Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Benefits of Injury

Running has been my go-to therapy for pretty much everything for as long as I can remember.  Upset? Go for a run.  Frustrated? Go for a run.  Hungover? Go for a run. Happy? Go for a run.

You get the picture.  I find my head clears best on runs that go beyond 5-6 miles.  Actually, the longer the better for my mental state, until you get over 20 miles....then I just start thinking about how my legs kind of hurt and how I am really hungry for anything but sweet sticky GU.

Running hasn't been a very happy thing for me over the past few months.  Actually, it just has not been very fun so I haven't been doing it.

Since being grudgingly sidelined by injury in April, I have done no training runs at all, just runs in races.  Yeah, I know, weird.  One of them was a marathon, and two were triathlons (Polar Bear and Pirate).  This probably baffles most sensible people, but you are talking to someone who rode 100 miles on a trainer just because a friend said she couldn't do it.   My supreme talents are stubbornness and refusal to quit - just ask my boyfriend.

So, looking over the past two months, that is only about 15 miles a month of running, none of it really what I would consider enjoyable without the help of Advil. 

True, this was nothing more than a hangnail compared to what some people have to deal with, but it took me a while to get my head together and actually productively move forward.  I didn't let the pity party last too long, but I had a solid week of walking around like a Milano-eating zombie wondering if my months of training for marathon and triathlon had just gone down the drain.

Without being able to run, I changed my focus to biking, which turned out to be a pretty awesome thing.

Ironically (or not so ironically), I am now actually seeing a benefit from my calf injury - I have better bike skills.  I have always loved biking, but it was always an additional thing I did as part of triathlon training.  This injury changed that for the better.  For the first time I am actually seeing improvements in my speed and hill climbing ability on the bike - improvements that might not have been so pronounced if running had been comfortably available to me.

And really, in triathlon, you spend more time on the bike than anywhere else, so being strong as you can on the bike is really crucial to having a good race.  I am not negating the importance of the swim and the run, just saying, you sure do spend a lot of time on the bike in the race, so you might as well be as strong as you can there. 

The good news is that injury is coming around.  I ran 3 miles today pain-free (and drug free) for the first time in 2 months, and I am pretty darn thrilled about that.  I have enough time to slowly build my run leading up to Timberman in August, and providing this thing continues to improve, I am pretty psyched. 

Speaking of things that I am psyched about - I just won some Anti Monkey Butt Powder from Jeff at Dangle the Carrot!  It is totally going to come in handy for this monkey butt on these long rides I have scheduled for the next few months.  Thanks Jeff!

33 comments:

Matty O said...

Soooo what you are saying is that your boyfriend is a pre-teen boy?! Or was he in the rafting video on that site?! haha j/k

I have come along in my thinking and I agree with you. While running is my go to sport and its what I am good at. Ultimately it's all about the bike in these races. You can easily shave minutes off your time by being a good biker. Sucks that I am not that good on the bike, but have started thinking this way on my training rides lately.

BIKE BIKE BIKE! Oh yeah, your hill workout the other day still baffles me. In order to make a pretty graph like you did, that was some serious work girl!

skierz said...

great attitude and making the best of a situation! I am certain that it will pay off when you are at teh start line of your next tri. And there is never a thing wrong with Advil, injured or not!

Alex said...

great post-so true about the pain and drug free part of the injury.

Caratunk Girl said...

Matty O - HA! Well, that is his company, and in the summer, the company is kind of my boyfriend as I see more of that than him! :) Keep on the bike, you will only get stronger. Can I borrow your legs for the run? Ha, glad you like my hills!

skierz - Thanks! I agree, Advil is GOOD!

Alex - Thanks, glad you liked it!

Emz said...

YAY
YAY
YAY!
3 miles without pain and advil! Awesome!!

Patrick Mahoney said...

and once the injury clears all that biking will have made you stronger and that will translate to your running. It will be all good.

Christi said...

Congrats on your pain-free run!

misszippy said...

You are definitely turning your lemons into lemonade! Glad running pain-free is a reality again for you. Think how strong you'll be for Timberman!

AM-GoalsfortheWeek! said...

i'm sooo with you! that's exactly how i feel w/this heel spur thingy. it's made me focus on my bike/swim this past ~2 mo's and i can feel a dif too.;-)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Very cool on the pain-free run - have you thought about running in the water as part of your training? Maintains form but no impact and you can combine it with your swim for a brick!

DRog said...

I sooooo get your first paragraph..gradual improvement on the runs is encouraging! Glad you got those 3miles in w/o pain that is great news! I'm using you as inspiration and joining a group for an OWS tom morn
-Derek

Caratunk Girl said...

EMZ, Patrick, Christi, Zippy - Thanks!

