It didn't take long before that mileage building took it's toll and I was busy trying to deny that I was injured. I slowed things down and cut back my mileage hoping that I hadn't sabotaged my marathon, but unfortunately the damage had been done. I will let my training since the first of the year speak for itself, but you can see when it started to hurt and when I started to cut the frequency of my runs back to hopefully keep healthy.
The weeks leading up to the marathon the running slipped drastically as I decided it would not be wise for me to push forward to the marathon and dropped back to the half marathon. The half marathon went fairly well considering all the circumstances, but by that time my running schedule was nothing like it was before, it was sporadic and unplanned at best, and a chore much of the time.
It has taken me nearly 45 days for me to get to the point where I am confident saying that I have beat this injury. I am not ready to say 100%, but I will offer a 99% up here and there. As hard as it is to keep positive during an injury I am finding that coming back following an injury can be almost as difficult as the injury itself.
I have had times when I have had to stop running completely because of injury. I can think of my broken collar bone in 2008, and a pulled groin in 2007. Both of these injuries made it physically difficult to build back the lost base, but mentally I was ready. I had been chomping at the bit the entire time to get back to the roads, and I was ready for the challenge.
This time, however, it has been much different. It has been different because I never stopped running, I just changed my schedule and ran when it was convenient and when it fit in. I wasn't running a set schedule, and I didn't have a plan. The effects of this meant that I started sleeping in much more than I have since I started my journey in early 2007. Since I didn't have a schedule or commitment, on the days I was planning to run in the morning, more times than not I rolled over and went back to sleep.
And so.... I find my self struggling - struggling to get myself to bed on time so I can wake when the 5am rooster crows (figuratively speaking - if we had one close by I am sure one of my neighbors would find a way to quiet it permanently). This week, however, marks my first week of taking this really seriously.
I decided over the weekend that there would be no excuses and that I would be on the road shortly after 5am Monday morning. It was not easy, but I was able to make the first day happen. Tuesday was not bad because it was the day for our normal Tuesday Night Running Group, and the week we were going to say goodbye to Trey, our long time fearless running leader. (Who can be found on Dailymile, Facebook, Twitter, and at his blog www.uphillrunning.com)
The trouble came today when I was returning after Wednesday being a day off (Don't forget that building mileage too fast rule!) Last night I set all my clothes out and I set all the alarms. The plans were made but the lingering thoughts of a colder than normal morning in the forecast was whittling away at my best intentions.
Today didn't end up a total loss, but it nearly did. I got stuck at work late with some pressing issues and all I could see was my chance at a run slipping away tonight as well. I was hungry, and really wanted more than a light snack on my way home from work, but I resisted and only ate a Cliff Bar. I was able to get home and get out the door for an easy 3.1 miles before eating a late dinner. It was what I needed to keep the momentum that I had started earlier this week.
Keep in mind, most of us are not professionals. We are sometimes crazy, committed, and even obsessed but life still gets in the way of our best intentions and throws us off course. What defines us is how we fight to stay on course, and how we return when we are thrown into the ditch and left for dead. If you have been struggling coming back from an injury, don't lose hope. The injury will pass, and your motivation, dedication, and desire will return and get you back to that finish line!