with age comes pain…. and wisdom

today is april 3. today i have a niece who is now thirteen. a teenager. today the sun shone though the temps were in the upper 30s–it looked like spring, but it didn’t feel like it. today i went for a 3 mile run and wanted to run fast the whole time but had to hold myself back. my achilles still gives me some twinges, some pinches, some i’m-not-so-sure-you-should-be-pushing-me-this-hard reminders. today is april 3, 10 days until The Race. while the tone of my last post about running was hopeful, i am here to report that i will not be running the race in 10 days. it just isn’t prudent. it isn’t wise.

two weeks ago i began seeing an active release therapist. brian started seeing this guy about his knees and it really helped him. so i gave him a try. i guess i’m still giving him a try. the thought being that if i got this kind of therapy, i could still keep running and have a chance to still do The Race. this kind of therapy goes like this: while i move my appendages (the one with the injury more than likely) around, this guy digs his fist or his thumb into soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, muscles) to break up scar tissue that is formed in the fascia that encases said soft tissue. or maybe this explanation is more clear. so, in my case, hips and calf and achilles. painful? yes. in a bad way? no.

the first week i saw him, i was only running 2 miles at a time, always resting a day between. and he gave me exercises to do at home. (oh, the exercises. do i really have time for all this?) the second week, i was allowed to up my mileage as long as i wasn’t setting myself back. the achilles was giving me discomfort while i ran, but was recovering quickly and definitely by the next run. so i upped my mileage to 3 and then 3.75 miles. this mileage was fine, and in fact, i found that i could run no problem, but when i stopped running was when the achilles gave me the most pain. so, running good, walking bad? last week was the third week, and i was able to run 4 miles and then 6 miles on the weekend. running good! walking, not terrible, no limping. but the next day after that 6 mile run, i was in some pain again. though it recovered fine in a day or two, and i knew this was coming, i really needed to make the decision not to run The Race, the 30k brian and i had so whimsically signed ourselves up for in december. (if we had only known!) 6 miles is one thing, and i’ll do it again this week… but 18 miles? that’ll break me. it’s time to face the music, bite the bullet, whatever other cliche you can think of slipping in here….

so no 30k for me. maybe if i were younger and dumber i would push myself to do it. but i’m almost 40 now (7 mos to go people), and if i want to keep being active and manage any kind of running career in the future, i need to play it safe. i have learned something in this process too. that i am a runner (my friend april told me this just yesterday, and my friend shannon has said it to me a million times), that i love running even though it is super hard, and that there is such a thing as too much too soon, even when you think you are playing things safe. so what will i do differently in the future? a) not act like so much of a runner that i don’t take enough rest days: running 4 days a week is probably more than enough, and b) take it slow: i have many years ahead of me to work up my mileage… i need to give myself more than 3 months to morph into “trail runner jen,” though i know she exists somewhere deep down inside me. let’s do some shorter distances first.