Well, I'm injured. It's not surprising (marathon training together with a pretty overbearing, fairly obsessive triathlon training schedule in July and August) -- nor is it new. I've had a "tweak" in my ITB (that pesky band!) since the 16 mile run in marathon training -- which was now about a month ago. I've been rolling and stretching it religiously, but it still tweaks every now and again, just to remind me that it's there.
I've been focusing more on swimming (and biking) since I started feeling the tweak, but now that I'm suddenly very one-dimensional, I have a craving to run more. Plus, during the run at Triamerica, I ran consistent 9:00/9:30s without feeling a single twinge -- so I feel like I'm on the mend. And this week in marathon training I'm doing 10-12 miler for a long run (next week is the Mother Of All Long Runs -- the 20 miler) so I felt like I could be a little less ... cautious. Couple all of that with a really strong desire to work off part of a chocolate bar that I ate after lunch, and I decided to go running last night after I got home.
And what a great run it was... I strapped on the i-pod, listened to some really, really relaxing tunes, and started my 1/2 mile walk to where I start running on the lakefront path. And once I started running, I felt myself get into a nice, very very slow, groove. The lake was gorgeous - slate blue, almost matching the sky, and it was nice and overcast - about 73 degrees. Perfect running weather. Gulls were hanging out everywhere, and there were fewer people to dodge, and it was just generally perfect. Every once in a while, I'd try to pick up the speed -- and that attempt would be answered with a Zwing from my ITB. So that answered that -- no fast running for a while. And by "fast" -- I mean anything under 11:00. Yes. 11:00. So I pondered this as I was running along (running, mind you - not jogging. Jogging implies lack of effort.) and I realized that two years ago, when I started running and being more active, that I would have KILLED for an 11:00 mile. In fact, I would have killed for the ability to run four miles at once (which is what I did last night very easily, once I decided to let my body, rather than my brain and my ridiculous expectations of what I "should" be able to do control my pace). So my run last night turned into a wonderful reverie... looking back at relationships, jobs, friends that have and have not withstood my personal running boom. Looking back at how different my life was only one year ago -- and how my running changed every aspect of my life.
I think of these things often -- in fact, I tell my story to pretty much anyone who will listen (it's a long story, and I'm thinking it may require multiple installments for purposes of this page). But it's different when I go through it in my head. Little snapshots of moments float by me. Remnants of emotions that I felt at the time surface. The longing for a new friend. The annoyance that she wanted me to run with her. The fear that I couldn't excel in something. The disappointment when she didn't show up for our morning run (multiple, multiple times). The wonder at the beauty of the lakefront. The embarassment of how slow I was, and then the slowly emerging pride as I got faster and more comfortable. And the wonderful acceptance of myself, finally, even though I wasn't the fastest. And the pride at my first races... it goes on and on.
Funny that an injury made me go slowly, and that going slowly gave me the time to remember what life was like two years ago, when going that speed without hacking up a lung was a still a dream. I guess being injured isn't all that bad, as long as you keep it in perspective...
Be well, and train smart...
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