One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how humbling it is to be injured. Not that I was ever an Olympic-fast athlete, but I’m fairly proud of my running accomplishments and feel that I put in the work to get there.
At the moment, the days of 7:45 miles feeling easy seems like ancient history. Although I am more than thrilled to say that I am able to run again, the running is a bit on the slower side. (At least for me, running is such a personal thing.) Most of my miles are 8:45-9 minute miles, which isn’t even a recovery pace I could make myself run in the heart of marathon training. I would love to say that I’m just taking it easy, but the fact is that I really can’t run all that much faster at the moment. Not that I’m going crazy trying to push myself, but it’s not exactly a stroll in the park.
Part of it might be the summer heat…I haven’t been running for most of the summer, so I haven’t had a chance to acclimate to the 90 degrees + humidity. But I’ll say it again…I’m just happy to be running again without pain. Not every step is spent wondering if I’m in pain, but I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t cross my mind multiple times per run.
One of the things I missed the most about not running was the social aspect of it…running with friends was always a great way to get in a workout and a chat session. I admittedly haven’t seen many friends since I haven’t been running, and I definitely miss those early morning on the reservoir. Now that I’ve started running again, it usually comes with a bit of a footnote something along the lines of, “I can run, but I’m not sure how far…and definitely on the slower side.” But the opportunity to run with friends again…I can’t complain. I joined Jocelyn in Central Park on Saturday for a post-work zombie run, and being out amongst all the other runners on a weekend was something I really missed. It certainly helped that the park was packed with the Team Championships race. (Note to self: Join a team when running full force again…)
Being in San Francisco listening to everyone talk about running was really hard. The New York City Marathon has been sending out weekly marathon reminders for what has felt like months. People have started posting about their NYC Marathon training. It’s been hard just listening to people talk about it and not knowing if I’ll be able to join in. I’ve run ten marathons and I know it’s a long way to go and not something to be taken lightly.
The marathon is just under 13 weeks away, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be ready. Or if I should even be ready…maybe I should just scrap all marathons in 2012 and focus on just slowly working my way back. The other night at work I was looking at novice marathon training programs since clearly speed work isn’t even a consideration at the moment. The novice marathon program is the one I used for my first marathon. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it is very humbling to find myself back at this spot. I’m certainly grateful to even be able to consider it at this point, although I know it won’t be what I expected it to be this year.
Maura said it best…
I am happy to be running again. It’s taught me a lot to have it taken away and be able to start again, and it reminds me how hard it is to start from the beginning. One day I’ll look back on this saying, “Ah, yes, I once had back problems.” (Fingers crossed this is gone for good…) But in the meantime, I feel just like a newbie. A newbie with a lot of experience, but I will probably be the one celebrating every new long run milestone. I have marathon goals that I have yet to meet, and I’m only hoping that I’ll be able to get out there and shatter them no matter how long it takes.
Side note: I had another epidural injection yesterday. I went back to the pain management doctor and told him I felt 80-90′% better. No extreme pain, just a little sore now and then. So we went ahead with the second injection which he said should be my last for the next 3-4 years and if the pain comes back, we need to look at other options. Surgery would be the second option and I hope it never comes to that. The good news is that we think the pain is mostly likely from the annular tear versus the bulging discs, which is easier to treat and has a good treatment option prior to surgery if these injections don’t do the trick. But I’m hoping they do.