I have started and scrapped about three blogs in the past two days. My mind is flooded with subjects to write about, but the words just do not seem to come. These are topics I am passionate about and as my friends know, if you get me started on one of those subjects, a “fiery Molly” takes over my body and I hope you have the next hour free to listen. So, what has been my problem?!
The problem is that my energy has needed to be directed elsewhere. For those of you who do not know, I fractured my ankle this past spring and it was no simple 6 weeks and GO injury. There was the bone healing facet and the soft tissue healing side. Additionally, I had LOADS of scar tissue just waiting to bug me when I got back to training….this is not even counting the fact that so many weeks in a boot leaves an ankle with no range of motion or strength to speak of. To this day, my left ankle SUCKS at dorsiflexion and has a fraction of the strength it should have. This has left my peroneal tendons crying uncle. They have bothered me since mid-August, but my rule of thumb is if I do not miss a single mile in my training schedule due to an “ache,” it does not count as an injury. I have certainly invested a huge chunk of my savings in ART and acupuncture, but the peroneals eventually won out this past month. The pain worked its way up from my foot and into my calf and started pulling on my bone. This is a good lesson to anyone who likes to ignore nagging tight/sore muscles and tendons...they pull on bone and, as we all know, bone can make your life miserable. As someone who prides themselves in TRYING (not always succeeding) to learn from past mistakes, I shut it down the moment I felt the bone interplay.
Luckily, this injury coincided with the holidays and I was happily distracted by the comfort of family and friends. I vowed to not test the ankle for 10 days, regardless of how it felt, hoping it would be enough to calm down the bone aggravation (I have deemed this injury “fibula splints”). After 2 days completely off, I did not feel the injury walking around. After 4 days, I could not press on the area of pain anymore. By the end of the 10 days, I felt confident that I was lucky enough to catch it early and I avoided a potentially season ending fibula stress fracture.
This still leaves us with what “caused” the bone to become aggravated in the first place. I hear a lot about athletes talk about having their therapy “gurus.” My guru is Marcus Allen HIlle. I can honestly say that I would not be running without his magic hands healing my running injuries. He is one of the reasons I moved to Boulder. In just a few sessions, he obliterated the lingering pain I was having in my ankle after the fracture healed. He also worked on those “tight and sore places” that I simply ignored for my entire running career and thought they were normal. As wonderful as his therapy is, his personality makes him the full package. I can show up to my appointment an emotional mess, crying my eyes out to The Fray, and the moment I enter his office, I feel uplifted. As any injured runner can tell ya, positive energy can expedite healing while sadness and frustration can prolong it.
Marcus went to town on my peroneals as soon as they left me out of commission. I went from yelping in pain the moment he placed his thumb on them to being able to get away with a shallow whimper. I have also learned how my recovering ankle’s dorsiflexion is...nonexistent. I am armed with an arsenal of exercises to rectify this problem immediately ...oh, and I have run pain free the past two days, thanks to time off and Marcus's work.
So, what does this mean? Houston is going to be ugly. I am out of shape and my dreams of crushing a 1:09 half marathon will have to wait. Do I still plan on racing? Yes...so long as I am pain free...and hope to make a decent "goal marathon pace" showing. This also leads me to my New Year’s Resolution...
I vow to race once a month for this year, barring the month of recovery after a marathon. I did this before the NYC Marathon last year and it was a blessing in disguise. It kept me healthy, allowed me to get sharp for NYC, and helped me pay the rent.
Believe it or not, I have perfectionist tendencies. This means that if I am supposed to hit 5:20 pace in a workout, I hear that as sub 5:20 pace and I will not settle for anything slower. I never miss a single mile of my training and unless I know I am ready to GO...racing does not happen. Where has this left me? With overuse injuries, missed race opportunities, and an unhealthy fear of racing. Racing once a month will naturally place a few extra days of recovery in my plan every month (to help prevent overuse injuries). It will also allow me to accumulate more race experience, which I am severely lacking. Unlike most professional runners, I lack a four year college experience of racing every other weekend. I am behind the eight ball and if I want to mature as a runner, I need to make up for my shortcomings. Racing more will also allow me to deal with less heartbreak of running a 10 mile PR in practice, but never having the race time to show for it...and it will give me more chances to interact with the running community in which I want to immerse myself.
What does this mean? Not every race I do is going to be a home run. My races this January and February will not be performances to write home about, but they will help boost my fitness and gain an edge for the races that I do want to knock out of the ballpark. The Paris Marathon is my goal race this spring and I vow to do everything I can to make it there fit and healthy. The first step to this goal was taking time off, putting on some holiday pounds, and getting my peroneals healthy. The second step is testing my fitness (untapered) at Houston...and a race in February and March. The final step will be to execute a race to my best ability. So...cheers to a healthy 2013!