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!