Summer is here. Summer usually brings the first real racing of the year (for those of us not running spring marathons). I had planned on running a handful of April, June, and July races. I say ‘had’ in past tense, as I have scrapped my planned racing calendar after the reality of months of inconsistent training overcame my confidence and ability to race at the level I desire to this spring and summer. While my training this year has had moments of brilliance and I’ve felt a great general progression in my fitness levels, I have been plagued by a litany of illnesses & injuries.
2017 started with the usual day-care germ festival, but this year the illnesses were severe, protracted, and recurrent. Time spent in urgent care and the hospital, as well as inhalers and nebulizer treatments was embraced as my daughters and I faced and fell to pneumonia, bronchitis, and more.
Dragging myself out of Plague Season, I experienced a back spasm that struck as I was placing my sleeping daughter into her crib. It literally dropped me – breathless – to the floor, and it was days before I could even stand upright. Diagnosis? I’m still breastfeeding my younger daughter, and likely the relaxin within my joints results in heightened mobility within my pelvis. This laxity allowed the two sides of my pelvis to rotate while running, my back muscles kicked into hyperdrive to accommodate for this instability, and…after a few great weeks of training, my back refused to keep up the overtime work and rebelled.
Stand and run again I did…only to face a return of bronchitis that delightfully coincided with our spring break holiday plans (staycation, yes?!).
I got better. I scrapped my April race goal, aiming instead for the far-off races in June & July. I ran again: faster, stronger, happier. And then I came back from a long run with a slight limp, experiencing a strange tingling pain in my right calf. This slight tweak has blossomed into a pain severe enough to be felt while just standing. After discussion with my coach and my physical therapist, the diagnosis of calf micro-tears landed like a load of bricks, and put a stop on any racing in the next month or two.
So, frustration sank in, and I walked around like a scary demon for about a week. I’ve been frustrated with the progression (or non-progression) of my training so far this year. It’s hard to accept that the body I have now is older, has grown and birthed two children, and is still recovering from that process. I have to accept that the hardcore germ warfare is “just” an annual event, and that this past year was the sickest year of my life, an anomaly, and that next year our family’s collective immune systems will be stronger.
After weeks of limping around, wallowing in self-pity, I’m steering my boat forwards, ready to turn the calendar to June. I am now religious in my PT work (6 months of issues isn’t something I’m likely to forget), and I am lucky to have one of the best PTs in Albuquerque helping me out. I have a great support structure, and while I wish I had been out running these early mornings, instead I get to spend these hours snuggling with my daughters, who creep into my bed in the early mornings, sharing their sleepy giggles. I’ve also decided to put the lid on my frustrations by writing them out in an admittedly nerdy cartoon, and countering the bad stuff with a reminder to keep up the positivity and excitement in the future.
Here’s to a June that actually includes running!