Anywhere in the world, every runner faces the challenges of getting back into the training mode. Even elite runners have difficulty and get lazy at times. If you get a chance to talk to an elite runner at races, you will find out that many of them are also struggling in managing their times, and many of them are also dealing with how they will deal with being a father or a mother for those who are married and have children. And for those who are single, some have to juggle between managing a full time career and having to deal with a training schedule.
I am writing this because though 2011 was a great year of running for me, I want to make 2012 an even better year for running. In less than three weeks time, I will be vying to be among the finishers of the 2012 edition of the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon 100 miler edition. And I tell you, the past ten and a half months since that 2011 edition has been a challenge for me.
One, it is tough to manage a training schedule and having a regular full time job. Whatever the profession, I am amazed at those who could manage to squeeze training runs. I am not a morning person and I doubt that I would ever become a morning person. I don’t mind running late in the morning or underneath the noonday sun. I love the sun. I love getting a tan. I also need it to train for running ultramarathons too. But more than anything, there are just moments when I just want to get more sleep, eat more and just rest at home instead of go out of the house to run. For lately, the only reason I am able to stick to a training schedule is because of my goal of finishing the BDM160. There’s no room for failure this time around.
Two, it’s tough to say NO to oneself either. And I am referring here to the fact that in 2011, I suffered several injuries that I mentioned in an earlier post. First, I suffered from plantar fascitis or more popularly known as PS among runners. A general description of this would be that whenever you wake up in the morning, you feel pain on your foot as if it is stiff and have difficulty walking in the morning. During the day the pain wears off. And when you run, you feel a throbbing pain on the foot that feels like it is on fire and with a thousand needles piercing it. That’s the sensation that I felt throughout my PS experience. But wait there’s more! Little did I know that I would develop heels spur because of it! In fact, I was informed by my running coach that usually whenever a person has PS, it is most likely that the person also is experiencing heels spurs. Heel spur is the pain on the heel — as it is named after it. In my case, I did not even know that I had heels spur at all. The only reason why I became aware of it was that when my PS was being treated through physical therapy and a modified training program; it became clear as the pain on my heel took flight.
You see, it is possible that a person can have several physical injuries and not even be aware that he/she has it. Why? This is because the most dominant and most painful injury will be the one that our mind will focus on, and it is this that it would nag us to pay attention. Alas, once that attention and care has been directed to the most painful physical injury, other smaller but equally destructive physical ailments and injuries will naturally come out and be felt. And that is what happened to me during the last quarter of 2011. I discovered heels spur for the first time, but my physical therapist said that most likely it was there for several months. Will you believe it that there’s more? Because of my non-stop training, I also developed achilles tendonitis. This is the one at the back of the heel, the tissue that connects to the calf muscles. And the injury was came about because of hills repeats and lack of strength and conditioning training prior to gradual hills repeats.
Seems like my misery is not even at an end because my runners’ knee returned too. Simply put, the patella [a soft bone that connects the upper leg bone where your thighs are connected and the lower leg bone where your shins and calves are located] moves either to the left or the right and hits the bone itself and the friction causes the pain. This is another overuse injury, and the culprit here is muscle imbalance, where the hamstring muscles [the muscles located at the back of your legs just bellow your butt area] is weaker than the muscles in front which is called the quad muscles.
So as I was dealing with modifying my training regimen and dealing with multiple physical injuries — another injury sprang up as well. For the first time in my running history, I developed Illotibial Band Syndrome or more popularly known as ITBS. ITBS is more on the muscles being tight, especially the muscles that form the sides of the hamstring and the quads. It’s that long band of muscle fibers that goes down and connect to the knee. The pain is felt on the sides of the knee itself.
I asked myself — “How am I ever going to accomplish finishing the BDM160 given the amount of time that I need to recover from all these injuries?”
With two months left to recover and train, I prayed to God that I would be able to recover fast. I also followed the advice of my running coach religiously and ensured that I updated him of the runs that I accomplished for the week. I began incorporating cross training programs too like cycling which I have not done in several months. I then realize that there are some things that I should not have steered clear off. The question now is — am I ready for the BDM160?!?!?
I believe that my body is more than prepared for the challenge ahead. For there is more to just preparing the body. There is the heart and mind that needs to be trained too. There is mental preparedness that many runners forget. And this mental preparedness is something that needs to be done as part of getting back into the training mode. At the end of the day, every runner will have to repeat the same question — Why Am I Doing This? Are you doing this because of your health and you want a better quality of life? Or are you merely getting into running and getting back into training because you want to fit into a dress or make yourself more attractive to someone else? Whatever the reason, it is important to get back into the training mode. And the training mode involves the physical, spiritual and mental training. These three form the runners’ psyche and should be the things that every runner develop all at the same time.
Me? I run because I want to “let my running prove the sunshine….”