Yesterday, at mile 2 of a scheduled 18 mile run, my body simply caved.
At a point in my run where three days earlier I had cruised, my legs were struggling, and my right hip and knee were acting like anything but stable joints. I had to stop, swallow my pride, and dial my wife to come pick me up. I simply couldn’t go any further. 2.2 miles in, I was finished.
My body has been telling me for a few weeks that something might be wrong, but I haven’t been listening. Until now. The LA Marathon is on March 17th and I keep telling myself that the pain I am feeling is just the usual pain associated with marathon training. If I just push through it, everything will be fine, just like the last time I ran the LA Marathon, 18 years ago. Some days are good, some days are bad. That’s just the way endurance training goes.
This past Tuesday’s 5 mile run was strained. Thursday’s 8 mile run was actually pretty good. I cruised through the miles ahead of my desired pace, but following the run my hips and back started screaming at me. They kept screaming, right up until the moment I started my 6 mile run on Saturday. And Saturday’s run was just painful. I fought through every stride. I really shouldn’t be surprised that my body finally said, “No more. Take a break.” So that’s what I’m going to do, give my legs a few days rest and let my body heal.
The pain in my joints is bad, but the bruise to my ego might end up being worse.
Nobody likes to fail to reach a goal, especially one they’ve made public, even if it’s one they’ve achieved before. And often it’s hard to know if a struggle you’re facing is a speed bump or a road block. I’m hoping this is just a speed bump. I wouldn’t want to have to explain to my children why the LA Marathon they’ve seen me training months for will no longer have their Dad as a participant. I’m not enjoying the prospects of that thought right now. But I’m increasingly convinced that shifting to a different exercise goal might be the right thing for my body. If missing this long run doesn’t let me heal fast enough, I may have to switch goals, even if it means my ego gets bruised in the process.
Yes, much to my dismay, evidence is mounting that I may need to pick a new mountain to climb, and a new lesson to teach my children. The one I wanted to teach them was about working hard toward a goal. Instead I may get to teach them the lesson about getting up after you fall. That one will not be as fun to teach, regardless of how important it might be.
I’m certain there are other lessons in here for me as well. I’ll save those for future posts.
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Photo: Creative Commons license via Flickr user VeggieFrog