When I started running, I spent so much time being utterly shocked that I could do it at all that how fast or how far wasn’t really on my radar. I’d spent my entire life believing myself incapable of most things athletic, so my joy in just doing it at all knew no bounds.
After a time I discovered that I was getting quicker, and that I could run further. I started pushing just a little harder each week and I was so proud of every extra kilometre.
I struggled through my first fun run, but was beside myself to have finished it. 15 kilometres had seemed such an impossibility, and yet i had DONE IT. Slowly, and not without some pain, but I had completed the course. It was a turning point for me.
I signed up for my first, second and third half marathons, all of which would take place over 4 months in the latter part of 2013. I started training. Proper training; increasing my mileage each week and incorporating speed work in a concerted effort to reach the lofty goals I had set for myself.
And that is where I started to come unstuck.
Anyone who has followed Operation Move for a while will know (from my endless sulking) that I incurred a fairly substantial injury three weeks out from my first half marathon. But what I don’t talk about quite so much is the fact that the injury was completely avoidable. I tore a muscle in my groin during what should have been a recovery run the day after a long run. I went out hard because I had decided that I wanted a PB on every single run. I pushed against a strong wind that day and I knew early into the run that I was being stupid, but I didn’t stop. I kept pushing my tired body and midway I felt something happen. It didn’t hurt at that stage, but by the next day I could not walk. It was AGONISING.
I rested for the weeks in the lead up to the half, and by some miracle I ended up completing it.
At which point I decided I was bullet proof.
I did a few training sessions over the next three weeks the ran the half in Melbourne. It was the dream run that every runner hopes for.
My training for the third half marathon was far more haphazard. I knew I could do it and wanted to get faster, but I was like a natural born runner and would romp it in. For sure.
Six days before the race, on a short run near home and in a daydream, I fell smashing my knee and rolling my ankle. I’d not given the run or my body the respect it deserved, and it bit me on the bum. Well, the legs. Avoidable and painful. Again.
I iced and compressed and rested. I ran that half marathon and it was horrible.
And then I saw my physio, discovered the extent of my ankle injury and relegated myself to a Summer of other activities. That’s how good a job I’d done of it, and then ran 21.1 on the damage. So so dumb.
I’m finally, finally running again. Even my rubbish runs are a blessing at the moment, having not run for a time. But I am struggling mentally with having lost so much pace. My long runs are much shorter than they were, and they hurt more. Recovering from them is hard.
I figure I have two choices.
I can push and push to get back to where I was. I can ignore the niggles and the aches. I can take that risk, and maybe I’d come through it okay.
Or I can respect that my body is in it’s 38th year and being worked like it never has been before. I can stop beating myself up that I’m not pulling PB’s, and start giving myself kudos for focussing more on my nutrition and taking the time to nurture myself more.
I can remember that the pain of injury isn’t as great as the pain of desperately wanting to run and being unable to.
Self sabotage… are you guilty of it too?