I haven’t posted in two weeks for a simple reason: I suffered a knee injury that required time to heal. I had hoped and planned to run in the 2018 Sketchers LA Marathon, but was unable to travel marathon weekend to experience that 26.2 mile fiesta. Since that race wasn’t in the cards, I tried my hand at the New York City Half Marathon. I felt prepared for the distance, but the frigid temperature throughout the run was something that I knew would make me cranky. What I was not prepared for was the very sharp pain that shot into the inside of my left knee about 7 miles into the race. By the time I entered Central Park, I could not maintain a consistent running pace and I was forced to walk a significant portion of the last 5k. I finished in severe pain, and brought home a medal that will only remind me now of the scare that this run put in me 8 weeks away from my first full Ironman.
Two weeks later, I am still favoring my left leg a bit, and I have missed out on significant training time. This injury comes at a crucial point in my training schedule, so a ton of self doubt had soaked in to every pour over the past week…that was, until I went to the gym on Saturday to get in a long swim.
It felt awesome to get in the pool and do laps while having a full lane to myself for the entirety of the workout. I was able to focus on my stroke, and try to become a bit more efficient so that I save energy for the 130+ miles that follow the swim portion of the triathlon. After the workout and a hot shower, I changed as was about to head out of the gym and score a bagel from my favorite muffin shop, when a guy that maintains a locker close to my own walked in. He just completed his workout, but it was obvious that the Endorphin Fairy hadn’t visited him and sprinkled the dose of daily positivity that a good workout usually provides. I guess he noticed that my backpack has a small luggage tag on it that says that I’m a Certified Ironman Coach – so he decided to start a quick conversation. He didn’t open up with “Hello” or “How was your workout?”; instead, he simply dove into his dialogue in such a manner that I wasn’t quite sure whether he was directing his words to me or simply going 21st century Shakespeare soliloquy. He opened up with “….I hate it when a workout sucks. You ever have to deal with that?” When I failed to immediately respond, he followed up with “…I figured I’d ask a fellow gym rat…”. Realizing that I was the target of his question, I replied that yes, I deal with lousy workout performance more often than I care to admit. He shared the fact that he didn’t feel like he sees any benefit to working out any more. His exact words were “…I’m not getting any stronger or any faster. I’m not even losing any weight. It’s frustrating.” I don’t think we was prepared for my response. Instead of saying “yeah, I am dealing with the same issues…”, I asked a simple question. “So what’s your goal?” He looked at me quizzically, and then said “what do you mean?” That response initiated a conversation where I wound up unleashing a little inner Lombardi.
We spent the next 30 minutes talking about realistic goal-setting. I had absolutely no idea I’d enjoy that type of discussion as much as I did, and I think he walked away with a bit of an enhanced perspective on his training practices…and sharing some thoughts / opinions with someone like this also fired me back up after 14 days of stressing over the pain emanating from my leg.
I’m back to the grind today, a bit more fired up and ready to go. The saying is true: by helping others you help yourself.
I took the main points from the discussion I had and I posted them to my blog. If you’d like, please check it out! A Little Lombardi