Time is supposed to be a constant, but any injured athlete knows that time most certainly moves more slowly when you are injured. Adding insult to injury (literally), far more strength and fitness is lost in 2 weeks than is gained in 2 weeks, making every day of inactivity feel like a nail in my endurance coffin. It has been 4 weeks since the Boston Marathon, and while I have technically run twice since then, neither run counts in my book. While I haven’t been running, at least I was able to swim, bike and do strength work to keep my sanity (kind of) and maintain at least a shred of the muscle and aerobic fitness I had worked so hard for over the past 6 months.
As of Friday, I have been relegated to no weight bearing exercises for 2 weeks, and no full body swimming for one week – aka push-ups and pull swimming are my new best friends, aka my arms are going to get swoll. The past 3 days of sloth-like behavior was enough to send me into the kind of dark place where eating an entire box of Three Twins Ice Cream Sandwiches (there are 6 in a box before you ask) while watching Mean Girls seems like a totally reasonable thing to do. How am I going to survive another 14 days like this when the things that usually make me happy, are somehow making me more sad and frustrated.
Volunteering at aid stations is a great way to make yourself feel good. Especially by mile 35 our of 62, the runners are kind of high and euphoric and super grateful. While I had a great time volunteering on Saturday at the Miwok 100K, I also came away bitter. Bitter that all of these people were able to run 62 miles and I can’t even run a mile. Most people would look at their faces as they finished the long, brutal climb in the wind and rain up to our aid station and wonder “how could anyone ever want to be that uncomfortable”, but all I could think was “man I would do anything for that feeling of getting to Cardiac knowing I had just accomplished that climb”.
When a friend takes on a new challenge and totally crushes it, it should make me feel happy and excited for them. While I actually am super pumped for Paddy winning his first 100K and the Canyons Endurance run this weekend, I am also really jealous. I’m jealous that he was able to put in all the hard work necessary to win a 62 mile race; jealous that his body isn’t betraying him and that he gets to keep getting stronger and fitter and pushing the limits. Sure Paddy is fast, but that’s not what he loves about trail running and you can see it when he runs. He enjoys the adventure of discovering just what his body and mind are capable of, of pushing the limits and flirting with the line between breakout race and blow-up. That is what I am jealous of and that is what I am missing most.
Luckily for me, 2 weeks is not actually an eternity and I will start running again. By the time I do, it will have been at least 6 weeks without any solid aerobic exercise and so I know I will be starting all over again. My only hope is that I rebuild a strong foundation with a renewed appreciation for the privilege of working hard.