Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Keep Going!

I move between acceptance and ambition, even on my runs lately. I'll be trucking along, steady pace going when some random flash of pain will hit my knee or leg. If it stops I keep going, telling myself to try and push through the pain, to keep going, unless it is unbearable. If the pain continues after that initial flash I'll modify how I'm running, usually shortening my stride. So far it's been working. It's a slow process. So this week I've been trying to get back on track after my work trip and week of recovery from said trip. So far I've run a couple of 4 milers/6kms which has not been easy. It's like I pressed reset on my running button to two months ago. My leg swells, the brace can't seem to fit right and running on a swollen ankle (while the opposite leg is just fine) is borderline ridiculous. But I continue on. Because my choice is either continue the fight to regain what I can or just give up. And I certainly didn't give up when I started running, 50+lbs heavier, running in yoga pants in the pre-dawn darkness to avoid onlookers, I didn't give up during my first half marathon, marathon or ultra, although there were points during each that I really, really wanted to and questioned why I was even out there to begin with. Nope. I kept going, kept pushing through all of that and I'll do the same with this too. It's not that I'm a particularly good runner. Actually I'm really slow (even at the best of times) but I enjoy being out there. Moving through the woods, along a trail on a sunny day, there's nothing better. It doesn't matter how slowly I move, just that I still can and I will. All that said I have a new goal! My work is actually paying for employees to run the Navy 10km race in August. Free race you say? Sign me up! It'll be my first race of the year and I'm excited and hopeful to try and run it in under 1:30. This time last year I would have been aiming for less than an hour but things change and this year I'll get to appreciate the course more ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

First run back

There's nothing like coming home. Settling into a routine with the ones you love, enjoying simple life pleasures and the comfort in predictability... and the first run back in the neighborhood. Yesterday I geared up and headed for home after my first day back in the office. It was a gorgeous sunny day with a slight breeze. I started off slow (and didn't really get much faster) but relished every familiar step along the way. In the end I stood with my hands on my hips, feeling confident and happy to be back where I belong. On my run I thought about my trip and the things I would miss about Paris (the baguettes, the friendly people, the chocolate!) and the things I wouldn't (the heat, the crowds, the nicotine filled air, the shower curtain-less rooms-wth?!). Then I remembered a conversation I had during the trip that gave me an extra push during my run. I was asked if I had "lost confidence in my body" after my accident. While I'm not sure if the person meant to be hurtful, it certainly came across that way, as if they doubted my ability to overcome adversity. As an ultra runner there are SO many times you momentarily "lose confidence" in what you are doing, but part of my journey with running has taught me that the body is an amazing, adaptable thing and with patience I can persevere through these difficulties. Will I be the same runner? No, but I haven't been the same runner after each injury or lay off. A runner adapts, learns from their mistakes and if that adaptation means running less, with a knee brace or on different surfaces for a while (or forever) then so be it. The point is that I can still get out there and enjoy nature and all the beautiful things running can give me. So what was my response? "No, of course not."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Au Revoir Paris!

Oh mon dieu it is good to be back home! I just spent two weeks taking training in Paris, and yes, it was beautiful and fun but it was also time away from my family that I missed so dearly. Leading up to the trip I was very worried about my swollen knee and how it would react to being at 30+ thousand feet. Needless to say, it throbbed and hurt a lot but I managed to refrain from calling a mid-air emergency both ways. I hobbled off the plane after 11 hours and walked for another 2 trying desperately to find my hotel (it seemed so straight forward on Google back at home!). Once at my hotel I got settled and tried to recover from my first bout of jet lag. All I'll say about that is that jet lag sucks and it took 3 days for me to feel normal again. Somehow I managed to get to work the next day though and stay semi-conscious, with the aide of 3 double espressos. My leg eventually felt better, but then the constant (and I mean constant) walking of over 6km a day (sometimes 16!) left me hobbling back to the hotel day after day looking for an ice pack. I tried my brace, but it chaffed my leg and was insanely hot in the 35 degree weather that is June in Paris. I think if my mother hadn't joined me for the second week I probably would have spent the weekend in my air conditioned room instead of walking for 10 hours each day, but hey, I saw the sights right? Jury's still out on how I feel about that. So no, I didn't join the throngs of runners endlessly running in the beautiful streets of Paris at all hours of the day, but I felt my endless walking was making up for the shorter runs I'd normally be doing. After a day I figured out why Parisians are not overweight (or even seem concerned about their weight). It isn't their diet, although more fatty and heavily laden with carbs, is mostly free of fast food and pre-packaged everything. Their secret is the insane amount of walking they do every day. These people have functional fitness down to an art. Seriously. I saw two people in two weeks who would be considered overweight, and not once did I see an obese person in a wheelchair or huffing and puffing up stairs. The runners I saw ran with such a relaxed pace it could almost be called "jogging" (gasp!). They often stopped for walk breaks and I didn't see one doing anything close to speed work or checking their watch for their splits. And I saw hundreds of runners. I just wished that I could have been one of them, even for a short run.