Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Learning to run, again

Sitting on my shelf, waiting for me.

I started running for the first time about 10 years ago while I was in college. I was barely able to make it down to the end of the street without stopping to walk. For the next 6 or 7 years I was an on again off again runner. I would go through phases.

Each time I would pick it back up again I would struggle to find my comfort level.

This last time has been different. I have been running consistently for the past 3 years. Especially long distance endurance in the past year and a half. Completing 3 30km races, enough half marathons and the such that I actually can't even keep track of. My first marathon at the end of last year. At the beginning of this year I ran Around The Bay 30k and two half marathons all a month in between each. I didn't run at all in between these three races. I was cycling and maintaining my fitness in other ways but I wasn't running. It made me feel pretty powerful to have such a strong base for running.

Then at the beginning of this summer, sometime in June, I quit running. I stopped because of the injury to my clavicle which never really had a specific reason as to what happened. After almost 6 months of pain I wanted to focus on getting it better and running was irritating it to the point of tears. I thought I was doing my body good by taking running out of the equation when in reality I don't think I went about it right at all.

Over the past few months and after the bike crashes I have been struggling to get back up to snuff. Not being able to do hardly any exercise for almost a month killed me. I learned that the injury to my clavicle is not an injury but a permanent and re-occurring dysfunction so to speak. All I have the power to do is learn to manage the pain. So I picked up my runners. I also got someone knowledgeable to help me along a routine path to rehabilitating my clavicle at the same time.

I feel like I am learning to run, all over again. I've been at it for about 3 or 4 weeks and my progress is so slow it's irritating. There is pain in my lower back, ribs and upper back from my bike crash. I can almost lay flat on my back for the first time since I injured my ribs. There is pain in my clavicle. My legs hurt and they don't have what it takes to carry me for hours any more. I'm having a hard time accepting that for the first time in years I need recovery between runs. My heart feels like it's going to explode - of which I'm still very concerned about. Skipping out on my cardiologist appointments and being a no-show has been irresponsible on my part. I wasn't expecting to be able to just go out and run a half marathon but I will admit that I wasn't expecting to be all the way back at the beginning.

I'm having some trouble with expectations. I know what it's like and where I was and I am having trouble accepting the work I have to go through to get back there. Running, I find, has a steep learning curve. It takes a lot of motivation and will power to overcome the overwhelming amount of discomfort to achieve the satisfying part. It's there, you just have to push through enough crap to find it. I know.

It's definitely a reality check. Firstly, at just how far along I was. Secondly, at how far I have to go to get back to where I was. I am certainly not enjoying running right now because let's face it, it kind of feels really awful. This time trying to find my groove has been the hardest. Coming back from terrible injuries that sidelined me from all forms of exercise has effected me in a major way.

I really want it bad though.

The upcoming year of racing is going to be monumental both on the bike and in my running shoes so I have a lot of work to do over the winter. Training on the bike, in my running shoes and maintaining the rehab on my clavicle.

"You get out what you put in."


  1. Recovery makes a world of difference... Trust me - at 41, I'm learning this.

    Remember: If you want to run fast, you have to run far. And if you have to run far, you need to slow down.

    1. Marcus certainly gives sage advice...and he should know! Do remember, though, that running is unique in that you lose your base so very quickly. The good news is that the base builds pretty quickly, too, and more so for those like you - who are not afraid to put in the hard work.


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