I wish I could sit here and tell you that I have enough self-control to have rested my recovering leg from Friday through Monday without being forced to do so — but I can’t. When left to make the smarter decision, my love of running and wanting to be outdoors — especially as the weather continues to become crispier and cooler — often wins out, trumping all of my ability to make the judicious choice.
That’s why I intentionally — albeit hesitantly — left my sneakers — my spankin’ new Brooks Ghosts that have so far proven to be a godsend since first becoming injured — home, right in the cozy, footwear-filled corner where I left them after Thursday’s 7-mile run.
That was the original plan. For those of you just joining my saga now, here are the 5 facts you need to know to catch up quickly:
1. Upcoming races. I am — scratch that, was — training for a half marathon. I am still running it on September 16th, but my goal now consists of neither time nor speed. It’s merely to finish in one piece.
2. A long break. Earlier this month, I took 10 full days off from running. The recovery process has been a slow and frustrating one, but I am finally starting to bounce back.
3. Scattered runs. I am only running every other day, if even that, to preserve the state of my leg.
4. Crucial long runs. My aim over the last 3 weeks has simply been to build distance without overdoing it. A couple of Saturdays ago, I ran my first 5 miles since injury. Last Thursday, I ran 7 (shaky yet pain-free) miles.
This coming weekend, I would like to run 9 miles since, you know, in 2 weeks I need to be able to get through 13.1 in The City of Brotherly Love without hitting a wall. While this weekend would traditionally represent the start of my taper, I also know that this cramped training schedule doesn’t allow much time for scaling back. Instead, it’s about distance without excess — which is somewhat of an oxymoron, if you ask me.
5. Emotional wreck. Harder than the physical aspect of not running has been the mental. You can read about my downward spiral and emotional inconsistencies here.
Given the above, for a variety of reasons, the last 4 days in Miami were very much appreciated. For one, I went with my old roommates who I love and miss dearly, even if we live around the corner of one another. And then the other very apparent reason for my sense of rejuvenation is that, while I certainly thought about my lack of exercise while staying out late and sleeping in, I nevertheless didn’t.
4 days, zero workouts — that is, unless you count dancing up a storm at Miami’s Liv on Friday night, Arkadia on Saturday night, and Liv again on Sunday — where Missy Elliott and Timbaland just happen to make an appearance about 4 feet from my face. NBD.
The only stress of the weekend: whether to pour myself a glass of white wine or a sweet tea cocktail come 5 o’clock.
The only footwear: flip flops and sky-high heels.
The only sweat broken: poolside under the hot Miami sun.
The only glitter: the sequins on my dress.
I usually resolve to bring — and encourage everyone to bring — running sneakers with me everywhere I go, From Hilton Head’s beaches to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to the middle of nowhere, Pa., to Fire Island’s car-less pathways. Running is the one element that has and will continue to tie all of my adventures together, making them cohesive, satisfying and very much fulfilling and worthwhile.
But before my Sunshine State getaway, as I was planning my weekly workouts (something I never do, but have been forced to due to this whole self-rehabilitation process — don’t try this at home kids), I knew that distance, not frequency, would be more valuable to my haphazard half-marathon (very loose) training plan.
7 miles was a must. Even more important, however, was an ample post 7-mile recovery period. And so, despite my desire to run in Miami, I knew I needed to not run even more.
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, consider me smitten. Not running over these past 4 days has instilled me with a much-needed and newfound inspiration to get out there and overcome this leg injury once and for all.
Last week, in my final post before Miami, I touched on this matter lightly; that a lot of my uncertainty, frustration and lackluster runs have been a product of my waning confidence levels. Quite honestly, because my leg injury was so strange, sudden and undefined, my ego took a beating. I lost my running mojo, and even a relatively successful 7-mile return to running didn’t lift my spirits in the way I had hoped it would.
Taking a step back during this very long weekend was just what I needed. I feel reenergized. I’m ready to finish what I started — this half marathon that I cursed at the onset of this pain.
On the plate this week:
- I’ll continue to run every other day.
- I’ll run 3 miles Tuesday, 4 miles Thursday and 9 miles on Saturday (if all goes to plan).
- I’ll spend 1 hour doing yoga and 1 morning strength training.
To a happy but, more importantly, healthy week of running.
- Do you always take running sneakers with you on vacation?