That shit is some crazy superstitious rabbit-foot horseshoe nonsense! Look. I'm gonna say it.
My leg is totally better, stronger than ever and I dare Lady Luck to fuck with me on this. You rotten old whore. I dare you to hurt my leg again! Ha! I am figuratively driving the heel of my giant black leather jack boot into the sternum of Lady Luck! HAHAHA! I AM THE LAW!
That feels good. I feel good about the jack boot thing.
Let's get deep though. Let's be adult about this. Let's do: Some Reflection!
So, when I determined (as best I could) that I had a stress fracture in my femur, I decided to embrace the situation and use my lemons to make limoncello. I hit the gym. I got on the stationary bike. I borrowed a friend's mountain bike. I washed my bicycle panties for the first time in a year so that I could bear wearing them without vomiting. I started reading bicycle blogs. Physical therapy websites. Dating websites for married people. Anything to help me cope with the fact that actual running was going to be out of my life for a while and I needed to find something in the interim to make me hot and sweaty.
Let's skip the dirty talk and get to the fun* part!
My first run was the Friday before last. I did my usual route up to the cell phone towers, just to see how things were going. I PR'd. Bam. I ran the next day, just a bit of flat jogging. Felt amazing. Great. I went to the track on Thursday, did 8x400 (400 rbi) and had them all in the low 80's. It was fine. No big struggle. Then, this past Saturday, I went for the big test and went out to the mountains. Did a great 17 mile loop with 5500 ft. climbing. I felt great for the first couple hours and then felt really really tired and lazy and just not "with it" at all. I've definitely lost a bit of the general stamina and "toughness" that comes with frequent, longer running efforts. HOWEVER, when i checked back in my log for the last time i ran that loop (with Quim pushing the pace on the climbs), I ran the EXACT SAME TIME.
While I'm certainly not ready to say that I'm running better than before, I definitely feel like I haven't lost much even with taking a full month off of running. I'm not sure why that is, but I'd wager the reason is at least two-fold:
1.) Before the injury, I was in a rut and just beating myself up purposelessly. The leg issue gave me a chance to restructure my week, fit training into different hours of the day and make the most of those hours that I can work out. Cycling takes more time than running (at least for me). Before, I would throw in a run or two at anytime. It was easy. No planning necessary really. With cycling, I really got used to getting up even earlier than usual and just sitting on the bike for as long as my ass would tolerate it. On the weekends, I did 4-5 hour rides on both Saturday and Sunday with TONS of climbing. If it was a busy day, I'd sneak over to the gym and just do weights for an hour. Whatever time I had, I tried to do the BEST possible thing for my body that I could. Before, I would just run, regardless of the type of run or how I felt. I think that this change in schedule is good. It re-taught me how to fit exercise into my day. Anyway: This brings me to point #2...hahaha, "#2" hahaha. poop.
2.) Cross training. As much as I want to believe that I can just run and that, assuming I want to be a better runner, the only way to improve is to run more...well, I have to admit that this is a bit of a fantasy. I'm not a life-long runner. I picked it up when I was in my early 20's as a way to quit smoking. The truth is: my body can't really take it very well. I'm frequently sore and wobbly legged throughout my day. I think that cross training needs to be something I continue to incorporate into my running weeks. The running that I do after a day of cycling feels better. It feels...higher quality? Like I'm running and actually getting better with each run, rather than slogging through it and feeling half-dead.
On the topic of cross training, weights were a big help. I had sort of left them out of the equation since I moved to Chile. Before, I had gone to the gym 2-3 times a week, lifting heavily and doing core. Adding that back into my life was great mentally. The gentleness of cycling on my joints allowed me to lift legs a lot harder than I ever would have if I was only running. The results have been interesting. My first few hill jogs showed me that my climbing ability took a hit, but my downhill running is better than it's ever been. That HAS to be an effect of the weights. I don't know to what else I can attribute this major improvement.
Well, yeah. There you (I) go. Hopefully that's the end of that particular chapter of my running life.
Here's a video to celebrate. It's me crossing the ridge line from Enladrillado over to Laguna del Alto.
Last week: mix of cycling and two runs.
This week: 10:00:00 of hoo-ha in total. 46 miles of running. a bit of that time was cycling. lots of up and down business.