Hey there bloggies!
How are you this morning? Fabulous and excited to make today awesome? I sure hope so! I love days when I get out of bed feeling fully rested and ready to attack the day ahead of me. Today kinda feels like one of those days!
As my regular readers know, I’m currently prepping myself for the Lululemon Sea Wheeze Half Marathon on August 11th in Vancouver. My ankle injury appears to have healed fully (I think) and I’m so so happy to announce that this weekend I had an AMAZING long run. Not only was it a long run of 11.5 miles, but it was outside, and for the most part, my ankle was just fine!
I know this isn’t the first time I’ve said this over the past couple of months, but being able to run – or do any sort of physical activity in general – without pain is such a blessing. Until my Achilles tendinitis (or whatever it was) happened, I had never really experienced an injury before except for the occasional shin splints and IT band pain. It might sound like I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill, especially since there are injuries far worse than Achilles tendinitis, but this one was enough to make me feel extremely grateful for my body’s abilities.
While I was running on Saturday morning, the optimist in me was thinking about what this injury has taught me. I used to get on the treadmill first thing in the morning, most mornings during the week (with the exception of my one rest day, or 2 days when I teach spin classes) and run, run, run for 45 to 60 minutes. I’d do intervals and steady state running, tempo running, and occasionally (against my own will running on an incline. I’d cross train on days that my legs felt totally shot, but most of the time, my legs would walk the rest of me right over to “my” treadmill as if on autopilot. I’d get a great workout, but I can’t say I was really excited about each one.
Back in May when I couldn’t even walk without limping, the treadmill was out of the question. The only thing I could do that didn’t hurt was cycle, so that’s what I did, and it was hard. I regularly teach 2-3 spin classes per week, but when I plopped myself on the stationary bike and made myself do intense workouts like this one every other day, mixed with high resistance climbs and a bit of steady state cycling, I would finish sweating harder after 30 minutes than I do after running 8 to 9 miles in an hour (my average distance pre-injury).
As my foot began to feel better, I was able to do the Step Mill, and eventually about a month later, the cross trainer. The Step Mill, as I’m sure many of you can attest, could also be called the Sweat Mill because it has a way of making me look like I’ve showered with my clothes on after about 20 minutes. My strength training routine didn’t change much, apart from the replacement of any plyo moves with lower-impact options to take weight off of my heel.
When it hit me that I wasn’t able to run for a few weeks at least, part of me got really worried. How was I supposed to maintain my fitness? How was I supposed to get my daily endorphin rush that only running seems to be able to trigger? And most importantly, how was I going to be ready for my half marathon in August? Was I going to have to pull out of the race?
As weeks of cross training passed, I soon realized that despite the dull and sometimes shooting pain in my foot, I was really enjoying my workouts. Not having the treadmill as a default forced me to be creative and make up workouts that rivaled the intensity of my hard runs. I used to look at cross training as less effective than running itself, the ‘ultimate calorie burner’ in my mind. But this is totally not the case any more.
Over the past 2 months, I’ve crushed some really challenging circuit workouts, completed more tabata workouts than I ever thought I would, and appear to have gained a lot of strength in my upper body thanks to applying more focus on lifting heavy. All of this has taught me that I don’t need to run every day to keep myself feeling and looking fit.
Today, I feel so much more enthusiastic about my runs. I actually get out of bed in the morning and I’m excited to get going, which was totally not the case before. For the past 4-5 years, I’ve somehow developed this self-imposed pressure to run, and as Sara Calabro says in her article, “How to Become One of Those People Who Loves to Run”, often the pressure of feeling that we have to run is what causes us to dislike it. Now, I no longer feel like I have to run.
I’ll admit right here that I don’t feel prepared for my race. The other day, I dug out the training plan I’d originally intended to follow and by now, my mileage was way higher and my training paces way faster than I’m currently running. But knowing that I’ve run several half marathons and a full marathon before, and that I’ve done my best to maintain my overall fitness while also healing from an injury makes me feel ok with that.
Will I run a sub-1:33 half and beat my PR? Probably not, but I’m ok with that too. My new training plan is to increase mileage slowly over the few weeks that remain between now and August 11th, and perhaps incorporate a 13 miler during my last long run. On race day, my goal is to finish 13.1 and enjoy every bit of my time in Vancouver to the fullest. If that happens to involve enormous amounts of sushi, yoga, and spending too much on Lululemon apparel, then so be it. 😉
So tell me…
- If you’ve dealt with an injury before that stopped you from doing your usual workouts, no matter how small, what did you learn from it?
- Have you ever had expectations or goals for yourself that you had to re-frame due to an unexpected circumstance?