Monday, February 4, 2013

Running tunnel vision = Runnelvision

If you know me, you know that I put my heart fully into things. If I commit to something then come the zombie-apocalypse I am going to accomplish that goal. At one point I was a full-time student, planning a wedding with the groom long-distance, and holding down two jobs. I almost died. Also the caterer didn't show up to the wedding and many guests and the bride almost perished from starvation. Since then, I have become better at saying "no" to things when I am already over-committed.

All of this is to say that I'm either experiencing an emotional high about my endeavors or I am in a depressive funk. Rarely am I in-between. After finishing my first half-marathon ten minutes faster than my goal pace, I felt like I was ready to go take on 100 miles. After failing to finish my first marathon, I curled up in a ball at my in-laws' house wanting my life to be over. And I am not a cute crier. Fortunately Cory is pretty much always in a happy medium. Even when I've annoyed the crap out myself, he sits there dispassionately spewing extraordinary pearls of wisdom.

Well yesterday I was in a funk. After pushing myself and completing some breakthrough long runs, I realized that this "bruised" toe of mine probably has a stress fracture. It is inexplicably swollen with nothing to explain it but a low bone-density and an increase in training. I was reflecting on why runners get so upset about injury and was realizing that the reason why most of us runners love running is because it makes us feel like we have some sort of control over our bodies. When injury strikes, we are reminded that we actually have little control over what our bodies can and can't handle.

As Cory consoled me and tried to convince me to see a sports specialist, I realized that I get upset because really I just want a quick fix so that I can have control over my body again. I don't want to learn whatever lesson this injury is going to teach me. I just want to have one solid season where I can build endurance without my bones rebelling. Then my pup comes over to me and puts her paw on my shoulder. She licks the tears off my face and deposits her bad-breath goo all over my neck. And I remember that my life is not all about running. I have a loving husband, a loving dog, a job with people that I love, and every day I get to see mountains that I love. I'm pretty ungrateful.

Cory reminded me that it is better to show up for a race under-trained rather than injured. The embarrassing reality is that I want to show up trained AND healthy so that I can prove to myself and disbelieving others that not only can I finish this marathon but I can finish well. And secretly I am requiring myself to go sub-5:30 so that I can qualify for the Pikes Peak Marathon which I've told Cory that I'm not going to do this year. And then I want to crush it at the Golden Gate Dirty 30 so I can show the ultrasignup algorithms that the time it predicted for me is too slow. Then I want to go back to Wisconsin for the North Face Challenge and show that the Kettles are for suckers, they aren't real hills.

So a February injury isn't just an injury, it's a mountain lion that leaps up and eats all of your dreams. It's the rattlesnake that bites you and at first you think you just got scratched by a stick but then a few minutes later you are on the ground unconscious. No, but really, it's the reminder that I need to get over myself and care a little more about other things. Maybe I'll never have a break out year, but if that's why I run then I should be ashamed.

So Cory and puppy, I will listen to you. I'm going to take a few days off and see if the swelling goes down. If it does not, does anyone know of a good doctor in the Denver area?


  1. You. Are. Hilarious! And nice and real, which is refreshing. I think you're learning great lessons and I'm glad you have that loving husband and dog to encourage you and snap you back to reality. :) What this makes me think about is that you're being prepared (a bit) for when you have children: something is always messing up "the plan." It's knocked my intensity down a LOT in the last 8 years. God is good, He teaches and provides gently and just when we need it. Love you!!

    1. That is very encouraging. Sometimes I don't think I would make a very good parent. And I don't always feel that God's teaching is gentle, but he knows I can handle it (and he really is good). Love you too!