I love running, for many reasons. And I had decided to sign up for the Tufts 10K for Women this year (on October 10, in case anyone else is interested—it’s a great race) to give myself a little challenge. So I dutifully began increasing my distance on runs and once or twice a week added intervals to boost my speed and endurance. I was on track to run the full 6.2 miles at least once before race day, which was about the best I could hope for given my late decision to run the race. Everything was going great, until I plotted out a new route. I studied the map before I left, but I got lost, and even though I was able to find my way back eventually, what should have been a 4.25-mile run turned out to be almost 5.5 miles. And apparently, that jump in mileage was too much for my right leg. I ended up with a sore hamstring, shin splints, and aggravated plantar fasciitis (where the arch of your foot gets inflamed and sends shooting pain up the back of your entire leg. Constantly. It’s loads of fun.).
I took a few days off to rest, drank plenty of water, ate lots of bananas (the potassium is helpful for muscle repair) and protein (ditto on the muscle repair), and it felt better. Not 100%, but good enough that I tried a short run to test it out to see if I could resume training. That was, unfortunately, a mistake that didn’t become apparent until I was three-quarters of the way through the run, and I limped the rest of the way home. So my hopes of doing the 10K in two weeks are dashed—even if I fully recovered in time, there is no way I could safely handle that jump in mileage without putting myself back on the DL.
Injuries like this pack a double whammy: Besides the present discomfort, you have to face disappointment over knowing you can no longer reach your goal. In fact, you can’t even make small steps of progress toward it. You just flat-out have to stop and rest. I am not good at resting, so I keep trying to think of all the possible things I can do to speed up my healing. In addition to my earlier strategies, I’ve tried taking a warm bath with Epsom salts, and icing my arch to calm the inflammation. They do offer temporary relief, but I don’t seem to be healing any faster. So I’m back to resting, and I’m trying not to see it as defeat but as taking time to care for myself in a different way, to give my body what it needs right now and trust that there will be other 10Ks to run. And yes, I can see the larger metaphor there. This certainly applies to other areas of life, and other ways dreams and goals get derailed. What helps you stay/get back on track when you hit a roadblock?