Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wanted: Pep in Step

I have two days to get some pep in my step. Here we are, on the countdown to Yakima, and I have a cold. I was just beginning to feel like I was getting my energy back after the 50 mile run, and whammo! All energy is gone. But you know me...stubborn, no wait, let's not call it stubborn. Let's call it "committed to my goals". Sounds so much better - like a personality strength. Okay, so I am committed to my goals, and the next goal in sight is running the Yakima Canyon Marathon. Now here is where my health history pays off. I know I can do this. It might be a slog, I might go over six hours, but I know, absolutely know, that I can finish a marathon no matter how I feel. So, finish it I will!

In another sign of my commitment to my goals, I've put in 18 miles so far this week, cold and all. Because, one of my goals is to run on running days. And rather than picking mileages, I pick the route that feels right that morning, and sometimes that means I run a bit farther than what one might consider smart. But, remember, it's not stupidity, it's commitment. One of my running commitments is to enjoy my runs, and enjoying them means running where I want to run. See - goal oriented, that's me.

I was reading blogs before work this morning, and once again found myself amazed at the variety of runners out there. It started a bit of a post rolling around in my head. Then I walked in the door at work and there was a friend from work - the only other person I know at the college who runs marathons. She has been trying to qualify for Boston and was training hard through summer and fall, only to develop knee problems. She's rested and iced and MRI'd and the diagnosis is officially "runners knee". She's been told to cross-train and work on some specific exercises and to start back slowly with a run/walk. She is bummed. Her running partner qualified and is on her way to Boston and my friend feels like she is starting all over. The question sits there between us: 50 year old woman, runs marathon after marathon, 50K and 50 miles, with no discernible training plan and no long rests between. 30-something trains to the letter, runs one or two marathons a year and gets injured. How does that work?

It must be speed. It must be the push to go faster. Or, alternatively, it must be the walk breaks. It must be the commitment to run according to feeling. It must be the consistent week-in, week-out running of 14 years. Could it be running for the joy of movement and being outside? Is it the difference between pushing for speed and pushing for endurance? Is it a relaxed, que sera sera approach versus a focused approach? Or is it simple anatomy - that build and musculature varies between us, and that structural issues can lead to injury?

I don't know the answer. I only know what works for me. As you well know, I am the "run according to feeling, consistent week-in, week-out, running for the joy of movement and to be outside, pushing for endurance, relaxed, que sera sera" runner who is committed to her goals, whatever they may be. For this week, that means finding my energy again, and finishing a marathon.

And finally, go on over and give Jessica some cheers. She was our lone couch-to-5K runner at this time last year, and now, one short year later, is running her first marathon in Yakima on Saturday! And you know Steve (runs with us and drives the infamous Yeti) and Lorri (good friend and fellow Pilates instructor)? Their daughter Sydnee will also be running her first marathon (with me) at Yakima, so give her some cheers too, and I'll pass them on!

23 comments:

Irene said...

I wish I could figure out that perfect formula, to stay away from injury. It seems like it's hit and miss to why certain injuries happen. I guess you have to know your body and how far you can push it, plus knowing when to ease up. I'm so amazed with everything you've been doing over the past year, and with everything else you have planned.

Keep on keepin' on!

Sarah said...

That's a great feeling...knowing you can do it no matter what.

I think the answer to the injury puzzle varies. Some are plagued with near constant overuse or mechanical problems. But then there's the "freak accident" which is sort of what happened to me. But definitely, knowing your body and what it can handle is key.

Good luck at Yakima! : )

wendy said...

I'm hearing that more and more...plan to run for an hour, don't plan to run x miles, just see how you feel. Listen to your body!

you are a wise runner, my friend, and you certainly have lots 'o bling to show for it! =)

best wishes for a wonderful time in yakima. be sure to cheer extra for me when you see jessica!

Journey to a Centum said...

Do we need to have you drug tested for PEP?

If you should come across my burned out shell of a body along the Yakima course please encourage me to go on. I'll probably hear your laughter echoing down the valley from behind me as I run toward Sela.

I'm looking forward to the weekend! Should be a lot of fun!

Nat said...

Distance vs. Speed. I am playing with speed training right now but I am not finding it much fun. Well, if it's not fun then why do it? You know? Sooo, maybe I'll never run Boston. Most days I'm ok with that.

robtherunner said...

