And so it goes… Race goals!

A lot has happened since my last update.  I was broken physically and feeling raw and depressed emotionally.  As months passed, my body began to heal, and miles started building back up.  Though our country is still in an uncertain state, I try to allocate my energy into something positive and goal orientated, which eventually pulls me back to a familiar sense of comfort and stability.

Fast forward, it is now race week… Not just race week but goal marathon race week.  I feel jittery and excited, nervous but confident!  I feel exactly how I should.

Cutting directly to the goal, it’s a progressive race plan broken up in 5 parts and aiming for a finish around 3:30 but upto 3:32 –

  • Miles 1-10: 8:00-8:10
  • Miles 11-15: 8:00ish
  • Miles 16-20: 7:55-8:05
  • Miles 21-23: Sub 8:00
  • Miles 24-26.2: Ring it out and empty the tank!

This will be hard, but more importantly it is achievable! I feel confident in nailing that plan, and I accept it is only attainable if I put myself in a place of discomfort for a few hours.

Reflecting on the last five months, my training brought me strength, both physically and mentally; running through rain, strong winds, through a new job transition, as I travelled, crushing old PR’s, knocking out a 22 mile long run, and even a grueling 3 mile route that consisted of nothing but parking lot loops.

As I visualize that finish line and focus on the goal I never imagined would be attainable, I continue to focus on why this is so important.  It is more than just a PR or a BQ.  It represents shedding off my former self; comfort, conceit and entitlement.  It is my testimony that dedication is worth the sacrifice, that discomfort brings reward, and let’s be honest, that the body is pretty fucking incredible.

So here is to the transformation that running and training bring.  Here is to the shadow of being broken and the light of being rebuilt.  Here is to 526 miles filled with both ease and speed, to trusting my training, going all in, and starting the race as one person but finishing as another.

Race day mantra(s): Worth the pain, no regrets, you deserve to be here.

Finish it.

Barratin // Fight

To say that the last two weeks of been numbing and terrifying would be an understatement.  I know as we move into the future and see how America’s decisions impacted the world, I will always remember where I was when I heard Hillary would not win the presidency.  The small table I sat at when normalcy stopped, reasonable choices ceased, and offering the same opportunity to everyone regardless of race, sexual preference, gender, or physical and mental abilities wasn’t just second nature.

It was Tim’s birthday, we had just been served handmade pasta, had just clinked our wine glasses in celebration of not just his birthday but to a year that would be filled with new opportunities… “What is your bucket list for this next year?”  His phone started vibrating, not once but multiple times from NPR notifications and text messages.  The entire restaurant seemed to be in a trance.  Everyone looking at their phones, panicking, and the wait staff trying their hardest to remain calm and polite.

I will remember no longer caring about an injury that had literally stopped me in my tracks because the safety that running brings me no longer seemed applicable.   I will remember trying to process my grief but being too angry and heartbroken to hide my emotions.  I will remember mourning now unrepairable relationships with family members that chose to vote for indecency and hate.

In the past two weeks, it seems the state of panic has heightened.  We continue to see hate crimes pour in, and future leadership not speaking out against it.  Two weeks of asking the question, “What can I do to help and set myself apart from elitist America?”

We have since made donations to organizations that will be negatively impacted by this presidency, signed up to volunteer at food banks, started the groundwork in organizing a foundation, & supported the freedom of the press and journalism through signing up for a New York Times subscription.

Although this is a hurtful, draining and an overwhelming time, we will not grow weary in well doing.  We will stand up, ask questions, and make our voices loud.  Trump will try to dictate who the American people are, but I choose to be good, I choose to value everyone, I choose to see past propaganda, and press on to ask questions.

I know it is no longer up to the government to provide a better world and encourage peace and prosperity.  It is up to us to show kindness, bravery, and to fund research that benefits our planet and all who inhabit it.

I will not give up, I choose to stand up and fight. Who is with me?

Brotinn // Broken

10/11/16

Just two days after my 1st place AG win and 6th woman overall placement at OR Coast 30K and  I was feeling good.  I felt ready to get even more serious about Deception Pass 50K training.  Could I place in the top 10?  What kind of PR would I be looking at?  6 years of running and training had led me to this point of feeling strong, motivated, and invincible.

An easy 6 mile, slow, flat recovery run was on my training schedule.

1 mile in, I stop to adjust my shoe laces…Must be just a little too tight around my ankle. Odd, but no big deal… 1.5 miles in… Seriously, what is going on with my ankle?  Is my stride too short or is my foot turnover weird?  Why does this hurt so bad?  Is it just a cramp? I’ll just need to push through this. 

