Thursday, April 19, 2007


Very little running this week. I did a full on session with Duck on Monday morning, which led to can't walk, can't sit down levels of pain, lasting through to Wednesday night, when I finally climbed into the bath. When I climbed out I could at least walk, although sitting down does still cause the odd wince.

I saw my physio on Monday as well. I was honest and admitted that I was scared to go back to her, to the point when I almost went somewhere else. In the end she was actually pretty pleased with me. I've been doing what I told, and up till the 2.4km time trial had been using my glutes and running pain free. She did a little bit of spine cracking, checked out my range of motion, and booked me in for another appointment tomorrow. She gave me permission to do some light running, and actually recommended that I do some speed training.

With that in mind I headed out with the Jog Squad for their first session on Monday night. We ended up down on the waterfront in dark and cold conditions, doing the Beep test. I decided I wasn't going to push it to get a good result when my hip was already wrecked from time trialling. In the end I made it to 6.4, but I should be capable of at least a high 8, given fresh legs, no injuries and the right psychology.

With Tuesday being my birthday I went out to lunch and had dinner at home with the rest of the Welly 4, so there was no exercise to be had. I got to bed around 1am, so there was no way I was getting up to do weights before work on Wednesday morning either. By Wednesday night I was hobbling, so no jogging then either.

Duck worked my upper body and core this morning, (four sets of full pressups with a 10kg weight on your back anyone?) and after work I went straight home. Why? I was aching again. As much as it was a perfect evening for running and I was harbouring fears of losing fitness (not to mention gaining weight), I was even more afraid of damaging my back even more, and of the injury spreading down into my knee. Could I possibly be developing some brain cells when it comes to listening to my body?

So that leaves me at home tonight with a blanket, keeping warm and resting. I AM going to do RPM in the morning, but I'll keep the spinning light and not do the jumps. My hip's still achy, and it's gone down into my quad/IT band a little. But I think that now the leg press pain has subsided the hip pain will reciprocate. I would still like to do the 10km race in Levin on the weekend. The weather forecast is good, the route perfect (undulating, with a mix of seal and unsealed surface, in the country). However I'm not doing to do it unless I'm confident I won't injure myself further. I'm seeing my physio again tomorrow, so I'll see what she says.

Which brings me to the big question. Why do I do this? When I first started running I wrote a poem voicing a question I was working through at the time. Was I running towards something or running away? I answered that question a long time ago.

Why do people participate in endurance sports? Obviously I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but for me, and I suspect for others as well, the answer relates to exploring their limits. The challenge of pushing their bodies to extremes, and reaching increasing heights of success. I run because I never thought I could. Am I trying to hide from something? The answer to that is an emphatic no! At the half-way mark, when the nausea's setting in, the legs are tiring and the mind is screaming that this is all too much effort, there is no way to hide. There is no way I could do this if I hadn't confronted my demons along the way. Or rather, if I don't continue to conquer my demons. I'm not going to achieve my goals until I sort out whatever dark sprite is causing me to crash every time I do an event. Endurance sports require a unique kind of honesty. Similar to the honesty writing requires.

Am I being selfish? Am I sacrificing my relationship, being unfair to Hamish, restricting my self-development in other areas? I guess you would have to ask Hamish that question. He hasn't seemed too unhappy the last few times we've talked about us (he's pretty fond of the abs). Am I putting off other things I would like to do to make time for training? Absolutely. I haven't been to a Buddhist centre in over a year. I haven't learned to paint. I regularly choose to have an early night to enable myself to run the next morning, rather than head out to a dance party.

But what have I gained? Health. Happiness. Self confidence and self belief. I realised a few weeks ago that my tmj problems have spontaneously resolved. I haven't had a panic attack in a long time. I no longer suffer from clinically measurable levels of generalised anxiety disorder. I have doing, achieving and sorting dreams now, not paranoid nightmares.

There's a whole heap more to 'me' than I ever dared imagine. That's why I run.

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