Last week when I finished my 50 Mile race I was visited by an old acquaintance. I would like to say that it was a nice visit but the acquaintance was not welcome. This acquaintance? A pain in my left shin and calf muscle. For two years I suffered from this tightness almost daily, a reoccurring malady from the Estes Park marathon and that entire weekend.
Neither really got much worse than nagging pain but when you are bombarded constantly with people telling you that your chosen style of running is detrimental to your health (and if you don’t believe me, I can provide links to written stories specifically mentioning how what I was doing was not only bad for me but for “running” in general) you are prone to be a tad more injury aware. you may be even more desiring to prove people wrong.
So, after the 50 miler, I was not exactly happy to feel this left shin pain but figured, after 50 miles, run very hard (8:14 minute pace) I should expect something to ache. Through the next week I noticed it was still lingering but thought nothing of it. During the Pasadena Marathon I felt the achiness as well and post-race was hobbling just a touch. I was fine yesterday when I was walking around and did not notice anything was askew until this morning when I went for my first run after the race.
The first few steps were quite painful but within a few more it was better. The pain was there but not sharp. It soon deadened and by the end of the 5.25 mile run, it was more or less gone. After a day of work, I realized I wanted to get another 5.25 miler in. I put on all my cold weather gear and got all ready to go. I did not want to go. I wanted to rest and get some food in me (I was, after all, quite hungry.) But knew I always feel better after a run so out the door I went.
Within a few steps I could tell I was not going to run today. I got to the other side of the street, waiting for the traffic to pass by, turned around and came home. I was not running tonight.
I had written the mileage I was going to run down on my Strands account and all I had to do was but in the time and hit submit. Now, I have started runs before that I cut short and simply changed whatever mileage I was about to enter. But to come back and simply remove the entry all together was not fun. It was, however, extremely intelligent.
My body was telling me NOT to run. I did not push through, I did not “HTFU” as so many people like to say, and I did not do anything stupid. Instead, I used my brain, took off my running clothes and sat down to an ab and core workout. I got the sweat my body was craving without undue risk to my body.
I think sometimes people do not believe me in my seminars and speeches when I tell them I am not a high mileage runner and that if something tells me not to run, I do not ignore it and go for a run anyway. My body is extremely precious to me: it is, after all, the only one I am getting. No trade-ins and no re-dos. I bristled this past weekend when a person walked past my booth, scoffed at my poster and asked “Why?” I could tell the person was not one I really cared to speak to anyway so I simply said: “Why not?” Their retort over their shoulder was simply: “Because I have no desire to destroy my knees.”
I wanted to say, “Believe me, jackass, neither do I” but I refrained. I love running. Some days it is harder than others to get out the door. But I fully intend to be running until the day I die, hopefully decades down the road. The way I plan on doing that is by taking care of myself and knowing when it is time to NOT go for a run.
I have been very fortunate that these “NOT” periods are few, far between and last for short periods of time. However, for all of those out there suffering from injuries or setbacks, take heart that pushing too hard, when you know you shouldn’t, is neither intelligent nor beneficial. If you want to get back on the road as soon as possible, sometimes that means not even getting on the road at all.
And my abs could always use the work.