CAUTION: Pig-Headed Capricorn Running

You know those moments when a lightbulb goes on in your head? Yeah, well apparently 5 days of resting my ankle gave me the time to finally think and process a couple of things. (Still waiting on the MRI results, FYI.)

First of all, it has come to my attention that I am a stubborn, pig-headed Capricorn with a high tolerance for pain, and the inability to call a time-out when my body is screaming for it.

For example, I am the idiot who, when in high school suffered an injury to my left arch, insisted on dancing on pointe in my dance recital, while hobbling on crutches during costume changes. I am also the idiot, who, when her uterus burst a few years ago, delayed going to the hospital for almost 24 hours. I am also the same idiot who, 4 days after being discharged from the hospital after said uterus situation, and while on bed rest, drove to a photo shoot and modeled for a few hours. This past year, I was also the idiot who piled on an endless race season, battled injury in a marathon and decided to drag her busted ankle the remaining 14 miles.


I am issuing my own intervention.

While I cannot change my stupid ways over night, I can promise myself that 2013 will be a different race season. While sitting on my butt and icing my ankle, I’ve had a lot of time to look over my workouts, races, results,  injuries and such for the last year.

You know how some parents tell their children to “do what they say, not as they do?” Yeah, well apparently I have been that kind of coach, and that kind of athlete. Here’s the thing: my training, minus the fact that I apparently cannot allow myself to take much time off after a race, was pretty darn wise. The problem, as I see it, was the lack of recovery time after goal races, and the amount of races I ran. This was also the first year I ever tackled an Ultra Marathon (two, if we’re counting), which was a whole new type of stress to my body.

It’s not that I don’t know what I should be doing, which is why I’m an idiot. I train with a coach and a team of smart athletes. I read everything I can about running – blogs, books, magazines, memoirs. As if working on my certifications in Sports Nutrition and Personal Training, along with my RRCA certification as a running coach weren’t enough, I am constantly thumbing through training programs and nutrition information specifically for endurance athletes.

There is a reason while elite (and smart) athletes only race a few marathons a year,  fitting smaller races into their schedule as “tune-ups.” The mind can recover from the stress of a race quickly, but muscle tissue needs time. While some of my friends and team mates seem to be able to bounce from one race to another without much problem, I need to en grain in my brain that no two bodies are the same, and I am still relatively new to running and training as hard as I do these days.

Here’s what 2012’s races looked like:

Early January: I ran the Goofy Challenge (a half marathon and a full marathon within a weekend) After two days off, I picked up where I left off for Boston training.

End of February: I ran the Bandit 50 Ultra (Placed 6th female in my first Ultra. Note that it was in the mountains of the Simi Valley, with a 5000 elevation gain and loss. I could barely walk for a few days, my quads were shot. Guess who ran 4 days later…)

Mid April: Boston Marathon (Only DNF ever, thanks to a stomach bug. Guess who ran the next day…)

Early May: Broad Street Run (Ran a new PR. Took 1 day off before clocking more miles).

Mid-May: Brooklyn Half Marathon (Ran a new PR, then ran an additional 5 miles as a “cool-down.” Ran the next day.)

Mid-June: Raced a 5K (New PR and won the race, ran 20 miles the next day).

Mid-July: Lone Ranger Ultra (Ran 68 miles, before being pulled from the course due to kidney problems and severe dehydration. Took off 5 days, after beating the crap out of my body).

Mid-September: Philly Rock ‘n Roll Half (New PR, terrible calf cramping. Took 2 days off.)

Mid-September: 5th Avenue Mile (New PR only 6 days after the Half Thon. Ran 18 miles the following day).

Mid-November: Harrisburg Marathon (see previous post for details)

Folks, as you can see, I apparently think my body has super-hero-like qualities. Up until the Lone Ranger Ultra, I was clocking 50 miles most weekends.

Moving forward, I have realized that if I want to have the best chances at PRs, staying healthy and having fun clocking miles, I need to dial back the amount of race goals per season – especially when most of the races are 13.1 miles or more. In 2013 I will not run any Ultras, which should help. I also need to find a few months where I dial back the mileage so that I can jump back into training completely healed, when the time is right. Therefore, I need to space my races with REST AND RECOVERY as a factor.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the most time I have taken off from running within the last 15 months was eight days. Yeah, that is NOT smart. And while I have come to realize that I need to listen to my body and not “power through” pain the way I usually do, I also realize that I cannot change my personality over-night. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t packed my running stuff for this weekend – just in case my doctor calls with my diagnosis and magically says I can pace Chris for the last few miles of the Philly Marathon. 🙂

…Sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way. Well, ankle, I heard you loud and clear at the Harrisburg Marathon. And this time, I am really trying to listen.



~ by Elizabeth on November 16, 2012.

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