I've been waiting with bated breath, the arrival of Maria's e-mail on the definitive results of her x-rays and sport doctor visit. She thinks it may be a foot stress fracture, so she's been treating it as one, cross-training like a maniac with pool running and spinning, to keep up her cardio fitness for a fall marathon. I really hope it's something totally benign like my slipped cuboid bone that can be fixed with one artful maneuver by a hot Dr. Mc Sportsdreamy, but she's handling this in the best way. I'd insist on some preliminary tantrum and ensuing depressive episode before getting with the recovery program, but Maria strikes me as the kind of person to not waste time with over emotional drama. It's a time waster, after all. This is one of a million different reasons I like Maria.
I think runners that have been running awhile, realize that minor injuries and setbacks are part of being a lifelong runner. I think it's the rare runner that deals with absolutely nothing, although Debi, is particularly blessed in that the worse she's dealt with is a mid arch blister. She even wears running shoes for months on end! Tough as nails, that girl. Yet, she's the exception, rather than the rule, to most runners that have at least one weak link they work hard to overcome. If you've read my blog awhile, you're well aware that I have I-T bands as tough as beef jerky. I bet they look just like beef jerky too, the blasted inflexible demons!!! But, Maria is on the road to recovery, wasting no time, in an attempt to keep up her cardio fitness with non-bearing alternatives like pool running and swimming.
One of the reasons, I'm so hell bent on achieving a time goal for the Road Runner is the way this marathon beat me up last year. I ran my crappiest marathon ever in 2006 because my I-T bands revolted at mile 20. This was really maddening because I had no inkling of problems lurking under the surface; I'd run two marathons before this with nary a whisper of the old I-T band ghost that plagued my training for my first marathon. So, my motivations are partially born of revenge to get back at this marathon. It's the bad lover....I tell you! I can't stay away from it cause he looks so darned good, igniting me on a chemical level I can't fully explain, but then he treats me badly--stabs me in the outer knee with an ice pick when I'm least expecting it. I keep coming back to this marathon with the naivete of a battered domestic violence victim, thinking it's going to be different this time. Time will tell. If he gets me in the knees again...I'm done with him!!! I will seek shelter at the battered marathoners shelter (the first aid tent) and heed the enlightened counsel within...to never run this race again.
Anyway...enough of my rant. I limped home from last year's Road Runner exhilarated to achieve, once again, the formidable 26.2, but disheartened that I had aggravated my I-T bands to the point of looking at six weeks of sharply reduced running. I went through a short depressive phase, that I had lost my best medicine down the drain...my only sure healthy way to keep sane without resorting to darker, unsavory, ultimately ineffective, coping methods. But then I remembered I had recently become a swimmer training for my first triathlon; I could rely on this for cross-training and recovery. I started hitting the inner city pool more often after that...I discovered my rhythm in that six week period and cultivated, what I hope is a life long love of swimming. I've kept up my swimming on a very regular basis for the last year and I have the Road Runner to thank. I prefer running, but swimming takes a close second; I don't think I would have found that rhythm if I didn't have six weeks to fill.
In the meantime, my running group, having fared much better through the marathon--Debi, the animal, actually went dancing the night after the marathon in heels--continued planning their weekend runs. We had just started with trail running at Kurt's encouragement. I think this was when Mike Keller started running with them. I was sad I couldn't join them for several weeks, but I was glad to know where they were going and when. I'm glad they kept plugging in my name to the group run e-mails. It gave me motivation to keep doing the things I needed to do to get well and get back out there. I remember the first day I thought I might be able to run again. I knew I'd only be able to do four miles, so we coordinated our run so I could join them toward the end of their long distance trail run. I met Jim that day at Bruegger's Bagels. They told stories about their trail run, that made me feel as though they had just been to Oz, it sounded so enchanted and exotic. I couldn't imagine running the Buckeye Trail! How totally hardcore and I wanted to be better right now--so I could join them too! It was a beautiful day--one of those glorious early fall days where the sun shines through the spider webs connecting the tall grasses on the Tow Path, but my I-T band riled up at mile 2 and had to walk two miles back. Debi was sweet enough to walk with me and accompany me in my misery. A few weeks after that, I was good again, and I started running the trails with them.
Thank goodness...running injuries are mostly temporary, that they give us opportunity to try new things and help us not take for granted when we are healthy--when all is in good running order.