)
Him: "Maybe you can't anymore."
We have had a lot of discussions about age and physical limitations recently. 

He's 40 and I will be soon. I love him, but this is not what I wanted to hear. I don't want to be past my prime. 
I want to be able to run, and run hard.
I want to do long runs and also do speed work.
I want to train for goal races. 

That's a lot of "I wants".

Maybe he's right, though. Sometimes the truth hurts. 


Nice evening view from 600ft above the creek

I want my old self back. It's easy to be grateful when everything is how you want it. It's so much harder when you want something you can't have.

So, it looks like I am going to take a few days off again. Or, I will at least reduce my miles for each run again. (Not because I just HAVE to run, but because I was doing that and my foot was getting better and I have a goal race sitting out there). Who knows about that 50k I have been aiming towards.

Those new Altra zero-drop shoes I have coming? They will look nice in the box a little longer, I guess.

45 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you are going thru this! My heart is sad for you. I only started running right before my 40th birthday (I'm 42), and I swear I feel like just the last 2 years I have slowed down tremendously! I have come to the realization that I will always be a 3-6 miler 3-5 times a week runner and it has taken me a while to be ok with that. At this point I feel like I am just grateful to be running! Feel better soon! Carri~A Running bee

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Carri. Its a gift to be able to run. I want to be grateful with just being able to do it, without racing or having goals. You are so right. I think it's a human condition to want what we can't have. That's a bigger battle for me, anyway, and not just in running.

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  2. Ugh, I'm so sorry Raina. I know those emotions well when an injury interrupts my plans! And it can come on so suddenly. This is a good reminder for me to be extra cautious as I ramp up post baby. For the long term, I don't see myself running high mileage- my body never seems to appreciate it. But when you're in the middle of a training plan, it's so exhilarating when you are! Hope you figure things out and heal very quickly.

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    1. Thanks Laura. Yes, cautiousness can be a good thing. Enjoy that new baby soon!

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  3. If I were your coach, I would tell you to just take a few days off running, ice the foot (three times a day), and think positive. Get to a pool and do some aqua jogging if you can. If you don't have access to a pool, a stationary bike or elliptical machine would help. Don't do anything that hurts the foot. A doctor isn't necessary in my opinion. Finding a good chiropractor or acupuncture practitioner that charges reasonable fees might be helpful. Not all of them charge an arm and a leg for treatment. Hang in there, Raina! I believe you can do it. Age is irrelevant. You just need to find the right balance of mileage and cross training that is best for you. We all have our limits and need to listen to our bodies. Doing more core work, strengthening those hips and glutes, or even incorporating yoga might be the key to your success. Don't lose heart and don't give up!

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    1. Thanks coach ;)
      I have a pool.. have youtube for yoga, and am resting today. Will do my myrtl and mock yoga and some chair dips before bed. Glad you believe in me!

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  4. I am so sorry to know about your condition Raina, I know through your posts how much you want to run hard and I am not sure what to tell you, but maybe it is time to seek for medical advice. I did it myself and I am slowly running again in a treadmill, very afraid of injuries, but so far making progress. All my best wishes dear Raina.

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    1. Thanks Benjamin! I am so happy to hear you are running again! That makes me smile. Progress is good!

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  5. Hi Raina. I will not provide any guidance because on here, on G+ and on FB you will get plenty of that. I will just wish you the best with recovery and with one thought... Running is not everything. It may seem it is, but it is not. I have not run in two months and guess what I am still alive and in some ways, better. Best of luck with everything and I hope what you do is right for you now and for the future. Take care and as always let me know if you need anything.

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    1. Thanks Fred. I thought of you tonight and took my boys to do something they have been asking to do for a while. You are so right. It is not everything. It can seem to be the MOST important thing sometimes, but it is not. Glad you feel you can speak honestly to me on here. Thanks for being a friend.

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    2. Great to hear! Have a great weekend!

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  6. Hey sweet girl...
    Oh gosh it's so hard to read this post of yours. You know first hand all the struggles I had with my foot and the endless doors I knocked during that time trying to find the solution (and I also didn't (and still don't) have insurance). Honestly, I would say to skip the doctor - they will only tell you to take time off and let it heal. They don't know how to fix the imbalances. I'd try to find a really good sports physical therapist who can do muscle imbalance testing and who can watch your gait to figure out how you're planting your foot I agree with John that strengthening those hips and glutes is going to drastically help....simple things done at home like side plank leg lifts and squats and lunges. Also, look deep into the belly of the calf and dig out those knots and really work that guy!

    It's so frustrating, I know. But don't give up and think that age has decided to stop you. I ran 50 miles last year after coming back from that foot fiasco...and I was 50!!!

    Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts and prayers that this will all turn around quick!!

    xo

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    1. Your story gives me hope, Jill. Don't think I have already forgotten about your numerous foot posts!!! Haha.. And yes, I can remember the triumph of your comeback. Digging at the calves daily now, and working on my glutes. Thanks :)

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  7. Not sure what to do say that won't be repeating of previous comments but my thoughts are with you. Jill has some good words here...don't give up Raina. I know it is frustrating...ugh! Especially with what joy you find in running and how much you excel at it. So not much to say other than tell you that I'm thinking of you and sending you many loving healing thoughts. For what it's worth. Big hug.

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    1. Thanks for the Big hug. I have been looking forward to it! Not giving up, just regrouping now. Already moving on.

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  8. hey Raina. very sorry to hear about yet another setback for you. all I can say is you are not too old to train hard! I think you've just had some unlucky moments. your body is really testing you! I know how it feels. just continue to be patient with yourself and don't do anything to exacerbate the injury. I haven't been able to return to high mileage since my injury in the summer of 2012, but not necessarily because of injury, just because my body feels old and sore. sometimes I feel like a wimp, but I try to celebrate whatever miles I can put in. hang in there and keep telling yourself that you will get back at it. just try hard not to compare yourself to your "old" self, as hard as that is. just look forward and celebrate the small things.

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    1. Thanks lady. I do hope to be celebrating soon. Would be nice to run in the same race as you again one of these days!

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  9. I'm so sorry to hear about this setback. It sounds just like me TWO years ago: http://complicatedday.blogspot.com/2012/12/doubts-and-discouragement.html
    Sometimes injury seems so unfair, and so unreasonable. You can do everything right, yet your body fails you. I was pretty upset to learn that I required surgery this year, especially since I had to face the realization that this wasn't one of those "rest and ice' situations. It wasn't going away.
    I will admit that my doubts from that post were grounded a little in fact, and I was indeed on the downslope of my running. But I hope that is not the case for you. You have recovered from this injury before. You know what to do. You know how to prevent it, too (just maybe that needs tweaking). You'll conquer it, learn lessons from it, and take care of it. Give it the time and respect it needs and allow your body to heal itself. I'll be thinking of you and sympathizing with you!

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    1. Thanks Gracie. I think this one is minor, it's just mentally hard because it's right after something else that I 'rested" for in the middle of a training cycle. This one is not PF, but I think it might be related. Giving the healing a chance, today, anyway :) and willing to go to the retirement training cycle of running 1-2 days a week ;) maybe...

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  11. I'm so very sorry! Your training has been awesome, so I can imagine the pain you feel. I've been off for 6 weeks now- not running- and not a lot of improvement. All my summer and fall goals are crumbling. Your post so resonates with me (like that conversation with your husband). It's hard to feel weak,injured- and like an island amidst everyone else running, racing, chasing goals.You're braver than I... I write blogs about my pain then delete them because it feels too vulnerable. :/ Duh, I just commented above and then deleted it to make it a little less raw. :/ I love your blog, and I'm rooting for your quick recovery!

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    1. Well I certainly get what you are saying about deleting comments and posts. I have done so 1000 times! Thanks for the compliment of a comment, and I am wishing you the best with your resting and return to running- which will be soon, I hope!

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  12. "I want to be able to run, and run hard.
    I want to do long runs and also do speed work.
    I want to train for goal races."
    #5krevolution , baby! Get down with it! Have your cake and eat it too! Able to train hard and recover! Able to have a social life and family life (while training for race goals)! Meet your 'wants' and enjoy the hubby!!

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    1. Oh, you have been reading too much of Lauren Fleshman's writing. That plan will only work if I have an off-road elliptigo!

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  13. Hi there Raina!! I'm sorry to hear your foot is still giving you trouble. I am dealing with some plantar fasciitis right now in my right foot (since March) and it is not good at all. Hoping I can just make it through my 5k on the 4th but after that I know I'm looking at a few weeks off. I admire that you took the time to thank God for the progress you've made. I hope with a little less mileage and rest you are able to heal and get back 100%.

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    1. :( That is no good. I wondered what was going on with you. I hope your race goes well on the 4th and that the PF decides to move out on its own, Tia!

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  14. I loved your off the cuff post! Thank you for sharing your raw thoughts and emotion with us. Just finished a run and fought tooth and nail to get through it. Aging is a humbling right of passage. If it serves as any consolation, you've got a community of runners who are aging right along beside you, and all of us have to reconcile what we were once able to do with what we can do now. Every athlete before us and ahead us, no matter the title is not immune from the aging process. ((HUGS))

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    1. Thanks for the hugs, Luisa! I hope the tough run pays off for your race. Aging is better than the alternative, right? :)

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  15. Raina, life begins at 40, trust me!! ;) Keep the faith and things will get better!

