Friday, 29 January 2010


My stepson is off to live off the land in Hawaii for, he says, at least six months. He speaks of building shelters, slaying wild boar, and an abundance of fresh "for the picking" fruit. He's at that point in his young life that "invincibility" is more of a lifestyle than an abstract concept. I am not there. I am dealing these days with the 'vincibility' of it all.

If you're a frequent visitor here you will know I am all about the slow. I won't say I'm about the easy, as I've run 30 marathons in the past nearly 8 years, and none of them have been easy. But I do take great strides to make that endevour as safe and sane as possible. I don't run hard. I don't even train hard. I train long. I train steady. And, I am a big fan of rest days. I learned from Jeff Galloway that the rest is as important, if not more so, than the running days. One makes the other possible. The other makes the other-other, necessary. It's easier to believe that way when one has a choice.

I hurt myself a couple of weeks ago, to the point where I have not run since. I am guessing I am still a week away from hitting the pavement again. I have determined I have a minor stress fracture of my third metatarsyl in my right foot, not a broken or sprained toe. Physically, I am improving daily. However, I am not getting better when it comes to dealing, mentally, with the layoff. The itch to lace up my trusty Brooks Beasts and head out for a nice, pre-dawn 6 mile hill run is intensifying. Forced rest is crap.

The reason I bring all this up, rather than just lock myself in my curtains-drawn bedroom, watching Kate Beckinsale or Robert Downey, Jr. movies, is that I have read some stuff from other online runners recently that just makes me scratch my nearly-bald head. I realize that I am older than most folks currently caught up in this distance running thing and, therefore, have to be a bit more careful with my bones and stuff. But I would like to think that I have gleaned a modicum of wisdom from my thousands of miles in running shoes, minimal and otherwise.

I read of one runner suffering with recurring shin splints who, instead of taking a few days rest to allow those micro-fractures to heal, was turning to athletic tape. I have researched this stuff for a while and, I'll admit, I just don't get it. I am sure there are some of you who swear by the stuff. Seems to me it masks the injury, rather than allowing it time to fix what's broke! I know it supposedly increases blood flow to the injured area...but I'm a sucker for the old fashioned RICE concept.

Another runner spoke of his new training plan, consisting of six days of short runs and another day of the long stuff. No mention of rest. A formula for disaster, in my humble opinion. I hope, for his sake, that all goes well. I sincerely hope his efforts turn him into the next world record breaker. My fear, however, is that, sooner, rather than later, he'll be joining me, watching all those DVD's we didn't have time to view when we COULD run.

This being "vincible" thing is frustrating. But, it is serious business. In the same week I had my first motorcycle crash and sustained my first running injury. I am lucky to be able to still get on my bike. In a few more days I am hoping to be able to get into my running shoes again. I have learned more than I really wanted to about being mortal.

Gotta run!


Anonymous said...

Hang in there my friend. You are still my hero. An older guy than me...with slightly more hair and 30 more marathons.

What have I done lately?


Teamarcia said...

What are the chances i come upon your blog today? After just writing about overtraining myself? Sorry to hear about the injury. I can tell from your post you'll be smart about rest and rehabbing. Speedy recovery!

Jocelyn said...

Hey, that KTtape rocked. I guess I don't feel like I have time to rest! You are older and more wiser than me though. You are fighting your urge to get out and run...I can' fight it! After i was out for almost a year when I tore my ACL I just refuse to be tided down again. I can rest after the marathon...right? I have been icing and skipping one day of rest...this should count for something.

RoadBunner said...

I hope you heal up really quick and get back out there healthy!

This year I started following a 4 day a week plan (with slightly longer runs than usual each day) and it worked really well for me. That extra day off (I used to use 5 day plans) really works for me, I think.

melissa said...

You will be back out there again in no time. Rest up! As for me, I am a fan of your take it slow system system- I only run 3 days/week and so slow!!

TokyoRacer said...

You got it. When you're injured, you just have to suck in your expanding gut and rest until you're better. Otherwise the damn thing never goes away. It's MUCH better to rest and get completely better than to do half-assed workouts.

Christina said...

This product has been a HUGE HIT for marathon runners-thought I'd share!

I'd love to get your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, seems some need injury to learn something but seems like you did to with your experiment with the barefoot running. You had been injury free all those years! Don't mess with that.

Michael Robinson said...

I had a calf-achilles injury that also drove me crazy and forced me to take a month off. It was psychologically very tough, but I figured that maybe the real challenge for runners is dealing with NOT running. So I saw a PT guy, figured out some non-impact running-like exercises, and keep myself going. Now I'm back at it. I think you are taking the proper approach personally. Go easy, ramp up slowly, and you'll be able to run longer, faster, and more consistently in the end.
Best, Michael

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