Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Running Scared

It's been a while since I have done this. I did it for 3 or so years, not including 2 years after surgery.

Always wondering how long the leg would last.
How would today go?
Would I be hurting the rest of the day?
Should I be wearing these shoes?
I wonder if I need different insoles?
I shouldn't run right here, it's slanted?
I can't do that race... it has too much downhill...
I'd love to do that race, but I don't know if my leg will hold.
I don't think I'll ever do a marathon again.
Oh... I wish I could just pick up and go run at anytime.
I'll never get back to my 8min/mile race pace, when I can't even run 10 mins without pain.
I wonder if I will EVER even run again...

Well, I finally got rid of all those thoughts. I carried them with me from June 2002, until about April 2007. 5 years those are the thoughts that went thru my head every day. Every time I ran, or even thought about running.

I had some brief moments of thinking I'd never have to worry again. I started training for Ironman. My mileage increased and I had no pain. I started to get a little faster. I started to get stronger, and more confident.

Then we did the infamous Ragnar Relay. After my second leg, where I missed my 10k pr by :30, my foot got a huge blister, and my 3rd leg was one of the most painful runs I've had in years. My left IT band was shot. I had the 'stabbing' pain that I had come to know so well. I slowed to a 10min pace for my 4miles.

I cried. While running.

I had each and every thought above enter my mind again, only this time worse. I thought my 'good leg' would now haunt me with everything I'd already gone through, all over again.
Could I do Ironman. Could I really put my body through 112 miles on a bike, AND THEN run a marathon....

Fortunately, I came back. I rested a week or so, and my IT band was fine. Of course I know what to do now. Ice, foam roll, stretch, DON'T RUN.

Slowly through the IM training I completely built my confidence up. I didn't worry anymore. If I could ride 100+ mile in a week, and run 30+ miles with no problems... I was healed. I am fine.

Then I did it. I became an Ironman. I held back on the bike to save my leg, only to find out my leg was 100%. I never had ANY IT band pain. I REALLY was fine.

So, I did the unthinkable. I signed up for the St. George Marathon. A net DOWNHILL Marathon. The Marathon I was trying to do 3 years ago only do be denied by this injury.

I rested, then trained, then ran and conquered this marathon. I PR'd. I got rid of the ugly thoughts that I was NOT a runner.

Then, a week after the marathon they call came back. I tried to run. I pushed through 5 miles, 2 in pain. I was stubborn. I thought, it can't be....

I tried again a few days later, only this time to be stopped only 3 miles into the run, and walking home...

Another week later... 2.5miles into the run. I was once again, walking home.

I've spent 3 weeks icing at least 3 times per day. Stretching 3-5 times per day. Rolling on my foam roll 3-5 times per day.

I quit riding my road bike. I decided not to do the bike race.

So, today after 4 days of no leg work and all the therapy and babying of my leg, I went for a run. I went to my old stomping grounds and ran on the canal. Soft dirt, flat as a pancake.

I ran out 11 mins, and back 11mins. Then out again 4 mins & back another 4 mins.

I ran scared. I ran scared that I would once again feel the pain. That I was going to be denied again. Denied what I have worked so hard for. Denied what was already once taken away from me.

Each step I wondered when 'it' was going to happen. When the disappointment would set in....

It was some of the longest 30mins of my life. I didn't' get to let my mind wonder, or enjoy my music, or daydream..... All I thought of was the "what if".....

And finally.... I am happy to report that I survived. That my 30min run went amazing. That I stopped with no pain. That I feel great right now. That maybe, just maybe I have finally won.

I know it won't be easy. I will most likely always have to baby this. Never take advantage, never slack on the stretching and rolling and STRENGTHENING.

For some of us, these things just don't come easy. They are a challenge. They are more of a challenge than it should be...

At that, is why we do it.

If you know me, and especially if you knew me during the years that I struggled so hard with this injury, you know that I didn't' just stop and feel sorry for myself. That I didn't quit.

I have to admit, this time.. with this scare.. I wasn't sure I could do that all over again. Be that strong. Survive and conquer that disappointment again....


Spokane Al said...

I know just what you are going through. Everytime I leave the house to go out on a run I walk for a ways and then tentitively take a running step and then another, always worrying and analyzing every bit of pain.

I trust that your 30 minute is the beginning of bigger and better things to come.

Benson said...

Oh I so needed to read this post. You are so damn tough. I'm in a similar situation with my bad knees and 2 surgeries a few years ago. Nice to know I'm not the only stubborn one still trying to be a better runner.

Taryn said...

Wow you are one tough person! And dedicated and determined! I pray your body will prevail!