Friday, September 25, 2009

Time for a break

First off, I am broken - of course, in the moral sense, but wait... there is more. A couple of miles from the finish of my last run of the week - one of the quickest, lightest and most fun barefoot runs of my life (thus the "blaze of glory") - my left foot went "snap" and I went "grrr", holding back the expletives the best I could, somehow attempting to pretend that a new and awful pain had entered my life. My pace slowed, and slowed, and slowed, until I was reduced to a stutter-stepping walk, just outside my office. I sat down for a bit, took a deep breath and thought, "hey, this will pass, probably just a trivial twinge for the high barefoot mileage this week". But alas, it was not so. I had to suck it up and call for a ride home from work. I RICEd the goodness out of the foot all Friday evening. Saturday morning I woke, one-eye opened to the reality of the pain I was experiencing. All signs pointed to stress fracture - the only way to know for sure to get x-rays and a docs opinion. Sure enough, after a short trip to the hospital, I emerged from the sterile facility with a large ski-boot, a limp and a 4-6 week prescription for recovery.The metatarsal off my big tow is fractured lengthwise. Drat. So my fall running plans, of course, are out the window. No Le Grizz, Pony Express or birthday run. Instead? Reading, Seinfeld watching, core exercises, friends, new hobbies, family, etc. Not a bad exchange.

Back to last week in running, the stats:
- 120 miles
- 70 barefoot, 50 shod
- 5,000 vertical feet

I am optimistic about the prognosis and short-term future here. I haven't taken an honest to goodness break from training in nearly 4 years. My mind has been consumed by training. It is do or die now. If I do - think about running - I die. So a break. A mandatory break. It is nice to meet my body at a breaking point. I have been blessed over the years in training. I have had knee problems here and there, but nothing I couldn't run through.

Over the last 4 years I have put in nearly 18,000 miles of running without a major incident. In that, I had a 4 month cycle where I was running 100 or more miles a week at 6:15 pace or quicker. Over the last couple of years I have averaged close to 120 miles a week - significantly slower; my personal record during that span being 204 miles in 7 days. All sans injury. The boot is humbling. It has reminded me of my limits, my edges. Already I am noticing a change in my thinking. I am thinking more clearly, not worried, anxious or distracted by my training. This will be a great period for me to reassess my goals, values and priorities and put things in their place, once again. I will be back. Oh, I will be back to the ultra scene, but in a totally different way. In balance.

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