If this display on a stationary bike is my view on a beeeeautiful summer day, you know something went wrong.
Any long distance runner will tell you, we frequently have aches and pains, and it's an art and a science for the runner to answer the question:
Is this pain run-through-able, or is this something serious?
I clearly have not mastered this skill, as I demonstrated after completing a race last spring that left me with a personal best on the course...and a torn tendon. And I further demonstrated it this month as my training season has been cut short by a very painful injury which turned out to be a stress fracture near the top of my femur.
I made a comeback from that aforementioned torn tendon in spring of 2017 and ran the best marathon of my life just eight months later, qualifying for the Boston Marathon for the first time. After that victory, I took the winter months to savor running with no target race, no pressure--just enjoying running, barre classes and group workouts.
I set my sights on a late summer marathon, Lehigh Valley, and began training for that race in May.
I ramped up using a smart plan, careful not to add too much mileage too soon. I tracked my mileage and the wear on my running shoes in a spreadsheet, being careful to swap out shoes before I completely ran them into the ground. I ate healthfully, with lots of greens, whole grains and lean protein making up a big chunk of my diet (with my nightly dark chocolate, of course). I continued to cross train, though maybe not quite as consistently as the miles began to add up. My speed was picking back up after a laid back winter. My endurance was strengthening. I pushed through unbearably humid summery runs and was acclimating to the Baltimore heat.
And then there was a week where I REALLY stepped up my mileage, hills and speed and felt a good bit of pain when I set out on a 16-mile long run with a group. That pain never abated. I ended up with 10 great miles, 1 slow-ish paced mile, and 4 miles of walk/hobbling back to my car, finishing the morning--and my training season--with a limp and a whimper.
I had my pity party: I did everything right, damn it! In hindsight, I can poke some holes in my plan. I'm now an over-40 runner, and maybe I should have taken the issue of slower recovery more seriously. Maybe I should have cross trained more, or rested more when I was feeling sore. Or maybe I did everything right, but this is just one of those times when $h!t goes wrong.
My doctor gave me the go-ahead to bike, workout in the pool and do gentle yoga--three things I do not do, but will most definitely be doing this summer and into the fall. So I may not see you on the roads or trails for a few weeks, but you can bet your butt I'll be back at it!
See you at the gym--I'll be the one at the back of the yoga class grimacing as my tight hamstrings get a much-needed stretch, awkwardly gripping the handles of a stationary bike, or doing a goofy water workout.