Saturday, December 22, 2012

Running is Stupid and No One Should Ever Do It

Today I ran 3 miles.  It felt like 26.  Not quite 26.2, maybe, but pretty bad. As I was arriving back at the house and limping up the stairs I thought to myself, "last year, or even eight months ago, this would have just been a nice little jog."  I need to make it that way again, it's no one's fault but my own that 3 miles seems like an epic struggle right now.  I've had bad luck with injuries this year, but the real problem is I just lost my motivation somewhere along the way, too.

In January and February, I did push myself to come back from the same injury that cropped up again in September, and when I did start running, I made quick progress.  I had shin trouble in September, and just kept doing a whole lot of not very much for the next two months.

And even though I started running again earlier this month, it's been hard to tear myself away from work or get my lazy butt out there in bad weather to run.  Today's 3 miles in 28ish minutes (I'm guessing, forgot my watch) was a struggle, but it was great compared to the crash & burn 5K I had last week at the local Jingle Bell 5K, where it took me 3 walk breaks to finish the race.  (I accidentally erased my race review somehow, and am not especially inclined to rewrite it.)

The last few weeks have reminded me that I really don't like running in and of itself, and the only way to make it tolerable is to get myself in better shape so that I can run normal or longer distances without being a huge wheezy mess.  It also told me that there's basically no way I'm running a marathon in March, so we can write off "Comeback 2012" as a huge failure.  I'm now signed up for the half marathon at Shamrock, which seems like it might be more realistic.  Maybe a full later in the spring or in the fall of next year, or maybe never again, but that's a decision for when I'm not quite this negative.  I'd like to do at least one more full marathon, even if it's my last, but again...I'll worry about that when four miles doesn't seem like an insurmountable challenge.

This is how lazy and unmotivated I feel, lately.  Just not this cute.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fifteen Weeks

On September 22, I stopped running.  It had been a tough September, with lots of pain in my left ankle and shins.  Two weeks earlier, I'd had to stop a run when the pain in my left leg just became too much.  I'd come back with a decent five miles and thought nothing of it, but after running my last race, the Sasquatch 5K (my wife reviewed it at "Never Trade", but I never bothered), it just been bonk after bonk after bonk. On September 22, I went down to the rail trail, knowing that if I was going to have any shot at all at the Atlantic City Half Marathon, which I was going to run with no expectation of PR, anyway, I had to have a good run.  I labored through 5 miles, getting only that far because I had to in order to get back to my car.

I called my orthopedist, I deferred from the race, and most significantly, I just quit. In January, when I couldn't run, I did everything I could to stay in shape and I got right back out there and made some quick progress in my spring races.  This time, I gave into my depression and did I ate and drank a lot and did a lot of sofa exercises (like sitting on a sofa.)  In early November, when my doctor got my MRI results back (diagnosis is shinsplits, or something similar, since the placement on the leg isn't the classic case of shinsplits) and said I could start running again, I took that as "Wow. I need a couple weeks at the gym to get myself back in shape a little."  And I tried, but in the meantime I'd gotten heavier than I'd ever been. 

I started doing the elliptical at the gym, doing 45 minutes with different inclines to work different muscles, but we all know that's not the same.  When I joined my wife for a session with her personal trainer on Monday, which I'm signed on for for the next 10 weeks, I got the rude awakening of out-of-shape I'd let myself get.

My long-overdue Day of Reckoning had come at last, and I ran again.  Two miles on Thursday and three miles today, which felt like 10 and 20 miles, respectively, but it was good to be out there again.  I have 15 weeks to get ready for my third -- and let's face it, quite possibly last -- marathon, and from here on out I'm going give it everything I've got, even if it's probably too late.  I know if I can get myself up to 6-7 miles by the end of December, I'll be at the place in which my 2011 Shamrock plan began (I was ahead of schedule then!).  I can't let fatigue, work stress, or fear of failure stop me.  If I CAN run, I have to do it.  There's just not time to slack off.  I'll need to work harder than I've worked before at running, and I suspect that the next three months will my make IT band rehab look like a walk in the park.

There's a chance.  Probably not a good chance.  But there's a still a chance a chance for the revenge I've sought all year.  And I'm going to take it.