Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Road to Injury... and the Journey of Healing

It’s been a really great stretch of uninjured running.  Almost two years!  I’ve lost weight, increased my pace, set PRs in every distance that I run, and even bit off my first 26.2.  Cue ominous music… Dun dun DUUUUNNNNN…

I’ve been dealing with heel pain since I started ramping up my miles during the marathon training.  Right around 16+… the dreaded Plantar Faciitis word was uttered in hushed tones by my amazing sports doc.  But we were confident I could get through the marathon, feeling good and sticking to my training plan.  I was great about stretching, rolling, icing…being a good little patient.  And it all worked!  I ran my first MARATHON, I felt great, I had an amazing time (and almost went sub 4 hour!), and I even felt OK post-race.   And then I ran a half marathon the Very. Next. Weekend.  Dun dun DUUUUNNNN…  

Feeling AWESOME at mile 24 of the Marathon!
If I was a better blogger (like I dream of being) I would have my post race report from the Girlfriends Half to link here.  But I don’t.  And I regret that now.  (Blogger goal for 2014 #1 – write up a post race report for each race I do this year!)  So you will have to trust me when I tell you that EVEN KNOWING WHAT PAIN I’VE BEEN IN allllllll these months, I would still run that race one week post marathon.   It was amazing, as are the women I ran it with and FOR.   XOXO Bitches.  (That’s a term of endearment for my Twisted Sisters.)  

Finishing strong in celebration of Amy!

Alas, back to the problem at hand (or, at foot).  After Girlfriends, it just hurt to WALK.  I kept thinking, “Why do my feet just HURT so bad?”  Well, turns out, you really shouldn’t run through PF.  In fact, you should STOP RUNNING, and start stretching All. The. Time.  Yeaaaaaaa… easier said than done.

I had a few goals related to running in 2013. 

1)      A sub 1:53 half.  Eugene Half Marathon 1:50.  CHECK! 
2)      Complete a Marathon… PDX. Check!
3)      Log 1,000 miles for the year… After Girlfriend’s, mid October, I was 17 miles away from that goal.
4)      Stay injury free… Hmmmm… not looking good.

Mid November, I started getting antsy, to say the least.  I REALLY wanted to check off that 1,000 mile goal, and I wanted to do it ON my 40th birthday.  So I started out super slow, chipping away at those 17 miles with a 2 mile run here, and a 3 mile run there.  On the morning of my 40th birthday, I had 4 miles left to run to hit 1,000.  I met two of my BRFs before the crack of dawn and logged those 4.0 miles.  That made me super happy.  And it made my feet hurt.  *sigh*  BUT I could check off another goal!  And I got in some girlfriend time.  And let’s face it, it’s ALWAYS about the Girlfriend time.  
Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Runner
The last goal wasn’t looking too promising.

December found me getting desperate.  I had another race looming, and this one I couldn’t just “opt out of”.  I had signed up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Disneyland WAAAAAAY back in the summer.  Registration is open for one whole day before those Run Disney races sell out.  So I had to commit.  We were surprising the kids with the trip to Disneyland for Christmas.  I needed to keep my miles going.  I wasn’t worried about the training.  I just needed to get in a few long-ish runs.  So I hobbled through December and the beginning of the New Year.  We went to Disneyland, walked the parks for three days, ran a half marathon, and had an amazing family vacation in the warm sunshine of SoCal.  Oh, and I pretty much killed my feet.  Done. Toast.  Not even Advil would help.  Not even WINE would help.  

I made a few really tough decisions after this.

1)      I sold my Newport Marathon bib.  This was not going to be my year for another marathon. 
2)      I sold my Race for the Roses Half Marathon bib.  Someday I WILL run this race.  I have to. 
3)      I registered for the Blue Lake Sprint Tri.  This is going to be the year of Cross Training and Healing.
4)      I stopped running.

The first two decisions were hard, the third one was scary and exciting all in one, but the 4th one is crushing my soul.

Cyndie Audrey and Amy.  BAMRs. 
I’ve come to realize that while running has become a part of me, a part that identifies me and makes me happy; it’s really the time spent with my girlfriends that I miss the most.  Yes, I realize there are countless other ways that I can spend time with my girlfriends.  I love those too.  But running gives us so much more.  Not only are we getting in miles and exercise, but we are getting in a therapy session as well.  When women run together, we use that time to TALK.  We have to cover the miles, and the rhythm of running brings out the conversation.  Our guards are down and the words flow as easily as the miles.  We talk about our week, our kids, our husbands, what we’re making for dinner, medical problems, worries, concerns, deep dark fears…we cry, we laugh, we cheer each other on.   And when we finish we feel like we can conquer the world!  Or we at least have something planned for dinner. 

Cheers Bitches. XOXO
During my running hiatus, I am virtually cheering on my BRFs and watching their training.  I’m so proud of my friend Audrey for finding her lost inner BAMR.  I’m so proud of my friend Amy for mentoring Audrey and pushing her outside her comfort zone…tackling Terwilleger and taking on her first ten miler!  So amazing!  Of course I want to be there too.  And I will be again.  Until then, I will embrace a few new training regimens and be proud of my girlfriends and their training.  And plan a LOT more girl’s nights out.