For every ten inspirational quotes placed over a face dripping with sweat, numbers on a track, or sneakers that I see on social media paired with Prefontaine quotes and misplaced biblical verses, at least one is some version of how running is all mind over matter . This week was the epitome of the power of the mind, but in a negative light.
As I’ve said plenty of times before, I’ve been out of commission and not training for a goal since June 2013. Each time I’ve battled back, I’d had some concrete setback, but this time I just think my mind is being a dick. Plain and simple – a dick. I ran again this week and things just felt funny. At what point is the funny actually something to listen to? And at what point is the funny just something to stop listening to because things are going to feel funny when you haven’t done them consistently in over a year?
I considered going to CrossFit for about five minutes. Between the bruise on my knee and the hangover that didn’t subside until 12:30pm, it wasn’t happening.
Tuesday: Easy Run (20:00)
This was my first run after my first race (Turkey Trot 8k) since last year’s Lake Effect Half Marathon. It was, just like I mentioned, funny. I’m not sure if it’s the change in weather or surrounding myself around the animals on Thanksgiving, but I’m wheezing during my runs now. I have to remember to use my inhaler before heading out because wheezing really sucks. Breathing aside, my left ankle was irritated on and off throughout this run. It wasn’t so much a pain I felt, but a consistent ache and awareness — just enough to make me doubt what I was doing and do short loops near my apartment. I stopped at two miles and felt like that was sufficient enough.
Wednesday: Yoga for Runners (25:00)
Next to making an appointment with the chiropractor down the street who is also certified in Graston, yoga is the only thing I haven’t incorporated into my recovery yet. I’ve taken one yoga class but wasn’t too keen on it, however in the privacy of my own home, I figured I’d try it out again. I definitely noticed a difference walking around afterwards and finally got into the “zen” of it, even if it was the last three minutes. Honestly, I can always spare 25 minutes in my night and even though I don’t care to use absolutes, yoga really won’t ever hurt me. Maybe the missing key is yoga, who knows.
Thursday: CrossFit (1:00)
I finally decided my knee was good enough to head to CrossFit, unfortunately the workout was full of things that involved my knees on the floor. After the warm-up, the skill was back and front squats. “I suck at squats! I’m not getting better!” I complained during all my sets, which I did barefoot even though I got my new sneakers (the toes don’t touch the floor). Apparently I am getting better, or so they tell me. I only did front squats because my torso collapses with weight for back squats. I started with just the bar (15kg) and then added 10lb plates for sets 2 through 8.
After a few sets, I remembered my ankle mobility sucks. I had flashbacks to physical therapy and the calf stretches I used to do with proper form; they would put stress on the insides of my ankles when I attempted to keep my knee in alignment with my ankle and I actually had to stop doing them. Being knock-kneed, I honestly don’t think I’m capable of doing all these exercises with proper alignment without causing pain. After walking around for a couple minutes though, the ankle pain was gone. It’s something to pay attention to that could just be a result of poor body mechanics and finally doing things right after so many years of doing them wrong.
The actual workout was for time (which I forget to pay attention to): 3 forward rolls, 5 wall walks (mine started on hands/knees and I went fully up the wall, and made an attempt to move my hands any amount I could, and back down), 7 toes to bar (or in my case, lifting knees up), and then 9 box jumps (I stepped up, to avoid re-injuring my delicate legs, ha).
Friday and Saturday: Rest
J and I spent the weekend running errands and getting my apartment ready for Christmas. We chopped down the Christmas tree (the past couple of years I just bought one at Home Depot, after 23 years of an artificial tree), which is really freakin’ hard work. I made friends with some animals and even found an awesome Christmas ornament – a running sneaker! My apartment is perfectly festive; I wish I could just leave the lights on and never leave. Being an adult sometimes sucks.
Sunday: Easy Run/Walk (21:00), Runner’s Yoga
Is it all in my head? That was really the only thing I thought during this entire wheeze-filled run. I briefly warmed up with active and static stretching before heading out; my left leg felt a little off from the start. My ankle was still a little weird, almost like the way things started with tendonitis but then my lateral calf was funky, too. It’s hard to explain the way it felt.
Decorating the tree on Saturday, anytime I would be crouching down with my weight on my toes, when I stood back up my outer left calf felt a similar sensation to getting your funny bone hit. It was almost like a weakness, but since it wasn’t a joint, it’s not like my leg was giving out. It only felt that way when I was squatted to the floor with my heels up, weight in my toes.
This the same sensation that came and went during my run. Two weeks ago, this was how my right anterior calf felt when doing the same sort of movement — particularly when my legs hopped in for burpees. It was at this point I decided my head must just be messing with me. I mean what else could explain randomly, nearly unexplainable sensations that aren’t even in the same leg, let alone the same spot? Despite being convinced it’s all in my head, I ran just over 3/4 of a mile before walking a little, then running another 3/4 of a mile, give or take, and walked some more. I covered under two miles, sucked up my pride, and went home.
I didn’t quite meet the week’s goals of running the same amount of time or miles as the Turkey Trot the week before, but I did add in yoga twice! I’m really stuck between a rock and hard place here — do I keep paying attention to every little funk that happens in my legs thinking it’s a potential injury? Or do I just stay mindful and slowly build up, hoping my mind will slow down and take itself out of overdrive? Is there a sports psychologist out there willing to talk to my calf and mind?
Next Week’s Goals: Continue the CrossFit and yoga — at least three days between the two of them, and 50-55 minutes of running spread out into 2-3 runs.