Sunday, December 4, 2011

Some Frustration

I have not written a word in months. But, I don’t like being pessimistic, and over the past three months, I just don’t feel like my body has been cooperating. It is difficult to stay positive when it seems like it is one darn thing after another. At the end of September, I got a good old case of plantar fasciitis. I refused to let it hold me back. I raced San Jose ½ feeling each darn heel strike. It continues to come and go, but acupuncture, icing, and downward dogs have been the most successful at keeping it mostly content. So, I keep going, and I end up straining my opposite calf. I spend time in the pool and within a week or so I am able to run again. Then, I struggle with this horrible aching and cramping in my legs for a handful of weeks. I back off, skip a ton of workouts, and just focus on getting back to what I love --- running through the Redwoods.

Things were starting to feel good. My legs were happy and my foot wasn’t complaining, and then bam this last Thursday night I woke-up with excruciating back pain, which sent me to ER. Luckily, it looked like it was just some weird tweak, completely unrelated to running. Who knows maybe I was demonstrating something poorly at work, or lifted something oddly, or just slept awkward, but non-the-less, I have had a few moments of wanting to throw in the towel. I am frustrated. I used to be better at listening to my body. I used to run purely on feel, which is easy to do when you’re cruising over rocks and roots, knowing that your watch really doesn’t equate to effort especially with steep climbs, mud, and all those other fun obstacles. But I’ve been anxious over the past few months. I don’t want to be disappointed at the trials. I start to lose confidence as I miss another workout, cut my mileage for the week, or I don’t hit those 6-minute miles during a tempo run. And this doubt just makes me tenser (so no wonder I keep ending up hurt). It has been more difficult to listen to my body, back off, and realize that I can’t control what will happen on January 14th.

So, this is why I have been quiet. I am trying to find that balance between running in the woods and clicking away evenly paced miles. I am trying to push my body differently, but not push it until it breaks. I’ve been reminding myself constantly that the reason I wake-up and run is because I love it, not because I want to hit a certain time (although I know how good this feels). And, I keep reminding myself that good races have come when I least expect them and that if I can continue to smile and enjoy the adventures, I will do my best on each given day. And ultimately, disappointment typically fuels the next race --- so, plain and simple, I will keep waking up and lacing up my shoes. And if there are days that I can’t, I’ll do my best to express my frustration, take some deep breaths, and hop in the pool or go for a relaxing walk. Bumps in the road, but I am determined…

And, honestly, I really am looking forward to some more time on the trails in 2012.


R said...

I sympathize with your plight: I was set to run CIM today until my Achilles nightmare returned last week... ( I thought it had healed, but it seems that was not the case.)

All I can say by way of sagacity (I'm not sure I have any) is that running's mysteries lie in interpreting the language of the body. We ought to know better than to push ourselves so hard, after all. And yet, that is what this passion demands. You are an amazingly talented athlete and a wonderful person. No matter what you do at the trials, those two things will not change.

I wish you a speedy return to those redwood trails... and maybe I'll see you out there, when I'm ready to run again as well.

Sarah Lavender Smith said...

Caitlin, I'm so sorry to read about this, and I admire your candor. It sounds like you're doing all the right things and listening to your body, though. Keep in mind that some athletes have PRs after a long layoff and low-mileage period due to injury, because their bodies are fully healed and rested. I hope you can take the time between now and the trials day by day, week by week, and have confidence in your unwavering ability and strength as an athlete.

E-Speed said...

I feel ya girl. I hope your body gets on board and you start to turn things around! Remember to have fun every day, the rest will line itself up!

Olga said...

Seems that so many of us struggle through similar things, and when we do, we feel so alone, like nobody else would understand and everyone and their mother is running out there...Keep your hopes high.