I started running nine months ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. In that time I have learned many lessons, some the very hard way. I have also transformed myself — mind and body — and have come to a place of peace. Running calms me, inspires me, clears me and grounds me. In 2010, I ran two half-marathons and exceeded my expectations both times. Running those races also stirred a fire in me — a fire that makes other people think I’m plain crazy.
I suppose it might be that running races keeps me constantly focused on a new goal. Or it’s my competitive nature. Or, most probably, it feeds my addictive personality in a very healthy way.
This year I am running two full marathons and four half marathons. My first big race is the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st. I officially begin my training this week, which is kind of strange as I haven’t run in over a month due to a stress fracture. That is one of the lessons learned the very hard way. Throughout November. I was training hard for the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon in Las Vegas on December 5th. I had chronic pain from shin splints. I pretty much ignored them as I was so focused on running in Vegas and really wanted to knock my previous time out of the water.
Part two of this lesson is physiotherapy. I had no idea when I started running how important a good physiotherapist (PT) would be. Running long distances means injury, and avoiding injury and a PT can be a great tool in both the healing and avoiding parts of running. I found that my doctor just didn’t have the same kind of expertise or knowledge about running injuries. I also looked long and hard to find a PT who was also a runner; that made a huge difference.
So, I ran really hard in Las Vegas and was in pain for the entire run. After the race, walking was so painful I could barely make it back to my hotel room. And, as I had been warned, I ended up with a stress fracture in my left leg which has kept me away from running for well over a month now. Was it worth it? Totally. The medal hanging on my mirror proves it.
Mentally, it has been difficult during my healing time. I have spent hours and hours at the gym, logging hundreds of kilometers on the elliptical and spinning my brain out, but it’s just not the same as being outside. It’s not even close. I have kept my cardio up and I think my endurance will be pretty close to what it was, but my leg is weak and getting back up to those mighty long weekend runs is going to take quite a bit of work.
Can I do it? I think so. I’m more than a little nervous at this point. I’m hoping to get the “all clear” at PT this week to get back out on the road and see how my body feels. Then I will get a better idea if this marathon is going to be one I run at goal time or one where I suck it up and do the run/walk thing.
(MARATHON CRANE 10.18.09 BLV) Runners pass the ten mile mark in German Village during the Columbus Marathon in Columbus, Ohio on October 18, 2009. (Dispatch photo by Brooke LaValley)