Recently the thought occurred to me that running is a lot like roses. Running is beautiful, but there are thorns that will get you if you aren’t careful.
I try to always put a positive spin on things. I try to focus on the roses. Not because I want to appear perfect or innately happy, but because I don’t want to send out negativity into the Universe. I try to stay away from the thorns. Sometimes this creates a barrier to me “keeping it real” (in ALL aspects of my life: with myself, my family, and even my social media postings). So I am embracing my word of the year, uncomfortable, in a way in which I never imagined. I’m going to bare my soul in regards to my recent training.
Even though I have an exceptional coach, I am not immune to hurting myself. (Hurting, not injuring) Since I have been coached by him, I have become a healthier and stronger runner than ever before. But, I am Jen, and I am still quite a challenge . Better, but still a challenge.
Same Song, Different Verse
Life has been quite unbalanced for me the last several weeks. Alli’s volleyball schedule has been taking a toll on me – driving to practice and being gone so many weekends to tournaments lately has me feeling stretched very thin. Then consider my regular training load (that has been getting squeezed in at any and every available block of time) and the fact that I scheduled too many races too close together this Spring. Oh, and I still work full-time.
I think it is safe to say that I have been suffering from extreme fatigue, which has been reflected in my workouts of late. Since RnR Dallas, workouts haven’t felt quite right, although I haven’t noticed enough to say that they were quite wrong. The weird thing is that I didn’t have much post-race soreness to work through. (Still a little mind boggling, considering what a big PR that was.)
The week after RnR, hill repeats were on the schedule on one of Alli’s practice days. I fretted over where to run then settled on a part of trail close to Bob Woodruff Park in Plano (part of the Plano Balloon Half Marathon course). I remember being tired that day (par, lately), then realizing I had grabbed my very first pair of ONs (which have been retired so LONG they are to the point that I can’t even wear them around the house), but I decided to continue with the work out anyway. The repeats weren’t terribly hard, considering how tired I was, but I really pushed the last few as I didn’t want to end up with slower splits at the end. This *may* have been where my brain broke down, because looking back I am reasonably certain that I was over-striding at the end. And now…I officially suck at hill repeats. (By the way, I’m 99.9% certain that I caused the stress fracture during….you guessed it….hill repeats.)
In the days after the repeats, I began to have a nagging tightness in my hip. Initially, I thought it was due to my lack of consistent stability training between the tapering/racing/recovering and travelling due to volleyball. (By the way, I had been keeping my coach updated on how things were progressing….yay me!) During Sunday’s run, I realized that the problem was more than tightness in the hip. My psoas cramped up several times early on. Of course, I had a light bulb moment – OH, IT’S MY PSOAS!!! But Brent took it a little bit differently. When I reported this to him, he immediately took running out and changed my schedule to biking only this week . The miracle here? I didn’t argue. AT ALL.
Don’t give up what you want MOST for what you want NOW
Things are feeling much, much better but not completely normal, however, I do expect to run on Sunday. After that, my schedule is pretty easy next week as I am scheduled to run Ragnar Austin next weekend. I’m hoping that things are fairly normal by then and that I don’t irritate things too much by running Ragnar.
Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to run this week (even though I know it was the right decision not to). I have a half marathon scheduled on May 1, which was to be the conclusion, of sorts, to this Spring racing season. But I have to keep the bigger goal in mind. The bigger goal is a 3:45 marathon this fall, and I DO NOT want ANYTHING getting in my way. Which is why I was happy to comply with the schedule adjustments. It is why I am happy to skip Sunday’s run if I don’t feel things are right (or scrap it if things don’t feel right once I start). It is why I am willing to scratch that 5/1 half, if needed.
I am still planning to run Ragnar – that is a bucket list item and I have 11 other team members counting on my miles. Someone was watching out for me, though, because the miles on my leg have been cut down quite a bit since they were first published, and I am OK with that.
And I’m about to share another little piece of my soul that not many people have seen. The picture above is from a vision board I created to help me focus on my marathon goal. I have never created a vision board before, so, honestly, it felt a little weird. But I have started internalizing the things I have posted on this board. The quote in the picture caught my eye this morning and it hit me….. As I have been working through this psoas issue this week, it is all with the bigger goal in mind. I haven’t even been concerned with running Sunday, or next week, or Ragnar, or Skyline half. I’ve been concerned with making sure this doesn’t turn into an injury and I am committed to making it stronger so that I am ready when my next training cycle starts ramping up.
I’ve come a long way, baby!! I *might* be growing up, and I think I owe most of it to the confidence that I’ve gained from the great coaching and guidance that I’ve gotten from my coach. So, thanks, Brent, for taking good care of me!