That's what they always say. Of course, if we listened to our bodies, we would never run a lick, let alone race, because running and racing cannot be accomplished without ignoring discomfort. A certain amount of "mind over matter" is the cost of admission.
But yesterday, my body said, "enough with the running, already." Fatigue and aches that could be ignored suddenly turned into acute dysaesthesia of the distal tibialis anterior.
For all those readers who are not Iron Jane, M.D., the meaning, in plain English, roughly translates as follows:
The lower outside part of my shin hurt like a MoFo.
Suddenly, 18 miles in to a planned 20+ miler, the wheels came off: sharp pain associated with landing and toe-ing off. I walked, tried again, and again it happened. So, I walked it in.
It hurt all afternoon when I walked or flexed my foot, then without explanation it completely disappeared.
WTF? Anybody know an injury that hurts like a MoFo and then just evaporates? But for the "disappearing pain" it sounds like shin splints. But who gets shin splints after completing 4 marathons and two Ironmans? Honestly. Isn't that the injury you get as a beginner?
**Insert healthy dose of overinflated, fitter-than-thou ego here**
Could it be that I've run a bit too much on the horrible, hard, uneven surfaces of the marathon course?
Could it be that my program needed a bit more in the way of recovery for a "man my age?"
Could it be that I need some more padding and arch support for my freakishly high arches?
Could it be that when you switch from triathlon to marathon training, there's just SO MUCH MORE FREAKING RUNNING INVOLVED?
Could it be that I neglect my nutrition and recovery for simple running workouts in a way that I would never do while doing Ironman two-a-days?
Uhm. Yeah. Maybe.
Well, OK, yeah. Guilty.
But now, we are where we are. 33 days to the big dance and still more peak training to try to put hay in the barn. What to do?
Now that I feel ok, I am tempted to run ez this week and pick up where I left off next week. At the same time, if this is really an injury or a near injuyr, maybe a week of cross training is in order? I won't lose so much fitness that my goal is in doubt. Right?
And while I am obsessing in my self-absorbed little corner of hydrochondurbia, I should be just enjoying the life I still have. It is guaranteed beyond doubt that my mother will cite this article as precedent that I should not be running at all.
I hate reading stuff like that (or worse yet knowing people about whom such stuff is written). You can't help reading an article about a death at a marathon and without asking, "why?" And even as you ask it, you know there is no answer coming. Indeed, there are no words at all, and any attempt at an answer sounds cheap, sacharine, and empty. Why? I don't know. I can't know. But I do know this. Me and my mother--we both hurt when we get up out of bed in the morning, but mine's the good kind of hurt.
So. This week? I'll experiment with some ez running on controlled surfaces. If it hurts, time for cross-training. Beginning next week I try to get back on track with the program, substituting this week's harder distances for next week's easier ones. That said, no more running on uneven concrete. From here on in, it's crushed gravel Memorial Park, round and round like a gerble. No more marathon course for you.
Until . . . the day.