Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Born Too Dumb

As bloggers go I must say I’m quite lazy. Or is it that I prefer to write when I’m inspired. Just the same, today’s inspiration comes from running injuries. Yes it’s an ugly thought and I don’t like talking about and I don’t like hearing about it but I have one so now you must read my literary whining.

After maybe 10 years of non-stop running and feeling somewhat invincible I became injured, here’s how it started. Last year I started training for a triathlon while I was training for the New York City marathon and while I was training for a random 50 miler I wanted to do after that and by the way I was also going to run the Steamtown marathon about 3 weeks before NYC, but that was OK since it was in my 50 mile training plan to run 26 miles both those weekends.

Now I know some of you might say OMG, “classic over training” Well that’s only somewhat true. I’ve done this kind of roadwork before and it’s worked out fine for me.

What happened in my eyes is part because the bike that I was training on for my triathlon is way to big on me, and I happen to use this as a commuter bike as well. On top of that I one day put in too many miles in central park while running.

It was a raining day and I was to put in 30 miles that day and I did. In Central Park. You know with all the hills and hard pavement, in the pouring rain. After that my left leg was never the same, turned into mild IT band (never had it before) and I never let it recover.

I had to bail on the Steamtown marathon because I had to stay in town but I did those 26 miles anyway and I was already burned out (thanks to all that biking and swimming) By the time I go to the NYC marathon in November I was calm and mentally ready, hell it was only 26.2 miles and I’m ready to do 50.

Well by mile 6 I knew I wasn’t going to do any personal best. My mind was telling me I was faster but I’ve been training for an ultra (which makes you slower.) Anyway halfway through I was in trouble and by mile 16 the race was over and I did the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, I walked the last ten miles. Yes I finished the marathon but it finished me as well. My IT band was in terrible shape at the finish, my leg couldn’t even bend and I was in pain, I beat myself up about this all the time. “I should have just dropped out,” I keep telling myself, but what did I know, I always bounced back and quickly. I would go on 24-mile long runs then go to the gym and then yoga after that, and sometimes even bike over to a friends place and hang out only to bike back later that evening.

Things are different now. After NY I bailed on the 50 miler and went and did a 40 mile run instead, oh I limped all the way through it but it felt good to finish.

My big mistake is that I ran through the winter, I should have taken time off but I kept going and my IT was now a problem that I would have to deal with on a foam roller before and after every run (joy!)

After running another terrible marathon in NJ (check my race report for that disaster) and not feeling much pain or agony it would seem that I was OK. But wait, did I mention I read ‘born to run’? Yes I did! And it was awesome; I loved everything about the book except what it left in its wake. The minimalist running movement. Well maybe not so minimalist, runners love their gadgets and toys and useless arm warmers (yes useless, put on a long sleeve shirt you look like a dorky super hero.) So then what does it mean to be a minimalist runner? You should where light weight trainers, racing flats, vibrams, or run barefoot.

I chose the safest of all of those options and wore lightweight trainers, and found out that what I was telling the barefoot people also applied to me. “These are the concrete streets of NYC and the endless pounding is going to catch up with you.” Yes it did, and in the form of neroma. This is when you have a nerve that sort of feels like a pebble in your forefoot, except it makes it very painful to run. So I did the only thing I could do, stop running, and for a month. When I returned to running it was because I had been t acupuncture twice (very helpful) but now I am just out of gas running even 6 miles, plus as helpful as acupuncture was I am starting to feel the pain again and though I would like to rest I signed up for the NYC marathon and would like to start training like everyone else.

I am icing every day, and I’m back in my stability shoes and I curse that ‘born to run’ book every time I go out and see some idiot looking for attention by wearing those silly Vibrams or by putting there bare feet on the filthy streets of New York. Grrrrrr!

P.S. running barefoot doesn't make you a better or faster runner it just makes you look like someone who read a book and is now trying to appear like they know some magical secret to being a great runner. Remember everyone in that book wore something on there feet except 2 runners, the 2 that didn't come close to winning that race in Mexico.

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