Anne Marie - YEAH! See, we are both getting stronger!

Kovas - Great idea, I wish I could - just there is no pool around for me to do that. I guess I could do it in the lake?

Drog - Have fun on OWS tomorrow!

Velma said...

congrats on the anti monkey butt :) I am glad you are on the mend and decided to work on the bike. You will be back out there is no time!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Hungover? Go for a run

That is something you will NEVER hear come out of my mouth

My injury has sorta been a bliss as well, I went from a middle of the pack triathlete to a racing aquabiker. Does wonders for the mental side of it.

The Green Girl said...

Aw, I am thrilled to hear things have been working out for you, girl. And that's great that your bike skills have improved.

Oh, and congratulations on being the giveaway winner! ::high fives::

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

when I dislocated my knee I was really a mess for weeks without the endorphins. As I was able to slowly take in other things I did start to become more well rounded and it had definitely benefited me in teh long run..hehe pun intended

JudyMac said...

I can see where you are coming from, though I doubt that running will eber be 'up there' for me. I love swimming but am slow, and love cycling, especially on hills. I hate to think what Tri would be like without my two feel goods.

You always inspire me with your attitude!

Luke said...

Running has always cleared my head too, since I was young. I have even gone on runs to ease frustration without changing out of boots and jeans.

Caratunk Girl said...

Velma - yeah, no more monkey butt! Yeah. You recover from your injury soon too, OK?

BDD - You are totally my hero with Aquabike! I hope the injury heals quickly.

Green Girl - Thanks!

Amanda - Ugh, with the knee thing you really couldn't do much. Sucky. Glad that is behind you!

JM - THANKS! :)

Luke - WOW! Running in boots and jeans? I hear you though, sometimes you just have to get out there!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

So true! Running is a cure all and i swear by it too. So simple an act and you get a great return on the time invested. I've always said that everytime I've had to sit on the sidelines with the running b/c of injury, it has made me fall in love with it even more. Longing does make the heart grow fonder. What's great is you are able to see the silver lining...time to focus on the biking. Things always have a funny way of working out. I used to always tell my hub's that if there was ever a time that i was unable to run or bike that that would be the time i became a hell of a swimmer. I guess it didn't come to that to get me in the pool finally but when you can't do one thing, you do the right thing and put all of your focus on what you can do.

Midwestern Dot said...

See...running isn't the end all. I may or may not have a half marathon this weekend, and I may or may not have run more than 4 miles in WEEKS...but I may or may not have been spending hours on the bike trainer.
Had an open water swim last night and thought of you...I was bored out of my mind and wished I had a swim buddy!

Jon said...

Yep, BEST hangover cure....although the most painful! haha!

Glad to hear of improvement on the run!

Caratunk Girl said...

KC - SO TRUE! I definitely appreciate the good runs that much more! I think I always have a bit of a waaaaa and then re-focus my efforts in new areas.

Maria - That is right, running isn't the end all! Good luck in whatever you do this weekend. MAN I wish we were closer so we could train together. I need a swim buddy too.

Jon - THANKS! TOTALLY the most painful, that is for sure.

Julie said...

Woo hoo for a pain free run! You scored with Jeff's Monkeye Butt Poweder:) Everytime I read or say that it makes me smile! Monkey Butt...Monkey Butt:)

wendy_kresha@charter.net said...

So glad I read this, just for the line about the bike being the longest part. And, needing to be strong in this area. Thanks for the perspective, I really needed it today!

Glenn Jones said...

The benefit of injury is only realized by those smart few (like you) who have enough patience to allow the injury to run it's course. Most don't. Now that you're back together, all that biking and swimming will be paying HUGE benefits!

Ron said...

glad to hear the running is coming around. Something funny happens to runners who are injured and fix a problem like that...THEY GET FASTER. Who knows may be some PR's are right around the corner.

Caratunk Girl said...

Julie - Thanks! Monkey butt makes me laugh too!

Wendy - COOL! Glad you liked it!

Glenn - I hope you are right!

Ron - I like the way you are thinking!

Molly said...

That's great that you're feeling pain free, all that biking is probably great cross training rehab!

I wanted to swing by and say hi, I keep seeing your name pop up on other blogs, look forward to reading more of you blog!

Caratunk Girl said...

Hey Molly! Thanks, I think you are right! Thanks for stopping by!

Brybrarobry said...

I feel your pain on the run. I'm sure it sucks not being able to get out there and run. Glad to hear it's doing better. Calf stuff sucks. This too will pass and if not, you can always look into a lower leg amputation and a new spring loaded lower leg. haha.

B

Brybrarobry said...

click, click, click

Caratunk Girl said...

Bryan - Hope things are coming together for you too! YEAH spring loaded lower leg! Thanks!