“You should think about nobody and go your own way, not on a course marked out for you by people holding mugs of water and bottles of iodine in case you fall and cut yourself so that they can pick you up - even if you want to stay where you are - and get you moving again.”
I had this feeling like I was following someone else's course...so I made a few decisions less than a month ago to address it:
Anyway, the most hits were on March 17th and 18th because, as far as my instagram content suggests, I was running the Virginia Beach Marathon... Just to catch my blog up real quick - I had been putting in some comparatively decent training for this marathon. There were blemishes and setbacks about every two weeks but compared to last year, I was finally progressing. Also progressing, unfortunately, was the level of pain; it was getting more and more severe the longer the long run got or the more "quality" I ran. From October to March I had weeks as low as 16 miles and as high as 64 for my rolling 7 with my longest long run at 21 miles... Honestly, not too shabby!
Cardiovascularly, I had no difficulty hitting prescribed Marathon Paces in the 6:40-6:50 range, and often my timed intervals that in the 6:00-6:15 range without much sweat off my back (NOTE: I made effort to slow them down to avoid injury, spoiler alert, it didn’t work!); but then some days I couldn't get through an easy 3 miles. Everything about my training cycle was inconsistent except one thing- pain. The one thing that I could always count on day in and day out With Out Fail was my Plantar Faciitis... it was just a matter of how "loud" it would be screaming that day and how long it would scream for. I only gave my coach pieces of the story, I was too afraid he’d make me take time off when I was finally going again! I was tired of playing it safe. As I was hitting higher mileage the screams were louder and longer but I felt so invested. I thought I could ice more, take more ibuprofen, stay off my feet at work, switch my shoes, elevate my feet at home, sleep more, hydrate more, take more supplements... I thought I could somehow get this inflammation to go down when I tapered... I couldn't see clear path forward, but it was a long way back... so forward I went.
On Ash Wednesday (March 6th) I made the decision to not run the marathon. My coach had asked me to call him after the workout I had scheduled for that day, but I had already had a moment of clarity, the first words out of my mouth were "I'm not doing it. It's a really stupid idea" and the first words out of his were "well this conversation is a lot easier now, I was going to tell you not to do it" ....I was relieved we were on the same page and that was that, and I felt completely sure it was the right decision. I wanted no input, no responses to it and owed no explanation. I wasn't sad, so I didn't want people feeling sad for me, I just wanted it to be over and to move forward as soon as possible. So since it was Ash Wednesday and I already had committed to less instagram, I just pulled the plug on it altogether.
It is a very interesting experience to work so hard to make your weakness a strength and then watch that new strength get so strong it actually becomes a weakness again. That's essentially what I did. I was once the runner that struggled to find any motivation and needed a pep talk every day just to get out the door. Any tiny feeling of discomfort was enough to get me back on the couch... but not anymore. I've become so persistent and so determined, and so motivated that I lost any voice of reason. One of my favorite quotes is "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reigns" and wow, was I unreasonable! I needed to find balance again.
The running community (in real life or on instagram) is a wonderful place, but it can be insanely isolating and confusing when you're injured. You're an outsider looking in wanting so badly to have a new story to share and a new race recap to write... but instead it's just the annoying small talk "how are you doing.... Oh, still injured? I hope you get better soon...." until eventually people don't even ask anymore and sometimes don't even care... Anyone else have that feeling of being surrounded by people but the loneliest you’ve been. I wanted be part of the community so bad, not an observer! But I could only ever get one foot in the door (literally, like will my left foot get its shit together, PLEASE). Maybe you'd say it's FOMO, but it wasn't Fear Of Missing Out... It didn't come from a place of Fear or Jealousy, but rather Love. Somewhere along the line I learned to love this sport and the people in it. This sport has given me all the greatest parts of my life and fondest memories; I wanted to have a positive contribution instead of another injury report!
Since I was training I ALMOST felt like I belonged, but that "almost" feeling became even more isolating. I was somewhere in between injured and healthy. In the peak of it I was leaning way more on the injured side yet putting in miles and paces way more on the healthy side... I couldn't really relate to anyone. By most peoples standards, running 21 miles is not injured, but also by most peoples standards, limping for the first 5 miles of a run is not healthy... neither is spending every waking moment in pain. I was a fraud in both directions and the paradox was tearing me in two! Feeling the need to explain myself to strangers everyday was exhausting and bad for me. Who was I running for, anyway? ... I got lost and I've been taking some time to find my way again. Man, the couch feels good!
I feel completely at peace with all the decisions I've made since Ash Wednesday, the day I took the foot off the gas. It's funny I keep using metaphors involving feet that are almost literal, like my foot has been literally and metaphorically over doing it this whole time... and it's time to give it a rest
"God is always trying to speak to all of us..... moments where you're flooded with peace, that's how I've learned to discern Gods voice in my life, his words are always full of encouragement and peace even if it's hard words to hear." Ryan Hall on The Morning Shakeout
It has been so much easier to "hear" during this season now that I'm not taking in so much information from others. I'll still be back on instagram the minute Lent is over, but I'll be looking to change some of the people I follow and some of the interactions I have and make sure that none of them are blocking my ability to hear. I'm not retiring like Ryan Hall or anything, but I'm certainly in a time where I have to reshape my current goals to match my current tolerance to training... and stepping away from the audience to hear this message was important. I feel less alone now than I have in a while, even though less people are really there.. funny how Gods voice can do that. I don't often talk about my faith, but since all of this came about during the Lenten season, it feels appropriate. Ryan Hall says he knows Gods voice based off of feeling peace, I know it based off of feeling less alone.
I'm not lonely, I'm not alone, I can hear You.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.