I haven't run in six days.
It's a different kind of streak and not one I'm at all happy with. It's now the longest consecutive period of time that I haven't run in the past two and a half years*! Tendinitis in early January and the Boston Marathon in 2013. Road2Hope Hamilton in 2012. All meant taking five days off running. Five days. Never six!
And given the persistent pain and noticeable limp in my right leg right now, it's a streak that could continue for some time.
What's going on?
Unfortunately, I'm not really sure. What started as a hip flexor strain, minor and manageable, has become an all-encompassing hip/groin (and the whole right leg really) issue. It's quite literally a pain in my ass! And sure, I probably should not have kept running these past few weeks. Rather, I should have sought treatment much sooner and taken some time off. We runners are just so damn stubborn. Stupid even!
Running is part of who I am. It's what I love to do. A day just isn't a day without a few easy miles on the MGT or a hard workout with the Lungs. It's about so much more than speed or fitness, competition or performance. It's about health and happiness, meaning and well-being, identity and belonging. And so, it's no wonder that I'm now feeling incredibly nervous, anxious, and excitable (irritable is probably the better word) without running. We really don't appreciate how much we need it until it's gone. Some call it an addiction. Right now, I tend to agree.
Be assured, I am well aware that a running injury is relatively minor and not really a 'big deal'. Alas, the world ("my" world even) will not end!
STWM is now less than 11 weeks away. My goal is to PB. To run fast. To run hard. To represent the Lungs. To raise some money for Alzheimer's. To enjoy the experience. And also, to win beer. To do so, I'd like to be running some 100 miles a week in preparation, including 32K long runs and long interval speed sessions. Instead, I'm stuck spinning on a stationary bike for 40 minutes at a time (because that's all I can't handle). I'm also stretching and squatting. Massaging and manipulating. Rolling, advil-ing and icing. Seemingly, to no avail. Pre-hab is looking pretty good right now. Rehab, not so much.
I could call it quits. I could bail on my goals and the race altogether. I could take the easy way out and enjoy the time off. Tell myself I need (deserve?) a break. But why? How? There's still so much time. 73 days. Time to rest, reassess, recover and regain. I'm not giving up. I'm just taking a different road. The road less traveled (and less run) it would seem.
Right now, I'll take it day by day. Later, week by week. If I don't run at all for a few weeks, that shouldn't be a problem. If I can make it to September feeling good again, I'm convinced I'll still have a shot. My next races are set to be the B&O Yorkville 5K in early September and the Army Run (Half) in Ottawa later that month. If I can maintain my fitness (spinning til I'm spun out) and recover from the injury, I'm sure I can still run a respectable marathon.
Yes, I may need to modify my goals. I will definitely need to modify my plan. But I won't quit. Not now. Not yet. There's still time. There's always hope. And there's a whole lot I can still accomplish.
We runners are so constantly looking forward. Setting new goals. Training for the next race. Rarely do we look back and reflect on how far we've come. What we've done. Instead of stressing about what we haven't yet done or possibly can't do, we should take the time to appreciate what we've been able to accomplish and the small successes along the way. Every step and every run is an important part of the journey. It all counts.
*Consistency is said to be key for distance running success. Dating back to Jan 1st, 2012, a span of 2.5 years (30 months), I have run just over 16,100K (10,000+M). In that time, I have taken (only) 75 days off running. That, I call consistency.