The last 2 weeks of training seems like it's lasted for 2 MONTHS. It's been odd, I'm not going to lie. It has been GOOD as well on many different levels, but I've had to adjust my thinking a bit to see it properly.
The latter half of the summer training cycle always brings about it's fair share of aches and pains but this time around I almost feel like each week I have something new to deal with. I got over (mostly) the issues in my feet, IT band, etc... but this last week my achilles/soleus lit up like a torch after the long workout on Tuesday. It's the same achilles that has caused issues in the past. Just out of nowhere though, even though I felt like I was being smart and doing the right things. (long warmups, controlled workout, long cooldown, etc...)
There's a part of me that feels discouraged when I feel tweeks like this, and my mind automatically goes down the path of "OMG I'M INJURED" when I start to feel these things. But this week I tried to address what I was feeling as a natural symptom of what I was putting my body through instead of immediately victimizing myself and throwing myself headlong into a bowl of icecream to wallow. (Not that THAT'S my usual method, but still) I took Wednesday off when it was supposed to be a double-day and I stayed calm about it, for the most part. I ran easy on Thursday, staying calm when I felt achy heading out the door. I knew my 20-miler was looming on Saturday and I HAD to give my body a chance to cool down.
Well, it DID cool down. I can't say I ran the best feeling 20-miler on Saturday though, because that would be a straight up lie. It felt pretty terrible, but my taped up achilles held up nicely, so that was a plus. It was about halfway through that run that I really had to say to myself, "Dude, stop acting like you're gonna accomplish your goals and train with intensity without having aches and pains. It's just not going to happen... get OVER yourself" It was a moment of clarity. A moment of calm in the midst of a run that was whipping my BUTT. The whole run really was a mental breakthrough of realizing that running on tired legs doesn't mean I'm doing anything wrong...it means I'm training my body RIGHT.
In the midst of internalizing the freakouts I've been having lately, I think there ARE some legitimate questions that I should be asking and answering. Is there a glaring reason I'm having these physical issues? Am I doing something wrong? I am doing too much? Too fast? The wrong method? The wrong plan? All of it has to be at least looked into I think. And I'll be the first to admit... I've struggled over the years with doing too many workouts at a pace that is faster than what it should be. (...given where a more reasonable pace should be for ME on days that aren't "workouts" and should be taken easy) I have tried to address that this year and dial it back. I've been working on pace/effort like it's my JERB, actually.
Here's a fact: It just takes ONE workout that pushes your body a little bit and you can be achy, lit up, or even injured. It just takes ONE. For real. It's not always an accumulation of dumb decisions that causes the aches and pains, and I think that's a common and annoying misconception. You can blog all you want about what method is the BEST method but everybody is different and every BODY is different. I need to STAY the course and ignore the BS. I need to acknowledge that what I'm doing everyday with my body is difficult. I need to be at peace with the fact that with high intensity goals comes higher risks. Calculated risks, yes, but not every risk is 100% in my control. I WANT to do this... everyday! This is the journey I am choosing, and the ups and downs of this journey just come with the territory. I can either accept them and deal with them like a professional or I can be a whiney little victimized amateur with my attitude. I choose to be better... for me.
54 days until raceday #1. My spreadsheet of checkboxes is a little over halfway completed. All I can do is put my head down, keep my chin up, and live his thing 1 week... 1 day... 1 workout at a time, as honestly as I can.