An Imperfect Runner

Can I just write another 2016 recap!?!? That would be so much more enjoyable than writing about my current life/running situation.

Oh well, life isn’t always PRs, great races, stellar training runs and good times.  If that was all I wrote about then I wouldn’t be a genuine blogger and I certainly would’t be the type of blog that I, personally, enjoy reading.  Some of my favorite bloggers and blog posts/instragram posts are from people who are authentic and talk about it ALL. They share about how they cope with an injury or other hardships, they talk about things that go wrong and they are not afraid to reveal their weaknesses.  These are the type of blogs I gravitate to because they are relatable and inspiring.  It either helps me stay opptimisic and less lonely when I am going through an injury or it makes me realize how lucky and grateful I should feel when I am healthy.

So where am I at right now?  Well, everyday seems to be different and I am just trying to figure out what is right for me at the moment.  I took this past week off (Sunday, January 1st – Saturday, January 7th).  A couple posts ago, I talked about how much I hate resting and need to do better with it but every once in a while, my mind and body connect and I realize, WOW I really need a break and then boom, just like that, I am ready to take a week off and just focus on my workload.  This happened last Saturday for me.  My vacation was coming to an end and I realized that I didn’t get much done in terms of housework and classwork.  I spent most of my vacation doing rehab, cross training and just stressing.  With only 2 more days left of vacation, I decided to just do the things I put off, not stress/think about my injury and and kick off a great rest week.  It was hard to watch everyone post about their FIRST RUN OF THE NEW YEAR, but I also knew that what I was doing was what I needed…and its always nice sleep in, get work done and prepare for school to start back up again.  The week off flew by and before I knew it, it was Friday.  I planned to do a short comeback run on Saturday morning to see how things were feeling.  I was very nervous because I knew that it could result in very frustrating self if, after a week off, I was still battling the same pain.  At the same time, I was mentally prepared for that risk/frustration and decided that if things didn’t work out then I would come to terms with Boston training being put on the back burner and just go back to the things I love and can do pain free.

Saturday rolled around and I set out for my run.  My goal was to just think and run as if it were like any other run and I wasn’t battling any aches and pains.  I felt great for the first mile..YAY! Mile 2 hit and I was still feeling pretty good but my hip flexor was more present than it was in the beginning.  Around 2.5, I could feel it more and more.  I decided to just call it at 3 because I am not about to fall back into the hole that I just spent a week trying to climb out of.

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It never reached a level of pain but I could feel it, so I guess there are positives and negatives to this run.  I ended may run and went right to Crossfit to do some mobility work and upper body.  But really, I just needed advice from my Crossfit coach …she always helps me sort out my thoughts/feelings/decisions.  I talked to her about my frustration and my desire to just break away from the running and just focus on Crossfit and hot yoga until I can feel my hip flexor improving.  As crazy at is sounds, that is always how I have dealt with aches and pains in past marathon cycles.  If something bothered me, I would cut 1 of the 3 weekly runs and do Crossfit in place of my run with some extra rowing/endurance work.  I made sure to not hinder the healing process by being cautious and alert when doing movements and steered clear from movements that triggered some discomfort.  The joy of Crossfit is that there are so many movements.  It is easy to modify a workout to cater to your body.  Ideally, you want to do the prescribed movements or modify a movement but keep the targeted body part the same.  But sometimes you just need to change the movement all together and that is OK. Sometimes it is just a matter of not doing the prescribed weight but keeping the movement the same.  With a great group of Crossfit coaches and 3 years under my belt, I can listen to my body and make the necessary adjustments. Despite having a not-so- perfect hip flexor (my Yoga teacher once told me to never talk badly about a muscle..I laughed but strangely adopted the motto!) , there are SO many things I can do pain free and I haven’t come across a Crossfit movement that irritates it yet. I don’t want to sit out and just focus on what I can’t do, when there is so much I can do.

