Reflections on 2014

Reflections on 2014

I don’t like to set New Year’s Resolutions. Too easy to make, too easy to break.

As a runner I’ve learned how to set goals. Part of setting goals is staying focused over the long-term. A New Year’s Resolution to lose weight is easy to make after a few beverages, but difficult to keep when pizza shows up the first Thursday evening of the year.

Runners know that goals can be changed. If a runner gets injured, they adjust their expectations for the spring marathon. On the other hand, if training goes well and they stay healthy, a runner knows how to push just a little bit harder.

Setting a goal isn’t like jumping out of a plane and knowing the earth will soon be under your feet. As in life, a running goal may never be met. Life gets in the way. Sometimes the body fails us or we fail our bodies. Shit happens.

Running has taught me a lot about life, living and how to go after what I want. It takes work, determination and will power to reach your goals. If a goal is not your own, it is very difficult to stay on track over the long run.

Over the past few years I have come to understand the ephemeral nature of goals I am not committed to.

Goals for 2014

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Eastern States 20 Mile Race Recap

On Sunday, March 24th, five friends and I drove up to Hampton Beach for the Eastern States 20 Mile Run.

We left nice and early and easily found a parking spot. Eastern States is a point to point race so the race organizers had buses to take us up the coast to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where the race began.

Eastern States 20 Mile race
The logo and medal for the Eastern States 20 Mile Run

We arrived at Portsmouth High School around 9AM and had two hours to kill before the 11AM race start. The high school looks quite new and we hung out in the spacious cafeteria. We also got to use their new and comfortable bathrooms, which was a nice change from what we usually get at a race.

The number distribution was as smooth and as quick as any that I have experienced, though it was obvious that this was a first time for some of the crew.

We hung out, did our final prep for the race and made numerous trips to the bathroom. There were hundreds of runners hanging out, stretching and making new friends or catching up with old ones.

Great day for the Eastern States 20

Temps were forecast in the 40s with sun and a 10-15mph breeze. For March this was quite pleasant, anything above freezing feels great! Many people were wearing shorts and some had short-sleeved running shirts on.

I opted for Under Armor shorts, my Asics running shorts, Under Armor top, 2009 Boston Marathon running shirt and my vest. I loaded my vest pockets up with a GU and the Power Gels and grabbed my winter running hat and gloves. I like to keep my head and hands warm and if it gets to hot these items are easily removed.

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Recovery and Pontifications

My journey as an injured runner continues

Except for the BAA 10K last Sunday I have not run at all this week. Every time I drive somewhere and see runners, the urge to jump out of the car and run with them is overwhelming. I feel like my entire routine is out of whack and off-balance.

roller, recoveryI’ve been using my new Thera-Roll foam roller every night and sometimes in the morning. Now my other hamstring is a little sore from the rolling! The muscles are not used to getting this type of pressure so it is uncomfortable while rolling and is then uncomfortable afterwards. I think it is working, but this is going to be a long-term recovery.

I went to the running club on Tuesday night but did not run. It was the final night for our Walk to Run program and I wanted to be there as everyone finished their first 3 mile run. It was fun to see them finish. Just about everyone I spoke with intends to keep running with the club. Afterwards Marathon Sports had some food and gift bags for all of the Walk to Run participants.

While I was there I talked to some of our veteran runners about my injury. Everyone agreed that it can take a long time to recover and you can’t rush it. I was also cautioned not to hit it hard when I come back as I can risk a re-injury. Rest, ice, ibuprofen and the roller were all recommended and getting some PT was suggested. It was also apparent that almost every runner gets an injury at some point in their career. It just comes with the territory.

Being patient is the most difficult part of recovery. I had plans to run a lot of 5K and 10K races this summer as part of my training for my fall marathon. I’m glad I didn’t sign up and pay for those races now. Registration fees are normally nor-refundable. With each passing week the marathon gets closer and just thinking of the date makes me nervous. I’m going to start doing some short easy runs in the next week. If I feel any pain I’ll stop and take some more time off. If everything feels okay I’ll continue with short easy runs, just to be doing something.

This week’s pontification:

There is an adage that goes something like this:

“You’re never more likely to make a mistake than when you are absolutely sure that you are right.“

The logic is that when you are 100% confident in your choice, conclusion or way of thinking you stop looking for alternatives and disregard any facts or ideas that contradict your choice, conclusion, or idea.

In spite of better information you hold firmly to your beliefs even if the alternative is indisputably the better choice and disaster is imminent.

My running equivalent is this:

“You’re never more likely to injure yourself than when you are feeling strong, healthy and confident.”

When you have all of this going for you it is easy to feel that you can tackle any run at any pace. It makes it easy to disregard fatigue and disregard the fact that you are pushing yourself beyond your normal limits.

You can injure yourself in an instant and sometimes not even realize it.You may not feel an injury until the next day or your next run. While as humans and runners we need to push ourselves in order to make progress, we should not disregard common sense and safety. When we are at our peak or maximum we also need to realize that we cannot push much harder without risk of injury.

We all have limits. Go out and find those limits, but be careful about pushing too far beyond those limits.

Recovery can take a long time and is frustrating. Some injuries never go away completely, so it is best to try and avoid injury when you can.

Run well my friends.

©2012 anagelin