Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Two "I's"

I've been putting off writing about this subject, because I don't want to jinx myself. But, I don't know any runner who hasn't had to deal with both at some point. The two "I's", of course, are injuries and illness.

As I'm at the beginning of the four toughest weeks of training in my life, I have to understand what I can run through - and when I need to sacrifice some mileage to ensure that I can battle another day.

The biggest physical problem I've had is plantar faciitis. It's the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the foot. The pain is normally felt on the heal - kind of like stepping on a steel spike with every stride. I've spent about $80 on various treatments - but, a little $4 plastic ball with bumps seems to work the best.

It's possible for the plantar to rupture - but, I'm most worried about it affecting my stride - which in turn could hurt something else. For instance, the day after the XC race was miserable - the plantar pain caused me to run on the outside of the right foot - which strained my upper ankle. It probably wasn't the smartest thing for me to do - but, I was already running low mileage for that week.

My wife makes fun of me because I "never" get sick, but this morning I woke up with a scratchy throat - I don't like to whine - but, there's always the thought that it might turn into something worse. So, I decided to split up my 15 miler into a morning and evening run. But, by the time the evening came around I had a bunch of work left to do - and I was hungry for dinner - so, I bailed. I probably could have gotten through the run, but my gut said it's time to rest.

Why did I run through a miserable run the Sunday after USATF XC and not tonight? Some of it might be the fact I drove down to DC for the run with some other guys, and tonight would have been by myself - but, it's just something you have to decide - is this run going to help me or hurt me?

As sane as it might seem that nobody should run through pain caused by overuse - there is no way that you can run your best without doing that from time to time. I know that some people will disagree with me - but, running is about handling pain of all kinds. The key is figuring out the difference between aggravating pain and debilitating pain.


THE KRIS said...

first off, i think it's unlikely that anyone reading this would disagree with the fact that running involves pain. one thing that we all know is that while you may have to hide the fact from your non-running friends, you not only run through the pain, but because of it. it's not that pain is the reason for running, but that running wouldn't be what we do if it were easy and pain free. think about the best runs you've ever had. some of them were great because of scenery or company, but most were great because you ran farther and/or faster than you thought you could. and that hurts.

second, finding the balance between good and bad pain...well that's just part of the job, and you've been doing it long enough to know where the line is. unfortunately, like all of us, you have to battle the voice that tells you that you are making the wrong decision, taking it too easy. all i can say is that you have to make it to the line for a great performance.

for what it's worth, i have faith that you wouldn't take time off without reason.


RM said...

"Clubber, what's your prediction for the outcome of the fight?"

"My prediction...PAIN"

Ohhhh yeeaaahhh snap into a Slim Jim. Let's be honest, I'll never stop running through the pain, and running will continue to break me down until I'm a crumbled shell of a human. And then I'll take up croquet.

THE KRIS said...

you have to be able to stand to play croquet.

the word verification thingy wants me to type "ingen"... in must think i'm arjun.