Monday, January 19, 2009

Smart or Stupid?

Smart or stupid, which am I, can I be both and when do I cross the line and what happens when I do?

What's the difference between smart and stupid (at least as it applies to my running), near as I can tell, smart is when you train to your near max (be it mileage or pace) but stop just short of injury. Stupid is when you cross over the max and end up injured. Well, I need to be pretty committed over the next few weeks in order to have an ok day at Run Toto Run, notice I said an ok day, not a PR, all I want is to finish in around 8 hours but less would be better. So, I need to be smart in my training and I need to try to not be stupid by ramping too quickly or any other dumb things I have done in the past. Especially since it's January.

On Sunday, I went out intending to run for 4 hours, I had run on Saturday for 3 hours with Karyn so I figured it was a great way to get into the swing of ramping quickly for Run Toto Run. I was feeling a bit worn out in the morning but I knew I had to be disciplined as I had to get my run in. I had decided to run in Lebanon Hills figuring that the distraction of the trails with the light snow would keep me occupied.

Well it did for all of about 15 minutes until I slipped one too many times and torqued my left knee. On a side note, having run without a sharp pain in the knee for a few years has really been enjoyable as this pain immediately brought back distant memories. I stopped and looked at my knee and thought to myself or did I say it out loud, what is this, I have to run for 4 hours? I then resumed running and the sharp pain slowly subsided as I carefully stepped through the snow but I was struggling. On another side note, I can again quantify what is the difference between pain and an ache? Well, pain is something that makes you stop immediately and an ache is something that makes you think about stopping. Problem is at least for me is that I have discovered if I run through pain, I end up usually getting more pain and if I run through an ache, I often develop pain so the net outcome often ends up at the same place but the journey and the residual effect is often different.

Anyway, I kept thinking that the pain and the lack of motivation and energy for the run would work itself out. I kept debating that maybe if I bailed on Lebanon and hit the roads, the even pavement of a bike path or road would make it easier but then I thought about cars, people and the general boredom of the roads and decided against. I even thought about bailing and trying to finish on the Treadmill. I decided I wasn't that desperate and finally got to the loop over by the visitor center where the snowshoe rentals usually get everything tramped out. Which led to another thought, why didn't I just snowshoe? Good question looking back but the thought never entered my mind. The trampled down snow helped and I kept plodding along, I tried to eat some blocks to get my energy level up, they helped but of course I had only brought the number I needed based on a normal 4 hour run so I had the negative thought what's going to happen in another hour? Think positive, I kept telling myself, one step at a time. I started believing that I would be able to hammer it out when I misstepped again except this time it was left hip that notified me it wasn't happy.

Ok, decision time. I was approaching 2 hours and would need to go for 2 more hours, I had no reason to stop as I had the time blocked out. Would I do more damage by continuing? How would I know if I didn't gut it out? I decided for this run though, I would be smarter if I bailed. So I did, but did I make the right choice?

I concluded about 8 hours later that I made the right call as the knee hurt going up the stairs and the hip seemed weak on the same stairs. The hip worries me a bit, it's an old injury that flairs now and again, it's more of an ache but the longer I run the weaker it gets until I can't raise the leg, kind of interesting but not helpful to running long distances, the good news is that the hip usually only flairs when I haven't been stretching or try to ramp my mileage too quickly. Guilty on the stretching and about to be guilty on the ramp.

So going forward, I will work on stretching, strengthening the core and ramping my mileage intelligently. I think if I keep saying that I will, I will, right?


Londell said...

Be smart and be healthy!!! Psyco is a real hard race, at least it was last year... Hope for little ice or mud and that will help... But it is a great race!

RunWesty said...

I agree, I want no snow or ice and no mud or rain. I am thinking around 40-50F, sunny and clear, regardless of the conditions I am looking forward to it.


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