Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scared of Injuries

You would think after five years of racing including 19 marathons that I wouldn't let a race get to my head but here I am again.  Under two weeks until my goal race and I am a ball of nerves.  Saturday's workout did not help my nerves but I am going to back up and explain why I am so nervous.


This picture was from November 2009.  It was after my only DNF in any race.  Double achilles tendonitis.  I shouldn't have been running and I knew it.  6 weeks of no running.  This was only 11 weeks before my first and only Goofy Challenge.  Yes, I still did the Goofy Challenge, but it was nothing like I had imagined when I signed up.


Awesome picture, but I can see the pain in my eyes.  This was during my first long training run on the Boston course this year.  Shin splints.  Again, I knew during the week that something was wrong with my calves/shins.  I was so determined to get that training run done on the course that I did it anyways.  I made it 8 miles before the pain was out of control.  Being the stubborn person that I was, I continued running because I knew I would have to rest after that day.  I had to take 11 days off because of that run.  

So Saturday's bike/run went OK.  The bike was not the greatest.  I felt like I was working harder than my speed was showing and mentally I was out of it.  During the ride I started feeling an ache in the back of my knee and I kind of ignored it and the feeling never went away.  

I got home and went for an amazing brick run.  My plan said run hard and I did and loved it.  My average pace was in the 7's and I felt strong the whole time.  During the run, I didn't notice any knee pain, but I was so happy to be not on that bike so my mind wasn't focused on anything but running fast.

The next day I woke up and my knee hurt.  Every time I lifted my left leg, I felt pain in the back of my knee.  Mentally, I felt like someone had just beaten me up.  I was two weeks from my race and I had just finished 12 weeks of amazing Half Ironman training.  I had never worked so hard in training before and now I was in pain.  I have never done triathlon training so the lack of knowledge of what pain versus normal aches was making me even more confused.

Immediately, I decided to take the day off.  I only had a 25 minute run scheduled and knew that I wasn't going to risk my race for a 25 minute run.  I don't skip workouts, but I am not taking chances.  The whole day I focused on the pain in my knee and saw my dreams of a huge Half Ironman debut flying out the window.

The next morning, I woke up for my swim workout.  4000 yards.  I didn't think swimming would irritate my knee so I went to the pool and for the most part my knee was OK during the swim.  While pushing off the walls, I felt twinges but for the most part it was a successful swim.  And the rest from the day before helped as my energy was much higher than my previous swim on Friday.

Tuesday, I woke up and had a brick workout on the schedule.  I wasn't in pain anymore but I felt tight behind my knee.  I promised my coach and myself that if I felt anything I would skip my workout.  Skipping Tuesday's workout was much harder than Sunday's.  It was an important workout and I still feel guilty missing it.  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking back to my previous injuries.  Both times, I felt OK going into those final workouts.  That OK feeling was not GOOD and both resulted in way too many days off.  I told myself that one day of missed training wasn't going to kill my goals for my race and I sat on my butt and did nothing that day besides foam rolling and stretching.

And then, Wednesday, I ran.  And I ran fast.  No knee pain and an amazing workout.  Now, I still worry that my days off will mess up my taper, but messing up my taper is much better than messing up my race.  Yes, I am crazy for thinking my training is messed up, but that is the competitive athlete in me.  I want to go into Pumpkinman with everything on my side.  Missing a big workout didn't benefit me, but I know if I would have ridden that day I might not have been able to do any workouts until my race.  

So, I listened to my body.  This is a huge milestone for me because I am not one to hold back on training.  I tend to push until my body breaks and for once I chose to listen and stop before things got worse.  I can only hope that in the future when I feel an injury coming on that I can remember to look back and realize that a small rest before things get too bad is much better than a long break because I was too stubborn to stop.

12 comments:

Amanda Loudin said...

Good job! I'm so glad it paid off for you. It's hard for all of us to back off, but it usually is the right move in a case like this. Good luck moving forward!

jobo said...

I am glad you are listening to your body! Be safe, girl, and you will be so glad that you did!

Sweat Is My Sanity said...

Good you listened to your body. I'll bet you'll do great!! Good luck. :) Jessica Washburn
sweatismysanity.com (formerly runningtobeskinny.com)

raina_smalltownrunner said...

Smart girl! The more time a person has been a runner, the easier it is to identify the potential pitfalls. Sometimes it takes a lot of restraint not to run or train, but restraint is just what we need at times.

Jen said...

Way to go listening to your body on this one!!! It's harder to do than we think!!! But just know - that when you get back out there - you'll be stronger!

Michelle D said...

Good for you for listening to your body! In the long run you'll be so glad you did!

AmyC said...

I know how hard it is to skip a training day...so impressed with your decisions! I know who to turn to for support when I find myself in a similar situation ;)

Laura @ Mommyrunfast said...

So glad you were able to cut back and listen to your body! This past year I've been really nervous about injuries too... I think sometimes I've over-rested to ensure a strong comeback, but it's worth it! You are so ready- that little blip in your taper won't affect you, unless you let it (mentally)- so stay strong and confident, you've got this!

Erica G said...

Good job listening to your body and learning from the past. You will do great!

Caroline Eakle said...

I got hurt for the first time this summer...in June during a downhill half...I was in complete deny about it...did not listen and kept running and training after the race...all I could think of was Hood to Coast is coming up I need to be ready no time for silly injury....well....end of June I had to face the facts and went to the PT....I paid for not listening to my body and now I know better...I HOPE!

Erin said...

It is SO normal to get nervous before such a great race. I wish I could remember where the quote came from but an elite runner said that it was ok to be nervous because that means you care. I am so glad you are listening to your body, and don't worry too much about the injuries. You have rocked this training plan and you are ready!! At this point the hay is in the barn and you can't add to your fitness, so doing all that you can to protect it is the smart way to go. I am excited for you Robin! It's going to be great!!! :)

BackatSquare0 said...

I am just learning to listen to my body and it is so tough. I want to do everything I can to get ready for each race, but I am learning that if my body is injured pushing it even further won't help. It is so hard when we are such stubborn athletes who always want to do our best.