Thursday, December 4, 2008

True Confessions of a Long Recovery

I climbed on the recumbent bike for a nice 45 minute workout today. In my gym, the bikes are seated behind the treadmills, and mine was in dead center of about 15 treadmills of different sorts, almost all of which were being used.

To my far left, I watched a girl (ok, young woman) in a pair of Nike shorts just like the ones I run in. I watched her long, smooth stride, and estimated her pace somewhere in the low 8's. She couldn't have looked more relaxed and at ease. She ran the entire time I was on the bike. I was jealous; envious; my eyes developed a distinct patina of green.... because I wanted to be running like that. I wondered if I could take her in a race of any distance. I knew I couldn't now... and as she ran, she was getting stronger by the minute. And I was merely pedaling away...

Almost in front of me was another girl (ok, another young woman--see I think of myself as a "girl," it isn't a derogatory term to me) doing a nice workout at a steep incline. She wasn't going very fast, but she had that hill incline cranked up. I watched her shins, wondered how much pressure was on her tibias. When could I do a workout like that? I was sad. I know I can't now.

To my immediate left was another girl (ok, I give up) on an Elliptical. Definitely hate the Elliptical, but I remember how the upstroke, while looking so smooth and easy, was slamming into my tibia in a most unfortunate way. And while I held no jealousy against her for being on the machine (blech!), I was incredibly jealous of her apparently strong, solid tibias. What I would be doing with those! Certainly not spending any time on an Elliptical!

I plopped back into my chair in my office some 40 minutes later, and began to type a request to Vince to reorganize my running this weekend. I wanted my 4-miler on Saturday instead of Sunday. Not something I would normally get excited about. But, it's my first 4-miler in more than 8 weeks. Suffice it to say, it's the highlight of my week. Four. Whole. Miles. Running. I wanted to celebrate!

My plan was to get a sitter, and try to get my training partner, Rick, to run part of his long run with me. But he's already leaps ahead of me now, running his mile repeats deep in the 6s. When I contacted him, he already had plans for an 18-miler with another group on Saturday. I blinked. Would I ever be able to even keep up with him again? It's been over two months since we've run together. He's the fittest he's ever been. I've done nothing but lose fitness for two months.

I nearly laid my head down on my desk and cried. I'm just being honest here. It's so hard to watch everyone pass me by. I'm filled with so much drive and determination, and I can't do anything with it. I want to be working out; I want to be doing 200m repeats; 400m repeats; redefining my fastest mile; running till I puke. I want to explore what it's like to train for my fastest 5K ever. But, I can't. And I know that's weeks and weeks away. I worry that my Spring and even Fall plans are at risk.

So, I'd like to institute a new "week." It's "Be Kind to Your Favorite Injured Runner Week." We're all suffering out here. And we can't WAIT to get back to training hard with you again!

9 comments:

Frankie said...

I just want to be able to run my favorite pace: 11 minutes....

Frankie said...

That is Frankie aka Timaay

runner-grrl said...

Thanks for the comment Tim! Hope your half goes great this weekend :-)

RunColo said...

I think you're over estimating how long it will take to get your fitness back. I'll give you my example. I got a hip flexor sprain in April. I was in great shape, ready to run the Lincoln Marathon, doing 50-60 mpw

I literally did not run for 8 weeks and when I returned, I started at 20mpw and increased about 10% per week, until I got up to 70mpw.

On 7/16/08, I ran a 5k, to get a baseline, I had returned to running for 3 weeks. I ran a 19:28.On 9/06/08, I ran a 5k in 17:48. Thus, that's a pretty solid drop in less than two months.

My point is, you're fitness will recover much quicker than you think.

The hard part to know for yourself is that you are still fairly new to running. So you don't really know your potential yet. Thus, the next few years you could be knocking off 15-30 minutes on your marathon time.

Once you reach that peak, the gains become much tougher to reach and you'll fight to improve by minutes in the marathon.

runner-grrl said...

Runcolo, Thanks so much for your comments. As you saw my question on your blog yesterday, you just answered the exact question I had. I'm dying to be able to train really hard again.. just don't know when that is! Thanks for your encouragement :-) --Alex

Jenn said...

You are singing my song, sister! I am right there with you. Actually, I'm not even on the recumbent bike yet. I hope to be where you are in a few weeks. Hang in there, you're fastest miles are still ahead of you. Your desire and determination will make you stronger than ever.

runner-grrl said...

Jenn,

Thanks so much for your kind words and constant encouragement. It IS so hard. I know you know exactly how it feels... sorry you are sidelined also :-( Hugs! -Alex

Jesse said...

Alex- I can only imagine what you're going through. Your determination to get back to running full on will make you stronger than ever. Patience will pay off I'm sure. Hang in there!

runner-grrl said...

Thanks, Jesse! I really hope so... so anxious to get back in the game.