2013 was a really good year in my little running world. I felt strong and confident when I trained and when I raced. This led to many PR’s from the mile to the marathon. I felt like the sky was the limit.
|My first (and last) 17 min 5k! 7/4/13|
2014 has been a rough running year for me. It got off to a shaky start and my first race was a bit of a wake-up call for me. I quickly learned that running a personal best was going to be harder than it was last year. At least it felt that way…
|Germantown Half Marathon- March, 2014|
I know I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself as a runner. I don’t necessarily compare myself with others as much but I do compare myself to myself. Last time I did this workout I ran it at this pace with this many intervals…Or last time I ran this race I ran this pace so this time I need to be this much faster… I did that a lot this year which only added to the pressure.
I love to race so it was no surprise I went out guns blazing. Within the first half of the year I’d already raced: the mile, two mile, 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon and marathon. Yes, it added up to 17 races in 6 months. I was able to PR in the 10k and the marathon this spring but there were a lot of other missed race opportunities.
Plantar Fasciitis is apparently the theme (so far) of 2014. I’ve always known this injury was “out there” and when I heard other runners talk about it I thought to myself, “I’m so glad that’s not me!” I’m going to be honest- it’s been a hard injury to shake. When it first crept in around mid March I was frustrated but it was very manageable. I decided I would continue to train so long as it was under control. I stretched more, iced, rolled it and it only bothered me after my long runs. It did not bother me once during my marathon and I really thought it would just eventually go away…
Several weeks of intense speed work at the end of May and throughout June really pushed it over the edge. It went from being manageable and annoying to downright painful. Since the Fast Firecracker race in July my main mission has been recovery. After taking a few weeks off I thought I was ready to start training again. I started slowly at first but then I picked it up again and this past week I overdid it. So… I’ve temporarily put the breaks on running again and am back to my usual cross training/ lifting routine.
Here are a few things I’ve learned so far during this process:
1. Accept the injury. Sounds simple enough but it took me a while to really acknowledge that I had plantar fasciitis and I needed to take a break.
2. You can’t rush the comeback process. Healing takes time. I really liked Kara Goucher’s article on her training comeback. She had a sacral stress fracture in January and she spent 10 weeks out with her injury (she did cross train during much of this time but limited it so her body would be sure to heal) and then another ten weeks slowly building up her mileage to where it was before the injury. I have decided that when I do start running again in another week or two I am going to slowly move up my mileage. It will take time to build back up but I am in no hurry.
3. Don’t worry about future races. This might not be hard for some people but when you love to race it can be a big temptation. I have a list of regular local races that I like to keep on my racing calendar. I have a hard time saying no to any of them because they are local, cheap, and/ or for a good cause. It took me a while to accept that I’m injured and I’m not doing myself any favors by putting unrealistic race expectations on myself. I need to heal and not put myself in situations that tempt me to push myself to do more than I’m ready to do. I had originally planned to run in a nearby 5k this past weekend but after I started experiencing foot pain early last week (due to some poor training decisions on my part) I decided to call it off. Tentatively in the back of my mind I had planned/ hoped I would be ready for a 20K and a half marathon later this month. Is that going to happen? No. As much as I wish it could I will not be ready- physically or mentally.
4. Remember there is (A LOT) more to life than running. We all know this but do our everyday actions really show this? I love running (obviously- this is a running blog) and it is so easy to get caught up in my training schedule, my races and any and all things running related. BUT… running does not define me as a person. My value does not depend on a time on a finish line clock or even a hard day’s practice. God has placed MANY special people around me who mean more to me than my own life and running fast is not my ultimate purpose on this earth.
5. I am not in control. I’m not. I like to think I’m in control but I believe God often uses running (or not running) to teach me important lessons that I am probably too hard headed to learn on my own. He’s blessed me with many amazing running related experiences throughout my life and it’s easy to thank him for those. I know I need to also thank Him for the these times- even though I don’t understand the why or how long. I just need to be patient and trust Him. (Easier said than done, right?) I am learning more about patience, humility, trust, and being happy in all things. This has been HARD and I still have a long way to go but it’s actually very freeing knowing that I’m not in charge of this situation.
One of these days (hopefully soon!) I will get back to hard core training and racing but for now I am trying to be content with where I am. It’s not easy but I know it’s where I need to be right now.