March 23, 2012

Pounding Pavement and Injuries

I don't feel fear easily. 
I'm not saying this to puff myself up and look tough, it's just a fact...
I don't like to live my life in fear. 
But sometimes there's a certain moment when fear sparks out of nowhere and I feel my stomach clench and my vision get blurry. 
And here's me being brutally, honestly, raw...
I felt this fear today. 
Twisted around my heart with an iron grip. 
After doing everything but running for three weeks, I finally got the go-ahead from a doctor that I could start jogging again before building my way back up to running. 
I practically skipped home from his office. 
Sure, there's still stuff wrong with my hips, but I don't need to stop running. 
I'm running as soon as I get home. 
Three weeks of build up, three weeks of watching practices from the sidelines, three weeks of enduring gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery, and just sitting there wishing that I could run...those three weeks were over. 
The familiar routine began: Nike socks slipped on, then Asics tennis shoes, laced up and double knotted. 
Hair braided back. 
Watch strapped onto my wrist.
One last sip of water and a stick of gum.
I've done this a thousand times. 
But standing in my driveway today, looking down my road, I was hesitant to take off. 
I knew that it wouldn't be a great run.
I knew that I needed to limit my distance to just a few miles at first. 
Even though I've been working out longer and harder than I have all semester to stay in shape for these few weeks, I still haven't run.
No amount of biking, lifting, or Nike workouts straight from the Insanity program can take the place of rubber pounding on asphalt. 
Running is its own sport. 
And not feeling the satisfaction of distance covered by my own two feet for weeks scared me. 
I wanted to run more than anything else, but when it came time for that moment of take off, I was nervous.
Nervous to fail. 
Nervous to not be good enough.
Nervous to be weak. 
I took off. 
Watch started. 
The goal: ten minutes out and ten minutes back.
I wanted to run 5 miles, but I've been down this road before. 
I get ahead of myself and I don't heal. 
So I set a limit, an easy limit to warm my body back up into this sport.
The streets were familiar. 
The roads well covered by my feet. 
The distance covered was what I expected to cover. 
My pace was good. 
My hips were weak. 
And I felt just like I thought I would...
a mix of the adrenaline, freedom, and then there was sharper pain than I remembered feeling before.
My body had gotten used to the pain after months of running through it, and now I've grown unaccustomed to it all over again. 
So in some ways, I'm back at square one. 
Getting strong again. 
Learning to beat the pain again. 
It's a mix of emotions to finally be able to run again, but with a new realization that I have to limit my body now. I have to learn when to push and when to pull back. 
The fear wore off the minute my feet started their familiar rhythm on my streets, that nervousness passed quickly. 
Running never fails to teach me new lessons. Even when I'm not running for long periods of time, I'm learning. 
Learning to start the race when I'm scared. 
Learning to listen to my body and when I need to stop.
Learning that sometimes I'm covering more distance by covering fewer miles. 

 "They who have conquered doubt and fear have conquered failure."

- James Allen 

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