Monday, March 4, 2013

Since Masochist - Rehabilitating the Body and Mind

2012 is long gone.  It ended as years normally do, just the way they start I suppose.  A yearly recap is 62 days late and I'm recalling the events of 2012.  2012 was the most eventful year of my life to this point - with that said, running (in terms of mileage) was at a career low.  I moved to Virginia from Ohio in January only to move right back to Ohio in May.  I started one grad school, left and started another in an 8 months span.  Oh, and in that time, I married my beautiful wife, Bobbi.  That is eventful in itself.
My left leg has given me trouble for several years.  In 2007, while doing 20 x 400 meter intervals on grass, I slipped on the start and felt my left groin "pop."  I kept running and for 5 years I handled the groin by frequent heating, icing, stretching.  The injury would usually only pop up 3-4 times a year and last for a week or so before it would go dormant for a few more months.  It never hindered me or stopped me from doing what I wanted with running.  Last year, it caught up to me.  In March, most of my muscles in my upper left leg were so tight that I had a hard time running past an hour.  I took some time off and with more dedicated stretching it went away again. 

After a 50K and two 50 milers later, the pain was so constantly dull and debilitating that I knew running in this state would only make my leg worse.  Not that I wanted to run - by that point the injury reduced my motivation for running almost completely.  Even on "good" days I would go out with intentions of running longer only to decide to head back inside after just two miles.  I still tried to run the Frozen Sasquatch 50K in early January but dropped after the first 25K loop.  I was done.
A DNF at Frozen Sasquatch after winning the previous three years.
Running had played such a major role in my life for 5 years and for the most part I floated through it.  I ran a lot of miles without worry and was able to dictate how long or how fast I wanted to go.  I scheduled my days and months, trips, and basically life around running.  I have been reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg in which he talks about how the choices we make are not actually decisions, but instead are habits.  Over time, after repetition upon repetition, habits are formed.  Running Free and long became a habit for me by training my mind to do so day after day and week after week - the "10,000 hour rule."

Motivation is a strange thing too.  It seems like motivation is only around when things are going well and that it acts upon a continuum.  I was riding that motivational wave until it collapsed.  I had been overcompensating for weak and imbalanced core and upper leg muscles mile after mile for five year.  When the time came that running was no longer fun for me, it didn't take long for my motivation to shift directions.  It was easy to use the time for other parts of life.  I was spending more time working on grad. school, teaching, being a husband and working on a house. 

From November to mid-February I ran very little.  By the end of the time off I realized that I still love running.  I have been slowly rehabbing my body and building a little mileage into my weeks.  Motivation for running is creeping back into my life and I find myself dreaming of long trail runs in the forest.  I am not sure when I will race again - I am just focused on getting to a point where my body can sustain a decent week of mileage so I can enjoy rugged hills and trails.  When you go without something like this, you only ask for the small things back... and they're coming.
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Run On 
New addition to our family - Ellie