Thursday, September 29, 2011

You put your left calf in, you pull your left calf out

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around...

So I changed my registration from the full Bay State Marathon on Oct 16th to the half marathon.  Three weeks ago during my long run I had more intense pain in my left calf at around mile 9 of a planned 14-miler.  I felt it coming on, I knew what was about to hit, and it happened anyway.  The three mile walk home gave me plenty of time to mull over what my future held.  The decision to drop out of the marathon was an easy one; six weeks was not enough time to recover from this and I hadn't done any runs longer than 13 miles.  I elected to change my registration to the half since I figured with some rest, stretching, and massage I could get through 13 miles even if I had to walk.

The more interesting questions centered around my relationship with distance running.  This has been a nagging injury that first showed up in the final training for Boston.  Perhaps I did something to myself that hasn't yet healed, or is my body simply not build for this type of punishment? I really don't know the answers to these questions, and they have a big impact on my training and race plans for next year.  This winter is going to be devoted to skiing, but I would like to plan for at least one big race next year. I'm actually thinking about a 50K trail run which I think would be easier on my legs, and I like the idea of walking up steep hills.  I haven't had a successful long run in a few months which makes it hard to put a lot of confidence in my planning.

I like running.  I like feeling of getting in a good workout on a summer day.  I like getting into a solid rhythm and watching the miles fly by.  I like the community, the camaraderie, the comisery.  I want to be part of it but I'm coming to grips with the pain and suffering that goes along with it. When I'm training fairly hard I can feel my legs going up every flight of stairs.  Is this normal?  And is it what I want?

One thing that is clear to me is that I'm more comfortable and get more enjoyment when I do more cross training.  Biking, swimming (triathlons?), rowing, hiking; these all need to be part of my regular routine.  If I can add biking to work some days in the summer, or an after work headlamp fueled ski tour mid-winter I think my week will have more balance.

And that's what it's all about.

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