Distance runners. I like to think we’re a special breed. I’ve considered myself a part of this group for only about a year (a second in time compared to a lot of the people I bump into,) but it’s become such a huge and necessary part of my life. Even though I complain about it constantly (and regret the lack of sleep,) nothing beats starting the day with a 10 mile run.
The alarm goes off at 4:30am pretty much every week day morning, I roll out of bed before 5, and I’m outside pounding the pavement by 5:30. At least, that’s what I’d like to do every day. Recently, I’ve been having some foot/knee/toenail issues that have been benching me about two days a week.
Because of that benching, that’s two days a week where I feel unfulfilled, cranky, and off-kilter, because my day didn’t start out the right way. Even on those “rest” days, I still get up ungodly early and go to the gym for strength, yoga, cross-training, or all three.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a prime example. I lost a toenail on my Tuesday morning run, and my knee was in some serious pain, so I felt forced to take the day off from the trail. It’s always a hard decision to stay in; especially with only about five weeks left to train for my next half marathon, and how badly I want to PR… but I also want to finish strong. The race I have coming up is the same race that started this whole journey, and I want to put forth the effort to make it another memorable year.
The other thing I have to keep in mind are my summer plans. I’ve recently been contracted with Spirit of Atlanta for the 2015 Color Guard (read all about that here,) which means I really have to start being smart about ‘pushing through’ injuries. Drum corps is a very physically demanding activity, and it’s absolutely imperative for the corps members to listen to their bodies, and be in the best physical shape possible before heading off for spring training and tour.
And that, my friends, is what has led me to having to take four days off in the past two weeks. The knee pain is starting to subside (maybe this strength training is starting to take in my hips now, finally,) so hopefully I’ll be back to the daily 8-10 miles I miss so dearly.
In other running news, I’ve been watching as many documentaries as my time allows me to, and this week, I’ve re-watched Spirit of the Marathon and Desert Runners. Spirit of the Marathon is probably one of the most well-known docs in the running world; centered around six trainees for the 2005 Chicago Marathon, it’s well produced, executed, and captures the pride and joy that (I imagine) comes with finishing a 26.2 mile race. Desert Runners is about four runners who set out for the ultimate long-distance challenge: to run an ultramarathon in the four major deserts of the world in a calendar year. Talk about inspiration.
Anyway, these films have been inspiring and have made me miss running more than ever after the past two mornings of having to skip it, and I’m so ready for a nice 12-miler this weekend. Still beyond excited for my fourth half marathon and fifth medal to add to the post-race collection (knock on wood, assuming I finish.)
Distance running dominates my mornings and is the highlight of the average day. It’s taught me to push through things like never before. After all… If I can run 15 miles in -20 weather with wind, I can power through whatever homework I get thrown at me. Right?