"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on" ~ Robert Frost
It's Wednesday, 12 days from the Boston Marathon and all is well, more or less, with the bod though the mind is having it's ups and downs. My training has gone well with an occasional blip here and there which usually happens at some point during the trials and tribulations of a long marathon training cycle. I've made it through the winter cold, and snow, and sleet, and ice and wind wind wind...And then spring comes. I've made it through a difficult semester with a fairly heavy course load. I've managed to give reasonably good and rational advice to my runners (though I sometimes don't take my own advice) and they are doing well beyond all expectations. Things are good. What could possibly go wrong now??
Tuesday we have a full April day of deep, good, soaking rain (those storied April showers) - the kind of all day rain that Boulder sees about 3 times a year, and it not only draws out the green world waiting to reveal itself, but it feeds the dry, cold, parched and windburned soul of a tired runner who's ready to sit back and rest - and let it all sink in. And Wednesday dawns moist, and cool - with the clouds clearing away in a light drying breeze, revealing the flatirons and an April bluebird sky.
I'm getting excited about Boston. And then...I SPRAIN MY ASS!!!
How in the world can this happen?? Well, as a matter of fact it's surprisingly easy to do - and as it turns out, it happened because I decided to have a little fun.
Now I have been feeling some hamstring/glut tightness for quite some time. It would be disingenuous of me to say that I've been feeling in tip top shape, but it wasn't something that really got in the way of running. I felt it, the tightness, but it was easy to ignore. Overall, I've been feeling pretty strong and on target for what I aimed to do in Beantown.
So the fateful day begins with a long circumnavigation of Boulder as Cecilia and I make a hopeful, yet futile, attempt to run at a track other than the Fairview High School track (since we're on the other side Boulder). Boulder is a runner's running town. We have gobs of tracks. But, that day we discover that most of those tracks are locked and closed to the public (Yay for public education! Your tax dollars at work!). So after about an hour and a half we finally find ourselves back at our usual stomping grounds - Fairview. Now, for someone with tight hammies/gluts, this is probably NOT the best way to start a track session. I see this clearly in retrospect. LESSON NUMBER ONE: Do not sit in a car for long periods of time prior to running intervals of any sort.
We start our easy warm up jog around Viele Lake, finishing at the track. My workout is 16 x 50/50 sprint/floats. Cecilia is running 15 x 100/100 sprint/floats. We both head off into our own little worlds and start our workouts. I do my 50/50s right around my target pace of 11/15 - lose count, but stop when I feel my legs getting fatigued. I AM TAPERING! Listen to your body, dangit - I remind myself. I check through my Garmin and see that I've done at least 16, so I begin my cool down jog. My aim is 3ish more easy miles.
Meanwhile, Cecilia is still running her 100s. By the last one, she's feeling it and we are at about the same place on the track as she gets ready to hit the button for her last sprint. I say, "Let's go. I'll finish this one with you." She crosses the line and we're off...
Now, At this moment I am doing so many stupid things that it's difficult to pinpoint the key point of jackassery that proves to be my ass breaking undoing.
First: I'm done, DONE, with MY workout. Never run another person's run!! Well, Duh!!!
Second: I'm on the outside of the track - because I've been jogging laps. Cecilia is on the inside of the track. As we take off, I cut sharply inside (Why??? We're on the straight of the track!) But I feel that sudden lateral motion - and not in a good way.
Third: And I've made this mistake so many times in climbing, but this is the first time while running - When you feel a little tired do not say to yourself, "Oh, I'm going to throw in just one last _________. "(you fill in to blank with some butthead move). That last effort will do nothing good for you - and it may actually hurt.
And so, with all the odds against me, I try to shoot off the blocks, so to speak, because it seems like fun.
And then I feel the fates kick me in the ass. The pain is sharp, and startling. I've only ever read about these things as some poor sprinter pulls up in the middle of a race hopping to the finish, clutching a torn hamstring or glut. I take the classic - skip, skip, skip...hop, as Cecilia sprints away (this is her fastest 100).
And so it is a long, quiet drive home. Cecilia tries to reassure me that it's probably nothing. As we drive I feel it tightening, throbbing....and there goes a full winter's training. Oh how I want a rewind button. Oh, how I wish I had thought, for just a second, before doing what I knew was a stupid thing to do - but the problem is, running fast can be fun. I was just trying to have fun. Clearly my brain was in my ass that day.
It's now 10 days from Boston. If I can't run for the next 10 days then I guess that's what it's gonna take. Spring has finally settled in here and it kills me not being able to run. I try to comfort myself with the lessons I've learned (and lots of people now are leaping at the opportunity to point out my stupidity - thank you v-e-r-y much!). Yet, there are as many lessons as there are minutes in the day. Will I do this again? No. But I'm sure I will make other mistakes - mistakes that right now I'm not even aware of.
So I sprained my ass - Well, technically it's my sacrotuberous ligament. I hope it is better in 10 days. But keep in mind that these things can happen to any of us. We are human. Beware of Hubris. I got that lesson - kicked firmly into my ass. But also beware of smugness and too much self satisfaction - for that too may bite you in the ass.
And now - life goes on. Where will I be in a week - I know not. but I will probably be somewhere, and I hope it's a better place then where I'm at right now.
Now, off to physical therapy...