Ghosts of injuries past… plus some Alaska euphoria.
I ran 78 miles last week, including 17 miles on Sunday.
I don’t know.
The 17 was at 8:07 pace.
I don’t know.
I get caught up in the moment.
Getting caught up in the moment is fun… in the moment. (No, this isn’t about to be a Planned Parenthood public service announcement).
But mileage greediness in the present might be severely shattering if I ever again find myself limited to swimming with a pull buoy in the local pool for four months while rehabbing ferociously inflamed hip flexors. That was junior year of high school. The smell of chlorine still makes me feel wistfully sorry for my 16-year-old self, for how devastated I’d been by the season that got away, and for how I could have prevented it all if I’d known how to read the signs of an overuse injury.
Scared straight by that experience, I now worry every ache and pain with a doting scrupulousness that would make even the most dedicated helicopter parent blush. Whenever I have an ache that hurts for more than a few days in a row, I assume the worst. I think back to that pool and the chlorine smell and crying myself to sleep from the blinding frustration of not knowing when the knife-like pain would leave me alone for good.
I performed reverse-voodoo on myself. I visualized blood cells and helper T’s storming to the pain site and healing things up every night before bed. I iced. I stretched. I went to physical therapy. I complained a lot. Every random street jogger who trotted by was committing a deeply personal offense — how dare she prance around running in front of me? Doesn’t she know what I’m going through?
My point is that I never want to endure that again, so right now, I need to be a bit more conservative with the running. There is no need to threaten 80-mile weeks when my prior highest mileage ever was in the low-60’s. Aerobically and physiologically and mentally, this mileage is no problem, but muscularly, I’m not there yet, and I’ll run myself straight into injury traffic if I keep this up.
As I’ve mentioned, I thought I was going to be sick of running exclusively everyday, but I haven’t reached that point yet. I do need to reign myself in and gradually build up mileage — as opposed to neurotically deciding that 80 MPW is the new normal just because I did it once. This post on recovery from Kitchen of a Runner came just in time!
And thank you all for your thoughtful responses to my last post inquiring about the benefits of strength training, core work, and plyometrics.
Accordingly, I’ve done a lot of thinking about it and have decided to incorporate some plyos into my daily to-do:
I’m also including some yoga:
As well as some general mountain climbing.
I’ll let you all know how that works out for me.
For those of you visiting for Alaska updates rather than my usual running drivel, I encourage you to check out my roommate’s daily photo blog. Then head over to my friend Andrew’s blog for some hilarious stories about a few of our adventures, the people we meet, and the adjustment of moving to Alaska from the lower 48, all in a writing format that absolutely defies all common laws of grammar and punctuation, which makes the experience even better. His post on our Mt. Roberts hike is a good place to start. Thank you for tolerating my photo-thievery, Andrew! 🙂
Have you ever had a long-lasting overuse injury? How did you stop yourself from going crazy?
How do you know when it’s time to take a day off?