In my heart of hearts, I’m a realist. When I assess situations, I see them pretty much as they are, mainly because I view the situation without allowing emotions to weigh in. Even so, in most situations I try to lean toward the side of the optimist. I want to see the good in the situation and focus on the positives. Life is too short to dwell on the negatives…..and the negatives depress me. But sometimes I give more lip service to the positive side than I actually feel internally. Say it long enough and you’ll believe it, right??
I haven’t been completely honest with everyone about how I have felt coming off my injury. I wanted SO badly to be well. I wanted so badly to be brave about it. I wanted so badly to beat that voice in my head kept telling me I would NEVER be able to run long distances again. But I didn’t feel “well” and I didn’t feel brave at all and I COMPLETELY bought what the voice in the back of my head was telling me. And while I am mostly glad that I was injured in the dead of winter, being injured in the dead of winter was also a curse. I have a tendency to lean toward depression in the winter. There is too much darkness and not enough sunshine to feed this Texas girl’s soul. Add being injured on top of that and it’s mentally hard to dig your way out.
Having said all that, I have seen great improvements with my fitness and running. The strength training has definitely made me stronger which, in turn, has made me feel better. Slowly and surely I have made progress with my running. All this gave me hope, but in the back of my mind the voice was still telling me that I couldn’t do it (and I was listening to it). Plus, I was still having nagging issues (on my left side, mostly) and those issues gave the voice credibility.
But if you keep saying it, sooner or later you might buy into it. So I kept saying it (but not believing it).
A week ago Friday, I ran my intervals (TOO fast). I even pushed the pace on the last interval. (I know: stupid. I guess Crazy Jen found the damn key.) Then, I worked a big volleyball tournament over the weekend. By the last game, I was really hurting from my hips down – dull, constant pain. (The voice was screaming at me, “I told you so!”) I knew that the Friday evening run plus working all weekend was not a good combination. Monday I was tight and sore and when I did my strength exercises, they were so much harder than usual but I chalked it up to being exhausted. By Monday afternoon, my left SI joint was burning and I barely slept that night because the pain was so bad. This REALLY frightened me, because even with my injuries, I had never hurt this way. I continued foam rolling and stretching, but decided not to do any lower body strength work until I started feeling better. I did hop on the TM mainly to see if running made things worse. Thank goodness it didn’t! Wednesday morning I was better but still not feeling great but went ahead with the first scheduled run with my new partner. The run caused no issues but walking after a period of inactivity was still painful. Thankfully, my myofascia guy was able to accommodate me for a 2-hour appointment and things felt better….for a little while. I was diligent with the foam rolling and stretching. And I decided that as long as running didn’t make it worse, I wouldn’t skip any runs.
After our first run went so well, it was kind of assumed that we would continue running together. (Maybe I should tell you that my partner’s name is John….for future reference;) ) Upon John’s recommendation, I decided to try a pair of Newton’s. (I’ve had a nagging feeling for quite some time that I needed to make a shoe change, but I wasn’t sure exactly what change needed to be made.) He suggested that I take some time to transition to them, because they are different from the Asics Nimbus and Kinsei that I have been wearing. He still didn’t think transition would be difficult since I already had a midfoot strike. OH. MY. GOSH. The first run in them on Saturday was AWESOME. And since I didn’t have any issues with my calves or my feet, I wore them again for Monday’s run. Still no issues, so I ran in them again yesterday!!
With each run in these shoes, my body feels better and better and better. By the way, I do realize that a large part of this is directly related to having a running partner who isn’t afraid to make me run slower than I’m used to, but I think switching to the shoes is going to go a long way in keeping me on the road injury-free!
All this to say that I think I may be FINALLY putting the voice to rest. During the last 10 days of running, I have begun to genuinely believe that I CAN run distances again – healthy and free of nagging pain. (I am confident enough that I signed up for my first race post-mara: a half marathon on 5/3!) Three things happened: I now have a partner who can pace me appropriately; he recommended a shoe change that has been nothing short of amazing and I realized that I have what it takes to deal with issues as the arise.
It feels great being a grown-up runner! And it feels great to really believe what I’m saying 🙂
Happy Hump Day!