Saturday, September 18th – Friday, September 24th……After going the whole week without running my legs felt refreshed, even though my heel still hurt each morning as I hopped out of bed. All week I kept telling myself that the time in the gym, lifting weights and working on my core stregnth, would calm my urge to get out on the bridal path and run. I need to feel active and exercise. I need to break a serious sweat. I need to burn some serious calories every day. Why? Good question. Let me give you a few simple reasons:
1) I love to eat and eat well. Solid exercise limits the guilt that comes along with that molton chocolate cake.
2) When I look in the mirror, I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor…and I’m afraid of suffering from a relapse of laziness.
3) The exercise is making me faster. As I get faster, I feel more confidence as it pertains to accomplishing that longer-term goal of qualitifying for Boston.
4) And, lastly, exercising distracts me from all of the nonsense constantly popping into my head. Let me elaborate on this concept, if I may…
All day long, as I sit in my office and work, ridiculous ideas flood my brain. Now as you may already know, the human brain consists of two hemispheres: the left and the right. According to what I’ve read about the human brain (which consists of various internet articles and a couple of research papers drawn up by the editors of Mad Magazine), the left side of the brain is analytical – it organizes thoughts in a linear, sequential manner. It likes order. It likes to sort things and place each little concept in a nice, neat package for future reference. The left side of the brain begins with the smallest details and builds them into a bigger picture step by step. Basically it’s the side of the human brain that thinks that the pocket protector is a sharp addition to any dinner jacket.
The right side of the brain is where human creativity stems from. It’s the side of the brain that sees the big picture first. Details aren’t really important to the right side of the brain – it enjoys being random. If the right side of the brain were a high school student, he/she would be the social butterfly that flits from lunch table to lunch table, always making new pals and influencing people….yet never staying seated at one table long enough to listen to an entire conversation.
Now personally, if I was the doctor that first discovered this level of detail about this part of the human anatomy, I would have come up with two more…well….fun names for these two hemispheres. Now as you also may know if you’ve read my blog entries thus far, I have a tendency to give parts of my body actual personalities (get your mind out of the gutter – this is a PG-13 blog!). The Tool, in addition, is the mental embodiment of all of my internal negative energy. So it stands to reason that I don’t picture the left and right hemispheres of my brain as the normal human being might. Why? Because I’m odd, and I’m OK with that. So I picture the left side of my brain as the main character from the Academy – Award Winning 1980’s film entitled “Revenge of the Nerds”. Since I need to assign this side of my brain an actual name…..let’s refer to him as Chester (I mean – is there any BIGGER nerd name than that??? I think NOT). As I mentioned before, I picture the right side of my brain as the high school Mr. Popularity. The social butterfly. The one that comes to class every day forgetting his homework, sits in the back row, and draws concept art for the nightclub he wants to open in Tribeca. I’ll assign this side of my brain a name as well. Hmmm…….it has to be something with pizzazz. Let’s go with Deano (a blunt reference to Dean Martin, quite simply the smoothest crooner this side of the Chairman of the Board). So…within my dense cranium…Chester and Deano constantly hang out together and basically piss each other off 24/7.
In my brain, Deano comes up with the big picture: my future goals, etc. So it’s Deano’s hair-brained idea for me to run 7-8 marathons this season. Deano hands this nutso idea off to Chester, who now has to figure out a step by step process to prepare the rest of my body to get the job done. Now, as Chester is drawing up a daily workout regimen and trying to motivate the rest of me to stick to the plan, there’s Deano….hanging out in the corner…..with a glass of Chatteau Montelegna cabernet in his hand and a shit-eating grin on his charming mug, constantly distracting Chester from the job at hand with thoughts of travel, money, food, wine….whatever sounds enticing at the present moment. As you can see – the two sides of my brain are in constant conflict. Which is why I have accomplished VERY LITTLE thus far in life. It’s also why I haven’t run a marathon in a goal time that I’ve established for myself thus far. I am easily distracted my training. I am trying to turn over a new leaf this year – Chester needs to rule the campus. It’s my own internal version of Revenge of the Nerds. And I am afraid of taking time off from my workout schedule because consistency is the key to success. And Deano is a HUGE distraction.
So I felt refreshed as I began my Saturday run with my team. 14 miles through Central Park along the bridal path. As usual, I went out quick and held my pace for 6 miles. Then the pain set in. By the time I finished one 7 mile loop, my knee, ankle and heel were killing me. I shut down my workout early on the advice of my team’s head coach, and lumbered hom completely deflated. The Tool didn’t even have to show his face this morning – my body revolted on its own. It didn’t need it’s ring leader to wave the flag of rebellion and get key muscle groups to voice their discomfort in unison.
As I stood in line at Starbucks (venti mocha frap, no whip please), I realized that this injury has begun to wear down my focus. My goals for the year are so very important to me…and yet the daily work has begun to lag because of the pain. On the one hand, I want to exceed my own internal expectations for performance this year. On the other hand….I cannot finish what I cannot start. So I took another full week off to heal. Spent Monday – Friday in the gym, preparing as much of my body as I can for the battles that lurk on the horizon. I’m just hoping that the amount of work I’m doing will be enough for the opening bell of this heavyweight fight.
Based on how this injury is hampering my preparation, I’ve decided to cancel running Hartford on October 9th. I need the next 6 weeks to prepare for the most meaningful race of the year for me: The ING New York City Marathon on November 7th. I am sacrificing Hartford – so I’ll add a race later in the schedule to make up for it……I hope.
One thing is for sure…..even with my high threshhold for pain, this is becoming a bit much for me to cope with and still expect high levels of performance. This is crucial moment in my training. It’s either cowboy the hell up and fight through this, or settle for mediocre showings all season long. All I can say is…..saddle up.
………..now wear did I put my gym clothes?