What I am trying to express is that I need to stay happy, healthy  and active while I wait for my hip to feel better.  I do not want to be on a bike for hours feeling like a handicapped runner.  I want to do the things that I love and can still do!

At this point in the injury and training, I need to put myself in a good place because right now I am too negative and overwhelmed and that is not the way I want to be.  I was far too upset on Thursday evening because during school I decided to put on my knee compression sleeve (I bought and wore on the 2 runs back from my knee pain)  and within an hour of wearing it around my classroom, my hip flexor flared up…JUST WALKING AROUND MY CLASSROOM.  I now know what originally caused my hip flexor pain and can eliminate the root problem which is a step in the right direction.  But to have my hip flexor flare up from just walking around and after 4 days off really bothered me.  I went to my evening class and decided to catch up on filling in my Lauren Fleshman BELIEVE training journal (while listening to the professor, of course!). After filling in a week of cross training and rest while sitting with a bothered hip flexor and then flipping to a Check-In page…you bet it all just flowed right out.

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Let me just say, I am not depressed and you should not be worried about me! It was just one of those moments where everything bottles up and you hit that point where you need to let it all out.  I try always try my best to stay calm and positive when I am stressed about things and keep my feelings to myself because I know there is so much more to life than the little things I am stressing about.  I don’t want to be someone that lets running/working out rule their life..but keeping emotions to yourself usually means you have moments where you need to break.  I had a little of that on paper on Thursday night and then again yesterday after having a long talk with my Crossfit coach.  I had to just let it all out and when I was done, I felt like I was ready to change things around.  Sometimes you just got to hit that breaking point so you can see and realize the need for change.  When I was upset yesterday, I reminded myself of the type of runner I am.  I am an imperfect runner.  Sometimes I show up to start lines undertrained, sometimes I show up overtrained – sometimes I want to race, sometimes I am just ready to start and get it over with.  But no matter what, when that gun goes off..I am competitor. I run hard and I run to the best of my ability.

I needed to remind myself of this so I scrolled back in my Instagram and I came across my Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2014.

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I ran a 1:29 yet I barely ran in preparation for this race.  I was in a phase where I was focused on body building and figure competitions…a phase I like to pretend never happened!! I probably ran at most 6 miles leading up to this race but did a ton of HIIT work and lifting. I remember being SO nervous for this race because the half marathon distance was very long to me at the time and I had never run a half under-trained.  It was a HARD race. I remember feeling horrible around mile 8/9 but just fighting so darn hard and finishing so proud of myself.   I have run faster half times since this race but in the last year (and more), I have run about 5 half marathons and have not run faster than 1:30 despite being well-trained and being in the midst of marathon training.

No matter what my training has looked like, I am athlete. I work hard to keep my body healthy and strong.  I am a fighter in races and am capable of solid times despite an irregular training schedule.  I have said this in SO many previous blog posts and my Crossfit coach summed it up perfectly yesterday during our little heart-to-heart.  When I design my own training cycles, like for the last 5 marathons, they are not flawless.  I have moments where I just feel overtrained and my body screams at me but it is simply my body’s way of saying, “Hey, just chill for a day, the muscles need a little bit of a break so that something seriously bad doesn’t happen.”…so I listen, back off for a couple days and then regroup.  I haven’t had a serious injury in all my training cycles, have made it to the start line of every marathon and have consistently chipped away at new PRs.

So anyone can look at my previous training cycles and judge them.  They are not your typical marathon training cycles but I am not your typical runner.  That is totally fine with me.  Maybe I’ll never break sub 3… but I refuse to say that my style of training won’t allow for that.  Maybe my road to Boston 2 Big Sur is not ideal.  Maybe the vision I had for a training cycle changes for uncontrollable reasons. No matter what happens, I don’t want to lose the balance.  I don’t want to lose sight of the things I truly love.  And I certainly don’t want to feel like I am not capable of racing strong despite the obstacles and imperfections in my training.

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 BE YOU, DO YOU!

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