lessons learned

I was looking back through some of my old posts from last year.  I don’t recall the summer heat being such an issue last year but then again, I realized I spent most of the summer injured.  I was hurt from mid-June through late September and I battled a nasty case of plantar fasciittis. I am a stubborn woman.  I started having pain in my left foot on my runs and since the pain wore off after a couple of miles, I dismissed it and continued to build my weekly mileage. After all, this was my summer to train and build my base mileage for a fabulous fall racing season! But the pain started to bother me all the time, even when I was not running. I would lay off a day or two, the pain would subside, and then I would spring back into my running shoes, declaring my injury healed and head out for a run! I continued this cycle for a while until about late August. But then, my foot started hurting me all the time, even when I was walking.

I finally caved and went to see an orthapedic surgeon and of course heard the news that I did not want to hear. He told me to stop running and walking completely for one month. After that, I could gradually start running again. I was so crushed. After having a baby, I worked so hard and was so desperate to get back into pre-baby running shape. Apparently, I overdid it a bit and the result was the mother of all injuries: plantar fasciitis. I was planning on some fun fall races and instead I  spent half off the fall hobbling around on a hurt foot.

I did take his advice and rested completely.  I suppose cross training would have been good but I don’t have a gym membership. Instead I went on some bike rides but mainly focused on building strength and flexibility by attending yoga classes. To this date, yoga has been a lifesaver for me for keeping the injuries at bay! I swear when my body starts to feel a little out of sorts, I know I need to get back onto the mat and practice yoga.

When it was time to start running again, I was very conservative in building my mileage. I followed the Couch to 5k running program which has walk/plan that builds you up to running three miles over the course of several weeks.  By November, I was finally able to run three miles pain free.  It was a frustrating and challenging road to overcome this injury but I think I learned a good lesson:  always listen to your body and never dismiss any form of pain that you feel when running. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. As a runner, it took me a while to get over my ego/inner voice which kept telling me to gut it out, despite the pain.  Sometimes it about training smarter, and not harder.  

So, when I went on my scheduled four mile run this morning and I felt some soreness in my left shin, I decided to cut my run short by a mile, stretch, and reevaluate my training for the week. While I love have a schedule, training plans are not etched in stone. And while I was dreaming of a winter marathon, I have decided that at this point in my life I am not mentally or physically up for this challenge. Perhaps when my heart is in it, I will aim for another full but until then, I have signed up for two amazing half marathons:

Jazz Half Marathon 10/29

Athleta Half Marathon 11/20

I hope by being smart with my training that I will learn to be aware of the red flags and avoid another prolonged layoff from my beloved sport: running.  Fall is around the corner and I want to enjoy the cool weather and not spend it sidelined from overuse.

Happy running!

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