In 2004 I was training for the Chicago Marathon, my first attempt at 26.2 miles. I took it very seriously, followed my training plan to the letter, and on the day I was scheduled to run 16 miles I knew something wasn’t right. My left shin was in agonizing pain. I took a week off and attempted another 16 miler the next Sunday. After less than 400 meters I stopped, started crying, and walked back to the car. I couldn’t ignore my injury and felt emotionally shattered that I may not reach my goal.
In early March of this year I was 3 months into training for a 12 hour trail race when I couldn’t kick an illness. A cold had grown in size and seemingly took over my lungs, leaving me with no energy at all. After being diagnosed with pneumonia and ordered to stop running for weeks, I pulled out of the 12 hour race.
Those are the only two times in my running history that I’ve been derailed, until possibly now.
This year ended up being my best year for running ever. I had a huge marathon PR, qualified for Boston, ran my first overnight ultra trail running event, paced my friend out at the Western States 100, ran my first 50 miler, and ran my first international marathon just a few weeks ago.
In the excitement after my 50 miler, I started looking towards spring, and signed up for my first 100 miler, the Indiana Trail 100.
Before I left for Greece a month ago I noticed a spot on my left foot that seemed abnormally sore, but not terrible. I was also having issues with my lower back and hips that thankfully were corrected enough by my chiropractor prior to my vacation that I was still able to pull off my marathon.
Now in the couple weeks since I’ve been back in the states and actively training for my 100 miler I feel like my body is rejecting the miles. My foot is sorer, stepping out of bed in the morning has become something I dread because my foot bones ache so much, and my hip joints feel like they are grinding.
Even as I type this I am waiting for my wave of anxiety and frustration to take over my presently calm demeanor… and it’s not coming. What the heck? Shouldn’t I be monumentally pissed that my body is preventing my progress? I mean, that historically has been the case when something like this happens.
Maybe I have grown to the point that I can accept that I just had the best running year ever and know I’d benefit from lower mileage and lots of yoga?
Or maybe my heart wasn’t truly invested in training for the 100?
Or maybe I have evolved to the point that I’m not defined by the race I’m training for?
It is refreshing to be at a place where I am naturally inclined to work with my body instead of against it. In the past I always needed to be reminded of that.
Either way, I’m not ready to make the decision about potentially eliminating my goal to run 100 miles this spring. Instead I’m giving myself ten days to do lots of icing, yoga, and very low mileage and see where my body, head, and heart are at on the 17th.