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    1. I will have to trust you! My other options are not as good!!

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  16. How annoying! Sorry to hear that Raina. What to do? If you don't feel totally normal after a few days off I'd keep the option of dropping the 50k. Even if you make the start you might do some damage during the race.
    Sounds like you could be the type of runner who does well on "under training" -- not following a mileage build-up plan but running similar weekly miles year-round, fewer miles than you think you need and shorter long runs; slower speedwork with fewer repetitions. Building up strength and speed through consistency rather than traditional "hard/easy" type of training. Anyway, good luck and I hope the foot does the right thing!

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    1. I never saw myself as a runner who does well on undertraining, but perhaps only one speed workout a week (or race) is my best bet. I appreciate your insight, Ewen, as someone who has paid attention to different types of training and done his own personal experiments.

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    2. By undertraining I mean just take a little off what you'd normally do in terms of mileage and speedwork. 6 x 400 instead of 8 x 400 and a little easier, etc.

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  17. You have no idea how many times I have thought those very things and more.

    It's so weird how something small in the grand scheme takes us back to that ugly place. I don't know about you, but I know I am not the same runner I was in 09-11, but I have what I got and it's more than most. And being different isn't a bad thing, it just adds to your story.

    Positive thoughts!!

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  18. Oh Raina! I'm so sorry you are hurting and having some trouble! The body is an amazing and often unexplainable machine. Keep your head up! I think we are all constantly evolving as runners as our bodies change with age and training styles. Sending you a huge hug and many positive thoughts! :)

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  19. Hang in there! I think you have many peaks still ahead of you, youngster! Like a lot of the others, I can relate to this post too. I am still coming back from PF and while I can run now, the post-run pain continues, and it seems like I will never be pain-free again! But I have faith that it will get better. Because it always does. And we're not 80! Best of luck!

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  20. Ugh, so sorry you are having more problems! That conversation with your husband sounds a lot like one I had with mine a couple of months ago and I cried too. Why does it have to be so difficult?! I have finally been running good but I don't know that I fully trust it yet. I hope you get this all figured out and back to running a nice distance strong again. I have given up on PRs for a bit, but I haven't let go of the dream yet

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  21. I am sending lots of healing vibes your way! I am sure you will bounce back better than ever. Injuries always seem to put runners in a dark spot but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Just you see. :)

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  22. Ugh. Well I had a lot of these same thoughts when I was injured throughout 2011 and 2013. You are such a good runner, I think these are bumps in the road. I've learned that I only like to run maximum every other day, my body doesn't like running more than that. Maybe you could transition to doing this? About the foot pain, maybe that big climb on the training run pushed it over the edge combined with some bigger mileage? I guess I've realized that unless I run almost the same amount of mileage every week, that I need to follow a training plan in order to safely increase my mileage. Or else I generally get injured or pains. Heck, I emailed you about my calf pain, and I am only training for a half marathon. So I realize that likely I'll never run another marathon again, and I'm likely okay with that.

    So in the end, just take a few days off, see if the pain subsidies, and maybe dial back your training frequency and volume for a week or 2 to see if the pain goes away completely.

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  23. I hope your pain is on the improve already Raina!
    One thing I know is that you are young and definitely not too old! Some of the runners in my trail events are truly great and are in their 50's/60's. That's going to be you too! I do think that recovery becomes more important as you get older so I try to pay extra attention to that now.

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  24. It's hard to wait out injuries! I'm running less right now, too, but that gives me more time for some strength training exercises that are so good to do.

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  25. Sorry about your foot pain Raina. Injuries are so frustrating. Hope you are running pain free again soon.

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  26. Awwww Raina I am sad to read this. You will feel well again, I know how hard it is. I understand about wanting to what you want. I have been through some long periods of pain and not being able to do things, I worry about it being taken away again all you can do is figure out the limits and work within them. Maybe you will decide 17 miles is to much but being able to do a healthy 8 or 9 miles is better if you don't feel pain. I feel your pain, keep praying! It stinks you don't insurance to cover it.

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  27. My half and full marathon PRs were set at age 50. You don't have to slow down; you do have to be more thoughtful about your training, and consistent with your core and strengthening work. Impatience undoes all your hard work, so take it easy, take it slow, but don't stop if you don't have to. Good luck!

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  28. Maybe you can't anymore": I heard this after my 1st fracture. 2 years later I also ran a 30 km.
    You are young and strong: following a wise training plan you will run faster than before.
    All the best my friend.

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