I definitely think a person is more likely to get injured when they are dealing with speed and pushing their body towards that end. I know that's how it happened to me. Like Sarah said, there are also those freak accidents and mechanical problems that can be triggered without the speed. Have fun in Yakima!

Joe said...

Great question, Michelle. I was actually mulling same on a run earlier this week.

It ought to be the subject of some study by a PhD student somewhere...

I don't think we can dismiss physiology, build, alignment, etc. Things we were born with.

But the "push" for speed does have an impact. As does run/walk, IHMO.

I'm in the final two months of an 18 month personal experiment on this one...I'll write up my observations in June. Need to get through these 5 half marathons as part of it...one down, next on on Saturday.

Fun...you're awesome...enjoy Yakima with Eric, the veteren, and Jessica....how cool for her!!!

Laura H said...

Can one get committed for their commitments? Way to keep on truckin'! When a cold sets in (and it's rare for me for some reason) I get the Zicam nose spray out. I swear by it - Donn sneezed all over me night and day a few months back, and I never got a sniffle.

Have a great time in Yakima- I love your attitude! It pays off in the long run, so to speak. BTW, I ran Boston in 2006 - injured! Hah!!

Jack said...

I could use some pep too, or at least a little more determination to keep going even when the pep isn't there. Have fun in Yakima!

Anne said...

Michelle, You don't realize it but you just inspired my plans for this season. Instead of running for daily distance, I'm going to do it by course. I love that idea!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

i LOVE your spin: "committed to my goals"

that's awesome!

hmm, usually marathoners tend to run higher mileage at faster paces than us back of the pack, slowpoke ultrarunners - on pavement, no less. i tend to think that's usually why they get injured more often. but who knows!

i'm starting to run for time as opposed to distance. now that i have a garmin, i can just head out with no specific course in mind and go until i feel i've gotten enough (keeping total mileage for the week in mind, i can't quite let go of that).

angie's pink fuzzy said...

i LOVE your spin: "committed to my goals"

that's awesome!

hmm, usually marathoners tend to run higher mileage at faster paces than us back of the pack, slowpoke ultrarunners - on pavement, no less. i tend to think that's usually why they get injured more often. but who knows!

i'm starting to run for time as opposed to distance. now that i have a garmin, i can just head out with no specific course in mind and go until i feel i've gotten enough (keeping total mileage for the week in mind, i can't quite let go of that).

Robb said...

(stubborn)...did you hear me?

Ah, you'll get your energy back - good luck!

Donald said...

The injury thing is a mystery - but you hit all of the major suspects. There's definitely something to the speed and "envelope pushing" nature of going for a marathon PR that makes us more inclined to break down, but genetics plays a huge part as well. Everybody is an experiment of one.

Thomas said...

Running slower is definitely a way to lower the injury risk, but who knows about the actual causes? You might be very well suited to long distances, and the fact that you run well within yourself means you don't have to worry too much about extra miles.

jessica said...

Michelle, you'll find your pep on the drive over, or at dinner, or listening to the speaker, or in the morning quietness. Don't worry, you'll make it through - you are very strong. Thanks for the kudos, I am getting really excited to run through that canyon!

Juls said...

Call it what you will "subborn", dedicated, committed to your goals...it's all the same (awesome). Good luck 2 U.

Sunshine said...

Committed to your hopes and goals!!
Wishing you pep, energy, delight.

Annette said...

I often wonder why some of us seem to incur injury after injury and others just keep running. I know there are so many variables, so there's not just one answer. But, I'm so glad you've found what works for you. Keep it up - there's no stopping you!

E-Speed said...

Have fun at your marathon this weekend! Hope you get your energy back! I swear it took me forever to get my pep back after my first 50 miler. But when it happens, you will be ready :)

Jon said...

From one sicky to another, I wish you an immediate and instant recovery before your race. I plan on doing the double-slog at Mt Si. I wonder if I'll make it to the finish before the cutoff? Oh well, guess I'll find out in a week. Have fun at Yakima!

runliarun said...

It is, of course, both body and spirit, and how one coordinates them.

I do not know how you do it, Michelle.

runliarun said...

It is, of course, both body and spirit, and how one coordinates them.

I do not know how you do it, Michelle.