07 June 2017

Expectations vs. Limitations

"You'll never be more than alive
You'll never do more than survive
Until you expect it"
~10,000 Maniacs - Few And Far Between

Yes, I've gotten to the point where I'm quoting favorite songs from my teen years for inspiration. (On that same playlist, "I think about the time, I kicked a boy 'til he cried," The Sundays.)

I've been loosely following a training schedule to get ready for my two ten-mile races. This is the first week where I'm feeling the craziness of trying to fit it all in. Mike's out of town and I have some volunteer commitments at Muffin's school. I can only run during her school hours anyway, which limits me if I have any other plans during the day. A couple hours of writing/working is nice to accomplish regularly. I also need to eat, and feed Muffin, which means I need to make time for grocery shopping and cooking. I'll let the dishes and laundry pile up for days, though. It's not as urgent as the eating and the running.

My weekday runs this week are supposed to be a five miler and an eight miler. Yesterday I planned to run but when I woke up I wasn't feeling it and went to the climbing gym instead. I'm perfectly happy with that decision because I felt great by the end of the day and I woke up ready to run this morning. With my IT band acting up, though, I was hesitant to commit to eight miles. Generally I tell my body, "Run X miles," and my body does it without questioning me. I think that's how I got injured in the first place, however, so I need to rethink that strategy.

Part of me really wanted to get the eight miles over with because this morning was the only time I have until next Monday to fit in a long run. The me of two or three years ago would have said, "Fuck it! Run the eight miles and care not about the tiredness and injuries. You'll bounce back!" But the me of right now really doesn't want to be in pain if it can be avoided.

I chose a route that put me at Metro stations at mile five and mile eight so I could gauge how I felt along the way and decided when to bag it and head home. I kind of knew I was only going to run five miles but I didn't want to rule out eight until I'd honestly assessed how my IT band felt.

Things felt not great. Despite rolling and stretching, my quad was tight and there was some tenderness in my calf. Between miles three and four I had a running dialogue in my head between younger me and current me about stopping at five miles or not. Older, wiser, lamer, safer current me won. I detoured off the path and around a small park before arriving at a Metro station at 5.1 miles. It was absolutely the right choice. By the time I'd gone through the turnstile and gotten onto the train platform, my left calf had seized up in what I assume is anger at having taken it out running. 

Four days of walking and yoga should prepare me for a longer run on Monday. I've trained for enough races to know that I still have plenty of time to get those eight- and ten-mile runs in before the first race at the end of July. I'm still trying to figure out my new limitations before I can tell my body what I expect from it.

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