Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Already sidelined...

I love beginning a new project. Carefully laid plans, fresh new supplies, the anticipation, hard work, making progress and the reward of accomplishing a goal...What's not to love?

With the encouragement of some of my Sole Sisters, I signed up for Women Rock as my first half marathon.  My BRF (best running friend) promised to run it with me too, so that sealed the deal.  To top it all, at the finish I'll be handed jewelry and champagne by some very "lovely" assistants, if you get my drift.  I figured if that didn't get my rear across the finish line, nothing would!

For weeks I pored over training plans in books and websites, searching for the one that was just right.  I found it in the book Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  Fifteen weeks of workouts that clearly specified which days I could bail out if needed and which runs were absolutely necessary. Retyped and color coded, I was ready to go with a start date of June 10.  A couple of weeks and training would begin...I couldn't wait!

In the meantime I ran a midnight trail race and ran trails with a fellow Sole Sister in my new barefoot trail shoes.  My feet and ankles were sore after both runs, but I chalked it up to weakness in muscles I wasn't used to using and vowed to do strengthening exercises.  Days later I was cleaning up after my children and stumbled over a toy (typical in a house with two toddlers!) The tenderness nagged, but I didn't think much of it because I hadn't really taken a rest day yet.  

Finally, it was time to train! I set out for my first training run of 4-5 miles at the local trail.  Paying attention to my form, my ankles were tight and complaining but I figured they just needed a mile or so to get loosened up.  By 3/4 of a mile they weren't feeling better so I slowed down to walk and stretch.  Feeling a little better, I picked up the pace again only to have the pain intensify once again.  By mile 1.5 I was in tears and limping back to the car, completely discouraged.  I couldn't touch my left ankle without gasping; not only was it painful, but swelling and bruising were appearing as well.  I expect some pain with training, but NEVER have I finished a run in tears.  I knew something was wrong.

I immediately called the PT (physical therapist) I previously worked with to rehab my knee and went in for an evaluation.  The swelling and bruising were continuing to worsen, so an appointment with my doctor was made.   By the end of the day I couldn't bear weight on it without a lot of pain.  Bummed barely described how I was feeling.

The next day I woke up and my ankle felt better - until I started walking on it.  Within half an hour I was limping again and even more worried something was really wrong.  My doctor examined me and gave me the news.  Diagnosis:  A nasty sprain.  Treatment:  Rest (no running for a couple weeks), ice, and elevation.  My reaction was split:  while I was really glad she hadn't found a fracture (the bruising and swelling worried the PT), I was worried about my training.  It's only week 1 and I'm injured! How am I going to run 13.1 miles if I can't even START my training???

I got home and did what I always do when faced with a problem:  I researched.  Several hours later I had my answer: It's going to be okay.  Everything I'd read suggested I could miss 1-2 weeks of training because I had a strong base of mileage.  There will be a period where I'll have to cut back and work my way back up, but, for now I'm okay with being sidelined.  Well, at least as okay as I'm going to be.  Let's be serious, I'd rather be running hills or doing hard tempo runs than sitting, resting this ankle.  But, give me a couple weeks and I'll be back. :)

So, what's my point with this rambling saga? What I'm trying to convey is the change I see in myself.  A year ago I would have let my discouragement take over and quit.  Instead, 

I didn't give up.  I adapted and am continuing to work at my goal, just in a different way than first planned.  And I'm proud of that!

So for now I'll be busy strength training and building a stronger core with some killer workouts I found at Em's Gym.  Who knows? Maybe this will help me learn to love strength training?!

Gotta run - in a couple weeks, that is. ;)

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