Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My frustration is coming to an end

My favorite sport of the 3, by far, is running. For a lot of triathletes, this is their least favorite, but not for me. Swimming numerous, mindless, laps in the pool is my least favorite. I like cycling, but mostly in the summer. During this cold weather, when I'm forced to stay inside on the trainer, I often debate whether or not being poked by a sharp, red-hot poker would be worse than 1 hr on the trainer. Then I realize that the sharp poker doesn't make me faster, so I choose the trainer. And even during the summer, I often dread my 5-6 hour rides because they just get so old week in and week out. The one thing that keeps me motivated on the bike is that I know the more I ride, the faster I get.

But running! Ahhh, now that is different. I love running, and always have. To me, it's a time to relax (even when working hard) and collect my thoughts. I do some of my best thinking while running. When I'm stressed, with impending deadlines (which is always), I like to go on my run and put that stuff behind me for a little bit, think about what I need to do to stay organized, then when I'm done, I'm mentally refreshed to tackle my work head-on. And unlike the bike, I don't mind running in the cold. Running is important to me both mentally and physically.

So imagine my frustration when about 3 weeks ago, I started getting a nagging dull pain in one of the tarsal bones of my foot! At this early point in the season, the last thing I want is to be sidelined for several months with a stress fracture. I wasn't too worried though, because stress fractures typically occur on either the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th tarsal bones, and my pain was on my 5th tarsal. So it was possible it was developing into a stress fracture, but I thought it was unlikely to be one given its location. I kept an eye on it, continued light running, but it was getting worse. I decided to take some time off from running. This has been great for my biking abilities, as I've really hit the bike hard the last few weeks. Well, after taking 11 days off with no running, I decided that I would try it again yesterday because I no longer felt any pain in the bone when walking around the house. I was nervous and anxious to see how my foot responded, but I'm happy to report that it wasn't sore this morning. Phew! I have my running back!

For right now, I'm going to keep each run short (~3 miles) and only run 3x per week. If I go a week with no pain, I'll increase to 4x per week, then from there I'll start increasing mileage again, and get back to running 5-6x per week, until I'm back to 30-40 miles per week. I'm still not out of the woods yet, but I think it's going to be okay. As long as I feel good by early January, I should still be fine to race at Frost Yer Fanny in Austin, TX. If I start feeling bad again, I may have to cancel my race, but I'm hoping it doesn't come to that. Now the really frustrating part...I want to go run again today so badly, but I know I shouldn't. Oh well, I'm off to go get stuck by a red-hot poker...errrr...I mean, ride the trainer.

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