BACKSLIDING // SET BACK CITY?
I had a whole lot of mixed feelings following yesterday’s 4 mile run…A LOT.
On the one hand, I was just 3 seconds shy of beating my fastest 4 mile time post injury (36:30). That was really exciting to see once I reached the 4 mile mark. I also had pretty consistently fast miles splits for the first 3 miles. Another really great sign that I’m getting back to 100% So, what’s the problem? Well, at some point during the first 2 miles or so I felt pain like I haven’t felt since pre-injury way back like 5 or 6 weeks ago. It came out of nowhere, and scared me even more than that super creepy scarecrow that I’m still not used to seeing on my runs.
Clearly, based on my times, it didn’t impact my running the way it should have. I mean, for a split second when I was crossing the rail road tracks, 2.5 miles in, I considered cutting things short and just heading back to the gym. It isn’t fun or really all that smart to run when you’re in pain. But, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let the pain just come out of no where and ruin what was otherwise a super fantastic and enjoyable run. So, I pushed on, telling myself that this was most certainly not a bad omen or sign of more terrible/painful runs to come.
Naturally, having to train legs after a run like that wasn’t what I wanted to do.
However, Tuesday is my light weight leg day…and I follow my training schedule for lifting/running pretty religiously. So, needless to say, I didn’t go as heavy as possible for 10 reps. This most weight I squatted, both front+back squat, was 65 lbs. The rest of my leg workout went fairly well all things considered, until I decided it would be a great idea to try decline sit ups. This time last year, I could do several sets of 15 decline sit ups while holding a 15 lb. medicine ball. Now, it is honestly a struggle to do full decline sit ups with no weight. But, then I got an even greater idea…why not attempt these bad boys with a “little” 3 lb medicine ball.
When you have a pelvic injury, and you go to a chiropractor or doctor, they are very specific about avoiding any exercise that causes you pain OR involved arching your back a whole lot. Well, friends, that’s exactly what decline sit ups do. Even when you can only decline back like 5 or 6 inches while holding onto the bench. So, when I made the dramatic leap of holding that supposed “light” weight medicine ball…things were not great. My entire body was pretty much shaking with each and every decline. Not just a little bit of shaking, but an “I don’t even know what the heck is going on here” amount of shaking.
I had no idea if this mornings run would happen at all…let alone if I would be able to tackle the 5 miles I had scheduled.
Still, I took off just as fast as I do every run. And, with a mindset to just do my best no matter what happened. Well, everything imaginable happened on this run. First off, no pelvic pain. So, that’s a huge win! Bad news, sore, sore, sore calves and hamstrings. Oh and what felt like about 1,000% humidity because Iowa weather is super unpredictable/crazy. Mile 1: 9:11. The best way to describe this mile would be, “OMG I am somehow running pain free today, let’s push the envelope as far as possible…who cares about pacing.”
Of course, from there on my paces slowed quite a bit. The humidity/sore muscle combination really is not a good one for running in general…let alone a 5 miler. I basically was working my butt off effort wise, but getting no where. I legit felt like I was running in place the majority of the time. My arms were moving like crazy, but my legs were just not feeling it. Thankfully, this run was made immensely more bearable my meeting some new deer friends during lap 1. They were the cutest baby deer I have ever seen up close. Even better, they were totally not afraid of me and just watched me run by while they sat curled up in the grass.
The best feeling, aside from being done, was seeing my new friends again during lap 2.
For me, lap 2 is always the hardest mental part of most of my long runs. I’m tired and ready for either new scenery or the finish line (sometimes both). So, just seeing their ears standing up in the distance gave me a reason to keep running. Even long after I had passed them. Until, I had scaled the mini hill without getting the train break that I had so desperately been hoping for the entire time I was running towards the tracks. When I got to the top and saw that I was only at 3.7 miles…I just had to take a minute to pause and catch my breath.
I was hot, sweaty, and breathing super hard. I had no clue how on earth I was going to manage to run these last 1.3 miles without slowing down to a crawl…or taking another break. After a moment, I decided I might as well just get back to running. While I’m totally not ashamed of having to take a break like this on long+humid runs…I am just terrified of someone seeing me and then making the comment that “real runners don’t take breaks” or “you’re not in that good of shape if you have to take a break mid run.”
It wasn’t easy, pretty, or how I pictured it…but I made it the entire 5 miles.
I really too the initiative and kicked things into gear after my brief rest on Main Street. I checked my watch at least half a million times to see if I was “there yet.” And, I looked/felt like an absolute mess. My times, however, were not a mess at all. Sure, my last 5 miler was slightly faster. But, it was ran in completely different conditions with a train break. So, running an average 9:34 pace is nothing to be disappointed about. I kicked ass on this run. I never gave up on the idea of going the distance. I never gave into the excuses.
So, was yesterday’s painful experience a bit of a set back? A backslide? Maybe. Will I let it impact any of my runs going forward or my goals pace wise…Hell No. I’m still going to push myself to nail PR’s, run as fast as humanly possible, and lift all the heavy weight. One bad or painful run does not mean anything. Period. It doesn’t determine your current level of success or the level of success you aspire to reach as a runner. It’s one run. One snippet. One blur in your running journey. You get through it. You process it. And you move on to better miles.