I will not be completing a marathon this year.
I would love to be able to blame my health issues; with the Fibromyalgia increasing the risk of injury and the immune disorder inhibiting healing, no one would question me.
I would love to be able to blame my schedule; between work, school, family, volunteering, and personal projects, it can be understandably difficult to set aside time for training.
I would love to be able to blame my finances; various wraps and supports, proper running shoes, and event registrations all come with a price-tag attached.
I would love to blame any number of things, but while all of the above contribute to some degree, the biggest factor preventing me from achieving my goal of completing a marathon this year is me.
Injuries are a fact of running. Sometimes they're the result of dumb luck, other times your body just blows a flat without any noticeable warning. It happens. If you're smart, you rest, you accommodate, and you heal before moving on. For what must be deeply profound psychological reasons, this is a lesson I just can't seem to learn.
Last week, I tried out a new-to-me treadmill map that runs along the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. (For those unfamiliar, some treadmills allow users to download maps that automatically adjust the incline to match the topography of a particular route.) As it turns out, Cape Town, South Africa isn't terribly flat:
I finished the Cape Town map alternating between walking at 2-3mph and jogging at 4mph. My inexperience with incline running, coupled with my ignorance in regard to the muscle groups utilized, resulted in a strained gluteus medius. This is where a smart person rests and accommodates the affected muscle until it has fully healed before taking their first tentative steps back into their running routine. I, on the other hand, am apparently not that smart.
Even though the ache in my right hip was still rousing me from sleep a few times a night,
and even though the muscle was markedly stiff,
and even though I hadn't recovered my previous range of motion,
and even though the first few steps after a prolonged period of inactivity were still accompanied by a visible limp...
I fired up the treadmill last night and hopped on.
After a brief warm up, I started in on my routine jogging intervals. My hip was sore pretty much from the start. About five minutes in, I noticed that my right knee was aching a bit, realized that I had forgotten to put on my support, and then decided I could do without it for the measly mile I intended to run. About 10 minutes in, I began experiencing a rather unpleasant cramping sensation in the Achilles tendon of my right ankle. As the pain in my ankle intensified I began stretching it during the walking intervals by taking extra long, lunging strides. I lowered my jogging speed from 4mph to 3.5mph. I started straddling the belt every few steps to rotate my foot before stepping back on. Finally, at around the 17 minute mark, I jabbed the big red STOP button, started a rousing chorus of "ow, ow, ow, ow, ow", and retreated from the treadmill to the bedroom where I yanked off my shoes, whimpered, rubbed my rapidly swelling ankle, tweeted my pain, and then iced and elevated the offended appendage as instructed in reply.
Had I used my brain, my g.m. would likely have healed completely by, say... this Sunday, and I could have resumed my running routine next Monday morning without incident. I did not, however, use my brain. Instead, I proceeded like an impatient twat with no respect for her own body and now I'm dealing with both a re-strained g.m. AND a pulled Achilles tendon, both of which are now stressing my weak right knee.
Logically, I know the sky wouldn't fall if I rested a day longer than I actually needed to, but logic apparently can't stop my psyche from bullying my sense of self-worth and that affects my judgement. The VERY NEXT DAY after an injury, that "helpful" little voice in the back of my mind starts in with assurances that I could probably do just a little bit as long as I took it easy. By the time healing is actually in sight, that little voice is screaming at me about what a worthless pussy I am. WTF?
Anybody else deal with this? If so, how do you shut that little voice up?