I committed one of the most mortal sins in running. It’s why I’ve been away from my writing, and my running.
I can’t believe I did it. I know better. I especially, with a laundry list of running-related injuries and PT sessions in my past, should know better.
I…wait for it…doubled my mileage in one run.
If I could undo it, I would, in a heartbeat. Everything felt great the entire run. It was just too easy to do. A gorgeous spring day, I met up with an old friend and we were off. And before I knew it, I had more than doubled my average run mileage. I didn’t think much of it, I felt fine. Until the next morning, when my left foot let me know what I had done was most definitely not.ok.
This is one of the things I love about running even still- despite the drag of being grounded for recovery – it teaches (and re-teaches) me about intention. In everything I do. Shocking, but normally you can’t just go run 13 miles without preparation. The work to get there is as crucial as getting there. It’s an important, and painful, takeaway: pay attention! Be mindful, be present (even if the present is too beautiful to pay much attention to things like your legs and feet).
So, distance runners, promise me this one thing: run with intention. Do it. Right now. Promise me in your head. So you spare yourselves the momentum-killing, soul-sucking, start over… again. Running modestly ALWAYS trumps not running at all.
The plan had been to redeem my running self (after a dismal half marathon performance in my last attempt) in mid-May. So I benched myself for 2 weeks, loaded up on arnica and Advil, wrapped my foot periodically, and waited. I kept feeling better, day by day. Maybe I hadn’t done anything major!? I waited a few more days. By the time the 3rd run-free weekend came around, I was out of the ace bandage, walking normally and weight bearing with no pain.
You know what comes next. I put my shoes on last night, and headed out. To my credit, I knew I wasn’t going long, or far. I made it about a quarter mile when I realized I had no business attempting a run, no matter how small.
I’m not sure where I go from here. With race day is in 5 weeks, I’ve got a pretty short window to go from nada to 13.1. More like less than nada since walking this morning is a challenge. If the pain gets any worse, I’ll be off to an actual doctor to tell me the sad truth I already know: no running for a while.
Meantime, more arnica and Advil, and desperate pleas to all runners to be smarter than yours truly.
Now go run. Run smart and make it count, because you can. And because there are people like me who’d give a whole lot to be in your shoes, especially when they see you tearing up the sidewalks.