Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Painfree or Carefree?

The typical running injury doesn't involve blood or band aids. If it were we'd be a lot happier in light of the fact that we're still able to run. The sight of blood doesn't usually elicit that "Oh crap, how will this effect my running plans?" response, like you may have seen in Gary Robbins Hawaii video. The pain in that guys voice is not based on actual pain as much as it is on an instantaneous awareness that a summer filled with running and racing was gone.

Like that flashing red light on the dashboard of our cars injuries tell us our running machines have had enough. Perhaps the machine is out of gas or oil, too tired, too old, or maybe even unmotivated.

Recently I've had a small red light flashing in my calf. Specifically my soleus. When it first flared up during Iron Knee I was able to run through it, but still had that moment of panic regarding Knee Knacker, the race I 've scheduled to peak for. At first I was mad, sad, upset, confused, and I tried to rationalize the pain away.

As the time went on I came to terms with it and started doing more and more cycling. I'm even doing my interval workouts on the bike. It's fun and feels less like work.

There it felt less like work. Getting out for a run was feeling like work.

Is this burn out?

I was injured. Running felt like work. All I thought about was my training schedule, I was wasted tired and never recovering well.

The past 6 weeks have been wonderful - once I accepted my situation, that is. Not being able to run has allowed me to let go of the pressure I placed upon myself for Knee Knacker and enjoy other things. Riding the Test of Metal last weekend was a hoot even in the mud and wet. And I rolled off a 3:36. Not bad for a "runner".

This all really hit me yesterday when I was able to run for a solid hour without pain in my soleus. The birds were singing, the wind was blowing branches down around me, I jumped over a garter snake, and I was smiling in a large way even after I gashed my knee. Since having A.R.T. runs had been about achieving a pain free sensation in my soleus and I had gotten there a few weeks back in doing a few 40 minute sessions. But something still wasn't right. I was apprehensive to do certain moves, my body was tight and I wasn't enjoying myself. It felt like work. Yesterday I wasn't just pain free - I was care free too.

After injury forced me into a 7 week Ultra taper, I've naturally let go of my 5:30 Knee Knacker goal. I really am running for fun again now and if I am unable to start Knee Knacker I won't be looking for a rope to hang myself with. It is what it is.

Pain free running is one thing, but care free running is essential. All my regimented training had me focused on the future and not on Running Now. I should have known better.


  1. Set up for success!!! Remember to keep playing!

  2. Hey buddy all about the journey races are just a stop along the way

  3. It's all about the ride, huh, guys? Thanks.

  4. I still feel stressed and am trying to feel care free. As soon as I enter a run, I overtrain and get sick, get hurt... I strained my soleus training for the Vancouver Marathon and shimmed the heels of my shoes and ran the thing flat footed. But if I just run, I run 2 hours a day in the mountains and feel care free. To make this even more of a contradiction, there is no pressure in the running community -- they are cool people. So chilling out has become my top priority.