Monday, April 12, 2010

Inside the mind of an ultrarunner.....

I'm stealing the title from my friend, Kirstin.  She posted a blog about her great run at the BRR on Saturday where she set a 50 minute PR and overcame any mental doubts and believed in her training and in herself, resulting in a great run.  If you read her post, just do a 180 degree turn and that's where my mind was on Sunday during the Peterson Ridge Rumble 60K.

Rather than running with some pain on Sunday, I took the easy way out, and dropped at about mile 21.  Well, I walked back to the aid station to drop, and then hiked in to the finish, so I probably got in about 27 miles round trip.  Would have been easier to just hike the extra 9 and get the regular finish, but I wasn't in the mood, was stressed about the fear of continuing to be injured forever, and didn't care at that point.  I can make up all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line was that I was frustrated and wasn't having fun.  At this point I don't know if my ankle pains are exaggerated or real; what are the odds of finally getting rid of an injury in one foot and then developing the same damn thing in the other?   Anyhow, the inside of my right foot started to scream, I started to crash a lot, and I threw in the towel pretty quickly. 

Backing up, I got the go ahead to run--with no further visits to my chiro/graston guy--about 3 weeks ago.  Giddy to be free from pain, I might have gone a little gung ho, but my left foot felt fine, and I was watching it closely.  I woke up the day after a 22 mile technical gorge run with pain in my right ankle in the same spot.  The feeling that the big knobby inner-ankle bone was bruised to the touch with pain behind and below it.  In a panic, I went back to my chiro guy, and was relieved when he told me I had nothing to worry about bc it was a new tendon injury (FHL), and not the same thing I'd been dealing with (posterior tib).  This was something I should be able to run through (although he later commented that he would normally advise a couple of weeks off to rest it, but knew I wouldn't listen to that advice--not necessarily true). Anyhow, I've been going back twice a week for graston on this new thing, but it seems to be getting progressively worse, although not extremely painful while running.  However, on Sunday, it got to the point where I wasn't sure that continuing to run on it was a good idea. 

It's easy to second guess that now.  Memories of pain fade quickly.  Today the foot is a bit tender, and there is one spot that hurts like hell if you massage it, but no different than it has been for the last 2 weeks.  Now the decision is where to go from here, and whether running through it will leave me where it did last year, hobbling and yelping in pain every time I stepped on a rock or root. Or if this is something I should be able to just suck it up and run through. 

I remember some advice I got this past fall--suck it up and get over it, it's just a tendon.  I didn't buy that advice then, but I'm trying to decide if I should this time.  Ultra running is a huge mental game, and Saturday I chose not to play.  Maybe my decision was a good one.  Maybe it was just the easy way out.

4 comments:

ultrarunnergirl said...

Amy, I'm flattered! Sorry to hear about your ankle, remember DNF also means Did Nothing Foolish. The mental side of being injured is so tough.
The highs we enjoy for days after a great race are matched in intensity by the lows we suffer through when we make the decision it is best to drop. (Tom's kneecap came out of alignment and forced him out of BRR at Fountainhead.)
Hope a few days of rest cures all. You WILL be back.

Chris said...

Amy, smart move! My wife and I did the 30K down there. We are both from VA originally. My wife from DC too! Her Sis from DC is moving out here next month. We'll see you on the trails!

Yassine said...

Sorry about your tendon Amy...I had to DNF last year at mile 40 of a 50 and it was a tough pill to swallow...and thus the mental (and physical) battle of recovering to re-injure myself began. It's a fine line of knowing when to completely back off and let your body heal and to keep training through it. For me I finally said screw it...as hard as it is...I'm taking off completely from running. Mentally is was good for me too. I visited water often (pool, hot tub, bath, whatever!) and let my body do the healing. I got back my fitness in no time either so don't think you'll lose everything if you take a little time off. You'll get it right back. I know how bad injuries can suck so hang in there...stay positive...and you'll be back out on the trails before you know it. Probably a smart move to hike it in Sunday. Talk soon

ghostfeather said...

Smart move. Early enough in the season to impact a bunch of races coming up.