2 miles in, I stop… Fuck, this is bad, this is not a normal pain…  At this point my stride was more of a limp, and every time my left foot landed a dull and shooting pain went from my ankle up my calf muscle.  After 3.6 miles I stopped running and limped the last half mile back to my office… And that is the beginning to my now 4 week journey into injury.

10/11/16-10/13/16

My ankle is swollen and I can barely walk.  I definitely can’t run.  I freak out but remain cautiously optimistic… Time heals all wounds, right?

10/14/16

A paranoid visit to my doctor and one x-ray later confirm I do not have a stress fracture!!  That seems to be good news.  Dr. Cynthia concludes it is a form of tendinitis but nothing ice, rest, and ibuprofen can’t fix. I’m skeptical.

10/19/16

Pt visit #1 – I see the PT for the first time.  He is confident I will be up and running in the next week. Long story short, he thinks I have a lazy hip and glute that is not firing, which is changing my form and causing my ankle and shin to absorb the shock during downhill running…  Remember how my plan was to attack the downhill during the 30K?  That caused a lot of inflammation in my ankle, shin, and calf. The PT did some deep tissue massage, graston therapy, and I am sent on my way with a prescription to bike if I can.  In the mean time, I book treatments for twice a week until we see improvement.

10/25/16

PT visit #2, more graston, deep tissue massage, no running, and add in clamshells + glute bridges with resistance bands.

10/28/16

PT visit #3 – HOLY SHIT graston hurts, laser therapy, add in single leg balancing and calf raises, NO RUNNING.

11/1/16

PT visit #4 – Graston + lower back adjustment + adding in side lunges with resistance band.  Progress is looking good, so I am allowed to run 1-3 miles!  The next evening I run 1.4 miles and cry tears of happiness but also pain.  I have missed this moment but I know I wont be running long distance any time soon.

11/4/16

PT visit 5 – Graston + lower back adjustment #2 + prescribed to continue running every other day for the weekend. My PT would like to see if the issues that were present during the first run were just a fluke.  I did 2.4 miles on Saturday and 2 miles yesterday.  Both runs were pretty limpy, with dull pain the first mile, very noticeable pain in the last 1/2 mile, and severe swelling in the evenings.

11/8/16 (Today)

PT visit #6 – Graston, cupping, laser therapy, adding in single leg glute bridges into the PT exercise rotation, and no running for at least 7-10 days.  Pain is not as bad as 4wks ago and swelling is down overall, but today feels pretty confusing and disheartening.

Maybe it is just rest that I need to fix the problem at hand, and the exercises to prevent it in the future?

———————————————————————-

In between these dates there has been withdrawing from my goal race in December, therapy baking, biking, one hike, three runs (limpy jogs?), and a lot of daily PT work — up to 25-30 minutes now.  Venting on twitter (see #diaryofaninjuredrunner) and a detox of all social media; deleting all apps and not looking at strava for a week.  Many tears, a lot of anger, confusion,  rare moments of acceptance… Somehow no regrets from going out too hard during my 30K race.

This has been a very devastating, isolating, and sad time for me.  I know the journey will eventually make me stronger, but I feel lost and absent in the present. With this injury, it has not been the physical pain that bothers me, but the feeling of rejection from an activity I have invested so much in.

Thank you to the community of friends that have refused to let me run away (pun intended) and have reached out through email, text, phone calls, and handwritten letters. Your words and encouragement mean so much to me.

During this mending process, I am not sure what this blog will hold.  Maybe some coping through baking and biking, or maybe just random information on PT exercises. Regardless, I know I will discover another part of myself during this time, and create a new and stronger person with these broken pieces.

Acceptance:  It will be get better.  I will be better.

stöðugleiki // Stability

A new blog, a fresh start, and a place to document process.  The process of running, training, evolving, reaching, and refining… So here we go.

Why do I run?  For the generic, ”It calms me, it renews me, it makes me a better person, for the challenge, for community…”  Recently on a run I asked myself for the additional and authentic answers.

I use to run from myself and shortcomings.  I ran from problems, confusion, loneliness, the work day, and essentially commitments.  I didn’t love it, but the more I ran the more grounded I felt, realizing the movements didn’t make me feel lost but gave me space for my mind to wander and a place where my thoughts are allowed to process.

My relationship with running has evolved over the past 6 years to not running from weakness but towards strength.  I no longer feel chased, but have become the chaser.  I run to pursue the unknown but still desired.  I chase after beautiful sunsets, silhouettes of a better me, and goals that no longer seem like dreams.  Running wakes up my senses and spirit, running is my gateway to reality.  I run because I find stability in constant motion.