Sunday, October 23, 2011

Never give up!

I haven't posted for the past few weeks.  I got myself into a funk after the Reach the Beach relay and the one year anniversary of the accident.  I figured I completed my goal of running with the Red Eye Runners in the relay, and I somehow figured things would be about as good as they were going to get after one year had passed.

Before I get too far ahead, I want to give a shout out to Deb Livingston for running a great race at the Grindstone 100.  She took honors as top female finisher and I believe she was 12th overall.  Nice job Deb!  Also, a big shout out to all my friends who ran the Hartford Marathon this year.  There's too many of you to list here, and I'd be afraid of missing someone on the list.  Anyway, great job and I hope to join you again one year.

So, here's this week's update:

Let's start with the pathetic wimpering....waaahh waaahhh.

OK, my running was rough at best.  I wondered how I could ever get back to a competitive level, and the work to grind out a few miles hardly seemed worth it at times.  My leg hurt and I was feeling sorry for myself.  I found every excuse in the book and then some not to run.  I can walk normal enough after a couple steps...provided I have my shim in the shoe, and it's not my first steps of the day.  People are amazed at how I walk now, but they don't know what's going on under the hood.  There's a lot of compensation and pain.  I looked OK, but I was disappointed.

Sure, I reminded myself about how lucky I was to be alive and have relatively minor injuries, but I wondered if I would ever be able to run the way I once did.  I know I'm lucky to be here, and I truly am grateful.  With that being said, I'm having a hard time accepting any limitations as a result of the accident.  I beat myself up over the accident, decisions on where to be treated, when to be treated, post-surgery treatment, 2nd surgery choices, etc., etc.  It's been a tough road!  I had to get my head on straight and move on...

Last weekend, I decided to run to the top of Talcott Mountain to check out the annual Tower Toot.  It's kind of a German  festival thing.  I wasn't particularly interested in the event itself as much as I wanted to celebrate.  Last year, Kevin drove me to the top of Talcott Mountain on the same weekend, and I tried my crutches for the first time.  It was a pitiful site as he had to help me up and down a couple steps and deal with my whimpering.  This year, I ran all the way to the top which is no small task...ask my buddy, Matt Estes, about our run up there in a foot of snow.  It's tough!  Round trip from reservoir 6 is about 6.5 miles, and the climb is a nasty one.  The run up was fine.  I made it up without stopping, but coming down hurt like heck.  I was noticing that most of the pain was in my hip where the rod and screw are attached to the bone.  Ouch!  I wondered if I was going to break something again!

On Monday, I managed to do about 5 miles combined running and hiking up on the Metacomet trail which got me somewhat motivated.  It was great to be outside, and I stayed out well after dark.  I took it easy on the downhills.

On Wednesday, I managed a short gym workout. After biking, and some kettle bell swings, I gave up after 1.5 miles on the treadmill.  I felt lousy and didn't feel like dealing with the pain anymore.

Saturday was a different story.  I drove to the reservoir to do the 9 mile loop Goat and I have been doing for so long.  I thought it would be good to get a data point, since we had completed the loop at about 9:15 pace a couple weeks before Reach the Beach.  I wanted to see how I would compare.  The weather was nice and crisp and the foliage was fantastic.  I felt pretty good from the start and managed to do the first 5 or so miles at a pretty good clip.  The course is mostly double track trail with a couple good hills, so it's no cake walk.  I wanted to break 9 minute pace for the loop, and pushed as hard as I could on the way in.  My form went down the toilet and it was all I could do to finish, but I pulled it off !   My hip hurt like heck again...especially on the downhills, and I contemplated removal of the screw and rod again.  Nevertheless, I felt like I was moving pretty decent for the first half of the run.

I had two thoughts....maybe, just maybe I could continue to improve, and strangely enough....the shim in my shoe felt like it was too much.  Hmmmm....

I iced my hip at home and wondered whether I dared to try to run 2 days in a row again.  Kevin (The Goat) had plans for a 16 mile easy run as he tapers for the Stonecat 50 miler, and I wanted to join him for part of it.  We agreed to meet at 11AM at the reservoir.  I wondered if I would be able to run much at all as I hobbled my way around this morning.

Surprisingly, I felt half decent once we got moving.  I didn't feel too bad, but was a little fatigued from the previous day.  I was tentative on the downhills, but moved well on the flats and ups.  We were a little slower for the first 5 miles, but then picked up the pace coming home.  Goat had his GPS, so we pushed hard to break 9 minute pace.  I pushed the last mile or so at sub-8 minute pace (mostly paved and flat), and we hit the tape at around 8:55 average pace.  Yes!  Surprisingly, it was about 30 seconds slower than yesterday, but I'll take it.

Today, I used less of a shim and it worked out pretty well.  The hip continues to be very painful on the downs, so I iced it bigtime when I got home.  I'm pretty happy with my progress considering everything.
It felt good to be out there, and my form coming back in felt much better today.

The Goat is in great shape and I expect he will do well in the 50.   I was pushing as hard as I could go, and he was just jogging alongside.  I can recall the days when that equation was flipped.  It is what it is....I'm happy the Goat is running so well.

I almost gave up running a couple weeks ago.  I figured it was time to take up golf or darts or something more sedentary.   Running was not so much fun anymore.  Despite my head hanging low, I reminded myself that things always get better when we just stick with it.  I almost gave up running at a couple of key times in the past due to injury.  If I did, I would have never run the Boston Marathon...or any ultras....or finished Top 10 at Vermont twice.   Gotta keep going...

My favorite book as a kid was "The Little Engine that could..."  So much so that it's the first book I buy for each new family member.  I have a new niece/nephew getting ready to enter the world.  My sister, Amy, is due this Thursday.  I'm thinking it's time to log onto Amazon.com and make another purchase.  :-)

Have a great week everyone!

Steve

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