Friday, July 28, 2017

Some Hard Truths (and Some Small Victories)

These days, three miles feels daunting and four seems impossible. I am trying to stay positive, but when I think about my longterm running goals, I can't help but feel hopeless.
I love that Elizabeth has become the voice of reason and experience in running here.
Running on the treadmill at the gym has reminded me how much easier running indoors is. For one thing, there's no humidity! For another, the treadmill really cuts down on the effort and impact. I am taking Wednesday's 30-minute run (no walking!) as a victory.

Monday I ran for 17 minutes without stopping (outside) and that is a victory, too.
My calf pain has been significantly less intense than it was November-May this year. On the one hand, this could mean I don't need surgery after all? So maybe all the stress, expenditure, and loss of fitness was for nothing, but I can just pick up running again like normal.

Or maybe this means I forgo surgery and then months later - after my deductible resets - the pain picks back up and I need it done after all.

I am thinking back to my first marathon. I was struck with calf cramps like I had never had before. At the time, I blamed Mucinex. But what if that was my first experience with compartment syndrome? Can it be dormant for years before resurfacing?
(Rereading that post is so amazingly motivating. I can't wait to be able to run a marathon again.)

I am running on my golf course or at the gym exclusively these days because the thought of driving to a route with the intention of completing it and failing is paralyzing. I like the comfort of the familiar right now.
But it's not a bad place to run, really.
Last week was the first time in a long time I actually enjoyed a run and felt like I was running for me and not as a chore. It was liberating.
Actually, genuinely happy.
Elizabeth listened patiently to these sundry concerns Wednesday and then offered really helpful suggestions and I feel really lucky to have her. She is endlessly patient and always helps me see the positive side of things.
I am trying very hard to focus on my victories. Today at the gym, I realized I can run without walk breaks. I realized Florida summer is a big element in my struggle; I had forgotten how much it can affect me.

I realized for the first time in awhile that I still want to run distance and I still can. Not yet, but eventually. Running is a lifelong endeavor, and I am relieved to realize I'm excited to get back to it after this is all over, however it turns out!

How do you get over your self-doubt after an injury or setback?
What small victories are you celebrating lately?


  1. I'm glad you had a liberating run and I'm glad you have Elizabeth who listens and gives you good advice! I have so much self doubt after injury... I know exactly what you are talking about. The thing I *try* to do (not saying I'm good at it), but I *try* to just take one run at a time, or even one mile at a time.

  2. I am so hoping that you really are on your way back and that you don't have compartment syndrome. It's so hard when running gets scary! I am still scared before my runs (and with every little ache and pain that pops up). I am glad we have our friends that get it--get the highs, the lows, the craziness, the not knowing. Keep up the great work, Ali!

  3. There is no shame in taking walk breaks. I had to run like that when I was dealing with ITBS. I don't feel the "need" to take the breaks anymore but I often feel like I Should take them just to prevent injury in the future.

  4. I went through this same thing in the spring, when I was resuming running after taking a lot of time off last fall/winter. I remember 4 miles feeling like it was so long and took forever to get through. I remember being impatient with how much fitness I'd lost and that it felt like it was taking so long to come back. But everyone goes through this at some point, even the elites. If running were always easy then the victories wouldn't feel so amazing.

    Like Elizabeth said, keep in mind that you are trying to resume running during the hardest time of year to do so. Even people who are in shape are struggling right now. Summer is just HARD, and it really does affect all of us. I think treadmill running, for as long as you can stomach it, is a good idea. Not only does it offer an escape from the heat and humidity, but it will force you to stay at a slower pace.

    I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but you will get back there. Just don't give up.

  5. That's a bummer that the compartment syndrome is keeping you from doing the kind of running you want to do, but I'm glad to hear you can still do SOME running. Seems like you're doing great, actually. IMO it only takes a couple of 10-20 minute runs each week to stay fit, and long slow distance could be counterproductive because of the wear and tear it causes. If the L.S.D. stuff is what you love most, though, I imagine its hard to give up.

  6. Oh gosh. The self-doubt after injury is huge. For me, I got a lot of support from my friends and family and my coach. I also just stared that feeling down hard. Like, I asked myself if I wanted to quit. It seemed I did not want to quit. So forward was the only choice and I had to move forward with the self-doubt. I can also happily report that I am rejoicing in each tiny improvement! Pushing off the wall at the pool with *both* feet! Yeah! Significantly less stiffness in the recovering foot after biking! Yeah! And now, at last, pain-free running! Yeah! Hang in there and I am always available to chat.

  7. I get it. Today during the test I ran for 10 minutes straight for the first time in ... forever? Since the end of May? And it was hard. I wanted to stop and take a walking break but I also wanted to get the test done and over with so I kept going. If 10 minutes feels hard now I can only imagine what running for 30 minutes would feel like today ... and three months from now when I've had to take off even more time from running. Just gotta keep reminding ourselves it's a journey.

  8. Have you tried Galloway? I know it's something you typically don't do, but it's great for people with injuries. And it prevents injuries from re occurring. It's definitely worth a try- I've always ended up faster using the intervals and it gives my body enough of a break that I don't have to worry about stopping when I'm tired because I stop to walk from the beginning. Worth a shot I think!