I should have seen it coming. My wife has always said I am hard-headed, and finally I may be ready to concede her point. I have enough common sense not to push a 50-year-old body past its limits, except when I am passionately pursuing a reborn love of running. It probably began two weeks ago, when my son and I decided to run the 9.3 mile course of the Poca River Run on a Monday in preparation for the actual race on Saturday. As a result of the training I had been doing for the Charleston Distance Run, I breezed through it. I was exhilarated at setting a new personal record! So then despite my body telling me of a well-deserved rest, I pushed through my usual training routine for the next week. I was coming down with a cold by the time the race date arrived, so the run was much more of a struggle than it had been a few days earlier. After only one day of rest however, I started pounding the routine again. Jeannie and I left on a Thursday afternoon for a trip to Louisville, but before 7:30 a.m. that morning I had completed a full boot camp class and a three mile run on the treadmill. We returned from Louisville the next day, and as soon as we arrived home I headed for the gym and did a fast tempo run of four miles on the treadmill. My body was screaming in protest from fatigue and from stiffness from the long car ride, but I persisted. The next afternoon I was scheduled to do a six mile run, but instead of merely sticking with the plan I went nearly ten miles. By the end of the course I was barely able to run at all due to exhaustion, then noticed severe groin pain when I exited the car after the short drive home. I could hardly walk. I recovered a bit the remainder of the evening, and masked the discomfort the next day despite a busy Sunday at church. On Monday morning I was back on the treadmill, doggedly walking my five scheduled miles since I couldn’t run without intense pain. I did have the common sense to email my trainer about the situation. Her reply brought me back to reality — “no physical activity at all for the next two days, then do some light rowing and stationery biking on Thursday and Saturday. What your body needs right now is rest, rest, rest.” She would then tell me what to do next based on how my body is healing. So I am off my feet following orders, typing this blog post rather than doing something more active.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned with running — a big one for me is patience. I saw progress with the first couple weeks of training, but rather than being content with the results I wanted to supercharge things and move even faster in my desired direction. Now I am sidelined, feeling foolish for doing what I know I shouldn’t have done. Next time I’ll know better, that is, if this incident has managed to make its way through the thick, hard-headed noggin that my wife insists I possess.