Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Difference Six Days Can Make

Less than a week ago, I had no idea. What to do, that is. Or what to think. Or how to think. I couldn't run and I thought, no was certain, that I would never run again. It was a combination of pain, panic, disappointment and frustration.

I was forced to take Monday off. And Tuesday. Wednesday, I woke up with no pain at all. I still took the day off, figuring it was just a fluke. Thursday I had no pain so after work, I considered a little run. One note about this pain I had: it never hurt to walk or run. My knee only hurt when leaning or twisting from one side to the other. Like when I turned to get out of the car, that about killed me. Come Wednesday, though, and Thursday the pain was no longer. So, Thursday I decided I'd go for a little run, just to see. Well, I did a nice five miles on hills and had no pain at all. I was fearful, still and had still convinced myself that when I woke up Friday, I'd be paying for it.

Friday came, and no pain. So then I had some decision making to do. Do I attempt more running? Do I try to stay on schedule? Most importantly, do I do my long run? My twenty miler.

Well, not as if this is totally shocking, but I decided to head out for my long run yesterday morning. I waited until later in the morning when it would at least be 35 degrees (F), donned some warm running gear, left the iPod at home and headed out. Due to my run on Thursday and my training so far, I knew the first ten or so would probably be fine. What I didn't expect was to feel fine at 14, and 16, and 18. But I did. It wasn't until just near the end of 19 that I felt really tired. Mile 20 was pretty damn tough, too, but I did it. I stopped to walk across the crosswalk toward home and then decided to run the rest of the way home, too. Sure it was probably only 2/10 of a mile but heck, I need to practice that anyway.

All who said to wait and not panic were COMPLETELY AND ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, as usual. Like I said, excellent at avoiding panic in other situtations or other people's problems but totally irrational when it comes to myself. Imagine that.

But let me just tell you, finishing that twenty miles felt fantastic. I am not sure I could convey the feeling in words if I tried. I've always said all those who say "it's not about the destination, but the journey" have never crossed a finish line. Now I think they've probably never had a week like I had, either. Six days before this run, I was wondering if I could ever get back to running, now I feel more like I'll never be able to get away from it.

I will still continue to enjoy this journey, though. If anything, I have even more appreciation for what it means to get to the end.


backofpack said...

Oh, but see, it is the journey. Getting to your 20 mile destination was all the sweeter because of that journey of panic, pain and frustration. Crossing the finish line of a marathon involves undescribable emotions, yet those emotions are the culmination of all the hard miles, long runs, setbacks, steps forward and more. That's the journey. If it was only the finish line that counted, then a 5k would be as satisfying as a marathon...and actually, that first 5k probably was! And the journey to get to it was probably just as epic at that time...

singleton said...

Gotta say I agree with're journey was a scary one, a challenging one, a daring one... the destination a welcomed, cherished and deserved gift! You go girl!

JustRun said...

I suppose I see the point, but in this case, my definition of "journey" was not BIG picture, it was this little week. I get it, though, believe me.

Runner Girl FL said...

I have been a little nervous of the up comming 16 and 18 after your muffins post. This one makes me feel sooooo much better. I think. I don't know if my 20 (still very pending) will be that easy...but it means there are good days and bad days, and I can't think they all are scary.

teacherwoman said...

It's amazing how you can feel as if you have injured yourself to the point of being fearful of not being able to run again .... and then days later, lace up your shoes and get out there as if there was never anything wrong. It's the joys and frustrations of running! IS about the journey!

Nice job on the 20-miler!

justrun said...

RGF- Take one at a time. I know you can't help thinking about them but you already have it figured out, there are good days and bad days and you can move forward from either.

Teacher- Yes, I know. I am electing to feel that the completion of this run is independent of every other part of my life. Maybe that's not true but it felt too good to just stick it in there like any other run.
Thanks for visiting!

GirlGoyle said...

I never thought I would hear this sentence uttered : "finishing that twenty miles felt fantastic". I might be more receptive to "finishing that twenty miles felt exhausting...disintegrating...murderous..." How can 20 miles be anything but painful I will never understand.
Glad it all worked out for you and good luck on the race.

justacoolcat said...

20 miles?
UGh, and I thought I felt good biking.


I'm glad your knee is better.

adam said...

Awesome! Glad you are injury free.

This isn't exactly the same, but I have often taken a day or three off due to sickness or injury and have ended up having a blast when I come back. Don't forget recovery is an essential part of training. That means that you can't have good and consistent running without non-running too!

Danielle said...

That's awesome...20 miler in the bag, now it must be about taper time...time to enjoy, relax and build yourself up for the thon.