Will Run for Wednesdays: The Pain of Perseverance

Man, has it been a while since I’ve run back to back to back to back (you with me?) days or what?

I’ve been incredibly cautious since my shin pain first started. Call me paranoid, but I can hardly remember a run in the last four months in which I haven’t felt some strange, recurring pain radiating somewhere from my right or left lower leg.

Some tell me it’s a phantom pain. Others think I’m about two runs shy of a mental institution.

(Me? Never.)

After nearly seven years of consistently running though, I like to think that I don’t just know my body, but that I have a special relationship with it that non-runners (or non-athletes, at least) don’t – can’t – have.

(Sometimes, it just needs a nice stretch.)

Running, like yoga, Pilates and other practices that bring awareness to every part of your body and soul, from your physical well-being to your every breath, is an incredibly special fitness form. For one, there’s the feeling of community that surrounds it. And then of course, there’s the inherent feeling of I’m-amazing that you get each time you reach a new goal.

(The official and not at all lame I’m-amazing board. Ignore weird penguin with pink tie in bottom left corner.)

For quite some time now – I’m not sure how long, but definitely since before the Philly RnR Half – I’ve been waiting to get back to this point (and patiently, if I do say so myself). Having to limit myself to every-other-day runs was like a test of self-restraint in itself; a test I nearly failed on several occasions.

On Tuesday morning, I had planned on working out in my apartment, doing some sort of strength training, yoga or the likes. But as I sat down on my couch to get some work done, and saw the red sun rising over the east side of Manhattan, there was a part of me that felt ready to let go of the training wheels – to allow myself to once again run by instinct, gut and feel.

Without over-thinking it, I walked into the bedroom where Noah was still asleep and grabbed my running gear. I nearly got away with it too, but as I reached for the door knob to make my escape, I heard from under the covers, “You running?”

I had no reply in me but, “Yep, I am,” knowing very well that, not only would it be my fourth day in a row – a personal record since injury – but that I had spent the previous evening not 12 hours earlier running along the Hudson.

I thought I was about to get scolded or at least called a fool.

“You beast,” was the only answer.

Beast was a noun I could handle.

(Chocolate Thunder Beast.)

Tuesday’s run was far from easy, despite my eagerness to get out there. My body is no longer used to consecutive cardio workouts (I’m cringing just thinking about it). My legs and core felt tired from start to finish, as though they knew that I was supposed to be on a yoga mat strength training, not the sidewalks of 1st Avenue.

While challenging (I literally felt as though I were running with bricks in my pockets), there was a part of me that nevertheless reveled in pushing through the pain. This wasn’t the pain that had kept me off my feet for several weeks, after all. This was the pain of power. This was the pain of perseverance. Much like Scott Jurek’s strength reserves “just when the race gets touch,” it was a pain that was finally worth pushing through.

This week, I’m running for that extra push. For me, that was the fourth day in a row of running.

Naturally, I’ll stay off my feet and take my workout back to the yoga mat on Wednesday morning in order to maintain some level of physical intelligence. As you can imagine, my mind will be floating out the window to the streets 11 floors below.

  • What are your most memorable mile-markers after injury?
  • Do you run every day or space out each one?

3 thoughts on “Will Run for Wednesdays: The Pain of Perseverance

  1. Woohoo! Way to go 🙂 I remember last year, when I was battling ITBS, I was SO EXCITED when I could finally go back to a normal routine. After a month and a half of short (like, one mile) runs only twice/week, it felt amazing to be falling back into my rhythm, and letting my mind go once again. The thing about running is it’s not just the workout–it’s the mental release that we come to know and love. So I totally get what you mean about runners being in-tune with their body in a very special way.

  2. I try to run every day, even if it is just a half hour of very easy running. Consistency is one of the most important factors in running success. However, part of running very often is knowing when to run easy and when to run hard, AND DOING THAT.

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