Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pulling the plug.

I am sure that, by the title of this post, you probably know what you are about to read.

I have been thinking of what to write for this post ever since Coach Dave and I got off the phone at 9:30 this morning. This was not a post I wanted to write. Honestly, I thought my next blog would be about the power of positive thinking and essential oils (will get to that in a second) and how anything is possible when the fitness is there.

This post, as previewed by my title, is to explain why I will no longer be toeing the line at Grandma's Marathon this coming Saturday.

After banging my knee on the chair on Monday, I had quite the interesting week:

  • Monday I ran 5 miles after banging the knee. The pain subsided after maybe a mile. Phew.
  • Tuesday came, I ran 6 miles cutting the pace down to 6:00 at the end, again pain subsiding after a mile. Phew.
  • Wednesday, I did my workout of 3mile warmup, 5x3min HARD 3min EASY, 2mile cooldown. Except that despite the HARD sections being awesome (5:34 average on crushed limestone, so 5:2x average on roads), I couldn't make it to the cooldown. I walked the last mile in knee pain. Tears all night.
  • Thursday I ellipticalled. And then had tight calves until today (Sunday). Whoops.
  • Friday we tried this running thing again. 3.75miles later, knee pain was back, 6 miles later I walked the last mile in. Tears and swears followed.
  • Saturday I biked for an hour and walked 3 miles. All pain free, very promising. My PT friend Earl had me see an "essential oils" friend. We talked for awhile and I decided to try out a few of these oils. One in particular was the "Deep Blue," which also comes as a rub. It's similar to Icy Hot but is much stronger and can penetrate deeper as it is made up of all natural oils. Even though it didn't cure my knee, it almost immediately fixed my tight calves from Thursday's elliptical! Highly recommended.
  • Sunday (today), I attempted 6 miles while watching Ryan and my friends compete in our local Lake in the Hills triathlon. Turns out the knee pain comes on at 10 minutes. And on a scale of 1-10, at 10 minutes, it's at an 8. Can you imagine running even just 5 miles with that kind of pain?

So, after today's run, Coach Dave and I decided that my training has been compromised to a point where a sub-2:43 is just no longer achievable. While PR-ing is still in the cards if my knee heals this week, it still just is not worth the effort I'll have to put in and the recovery time that will be needed before I can get back into triathlon training.

This is definitely not how I envisioned the end of this run focus going. But, everything happens for a reason and I fully believe that.

I have learned SO much through this training cycle. In a short 2 months, Coach Dave has transformed me physically and mentally into an "elite" runner. He helped me develop the "elite" mindset and physically tested me with workouts comparable to the true elite distance runners.

Physically: the demands of solely running are much more than what I had anticipated going into this. I thought my 2-4 hours of working out per day during the week when triathlon training was tough, but for some reason the 1-2 hours of working out per day during the week when just running took a much bigger toll on my body. Plus, the pace I was pushing during the runs (even the easy runs) was far more challenging than the paces I was running during triathlon training. So physically, it's safe to say I made some significant gains in the running world.

Mentally: most of my runs throughout these 2 months were done solo. Between teaching and coaching and Life Time group training, it never really worked out that I could run with others. The harder the workout, the tougher I became mentally. One of the first workouts Coach Dave had me do (with him) was a 3x2mile with 1mile recovery in between. I could not even break 6 minutes the first time I did this workout (granted, it was 2 weeks post-Ironman Cabo but still). I recently did this workout and had to control myself to stay above 6 minutes for the first set. So mentally, it's safe to say I made some significant gains.

Emotionally: it's pretty safe to say this was the most emotional time period in my entire life. I cried more than I ever have and the littlest things would upset me. NO, I am not pregnant (sorry, mom!). But truly, the biggest emotional "low" I have ever experienced in my life was when my grandmother unexpectedly passed away. The amount I cried during this past week tops that amount, which is kind of ridiculous, but at the same time hopefully demonstrates just how dedicated I was to this goal. It was incredibly difficult to watch Ryan just crush the triathlon and road-race scene while I was off training for my marathon. Obviously I was and am so proud of him, but it was emotional as I was no longer a part of that aspect of his life. While I broke down in front of way too many people, I will say that emotionally I did make some significant gains.

Spiritually: I don't really post much about religion because I know people have different views and it's not something people necessarily talk about. However, this weekend when I was at church praying (not kneeling though since that was impossible, ironically) I came to the realization that God is going to help me with this OTQ on His schedule. He has a plan, and Grandma's just wasn't it. After my awesome workout but horrible knee pain on the cooldown on Wednesday, and then after the letdown of a run on Friday, my faith was really shaken. Coach Dave has said throughout this entire process to "Keep the faith" and that has been hard, but last week really pushed me over the edge. Luckily, my awesome family and husband keep me sane and reminded me that God works in mysterious ways and I have SO much going for me in other aspects of my life. So spiritually, my faith has been strengthened so I made some significant gains here as well.

Everything in life is about perspective. Even though I am disappointed in the fact that I worked my butt off to get to the start line at Grandma's, an accident happened that I had no control over. That was the hardest part for me to put into perspective: I had no control over what happened. It would be different if I was adding in extra workouts or eating like garbage or doing something else that would jeopardize my performance. But the reality is, despite doing everything right and making all of these sacrifices, we are all susceptible to accidents and when they happen, we must use them as learning and growing experiences.

Tomorrow begins the "get back into shape for triathlon" program, in terms of swimming and biking. I'm going to figure out this knee thing, but in the meantime gain back some fitness on the swim and bike that I've been neglecting for the past two months! I have learned SO much from my run focus and plan to use many of those ideas in my new triathlon program.

Oh, and don't worry. That Olympic Trials Qualifying dream is still there. It's simply postponed. Thanks for all of your support and encouragement through this chapter of my athletic career. I'm ready to move on to the next chapter and come back and revisit this one after Kona in October!

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