Friday, October 16, 2015

I Shouldn't Even...But I Will

Well here it is, marathon weekend in Toronto.

Most of this year has been a running struggle. My body has felt tired and weak. I haven't been able to stay clear of aches, pains and strains. It felt like each time I began to feel strong again, something would resurface or something new would present.
The acute Achilles tendon injury I experienced in the Spring has gotten better but left over is bilateral Achilles tendinitis that bothers me all of the time and I just live with it and run with it as I haven't taken the down time to let it heal.
My hips, the right side especially, are achy and sore and stiff much of the time. The odd day, after physio they feel better but after a day or two the pain creeps back.
My left calf bugs me off and on. There's a strain in there but it, like my other complaints, irritates me enough to be uncomfortable but doesn't worsen with running, so I have carried on.

When I get out of bed in the morning, I walk like an old woman and it takes stretching and about an hour on my feet before I start to loosen up and walk right. Through out the day if I spend any length of time sitting, which I do, I will cease up again and require a 'getting going' time frame before my lower half softens and relaxes. I find myself starting to play the age card. This is the first time in my life that I have ever considered age to be a possible factor. This season I have cross trained and strength trained more than in the past because I understand the benefits of strengthening weakness to avoid injuries but to this point it hasn't been a buffer.

No doubt, many of you reading this are thinking , "cry me a river' and I get it. I know that lots of us have complaints that we are able to run through, that aren't acute and that we manage. Running isn't kind to most bodies. My fear is that this is my new normal. That I have flirted with my training threshold and that it will never be enough for Boston. Right...there is that, the previously proclaimed purposeful intention to someday qualify. Well, that is someday and for the moment there is no pressure to BQ. The more immediate pressure looms on Sunday at STWM, only there isn't really any pressure. I am in no condition to perform near any level that would be considered pressure filled. There will be no BQ or PB and hopefully, there will be no DNF.

It is true, I shouldn't even...but I will because I love this race, the people and that finish line moment. I will because there has to be some reward and bright spot in a year filled with more downs than ups and for me the bright spot will be to add '2015' to my STWM shoe print tattoo. This year has been physically challenging but with those struggles something worse has set in...psychological doubt and fear. I have lost confidence in my ability and I am afraid to suffer. When the caution flag gets raised in my mind I pull up instead of pushing through. I tell myself that it is my sub conscience telling me that if I push harder there will be serious physical consequences. I tell myself 'this shouldn't feel so bad' or 'you are going to be sorry if that Achilles ruptures'. These are sensible thoughts but they creep in too easily now and it has impacted my focus. as soon as your focus is diluted then your confidence follows.

With physical and psychological weakness comes performance anxiety and finally I am left with no desire to run, at all. This is a frightening place for me to be because this is the modality that I rely on for the strength to stay sober. It is a dark place to be. I no longer love to run...there I admitted it.

Sunday is going to hurt. The marathon hurts when a person is healthy and prepared let alone being neither of those things and toeing the line. I have let go off any expectation other than enjoying some time with a few friends while running and crossing the finish line. I think once I do that, it will be time to reassess at least my short term goals to see if I can find a way to feel better and love running again.

If you see me on Sunday I sure would appreciate some run love. I will proudly be wearing my Pace & Mind singlet even though I am not racing. Please wave or shout your encouragement.