Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wanting what I can't have

I am going to let you all in on a little secret: I have the ability to manipulate the universe.

Yes, yes, I'm sure you are all thinking that surely I jest.  But I am being completely serious. 

How does one manipulate the universe, you ask?  Here are some examples:
  • I can make it rain by washing my car.
  • I can make it sunny by carrying an umbrella.
  • I can make it cold by not bringing a jacket.
  • If I am in a hurry to get someplace, there is guaranteed to be an accident, bad traffic, or marching protesters blocking the roads.
  • If I am waiting all day for a phone call, the phone is guaranteed not to ring for the X.9999 hours that I am sitting by the phone.  But it will absolutely ring during that single minute that I step away to use the bathroom.
  • When I drop toast with jelly on it, the toast will always land on the jellied side.  Always.  Not to mention that the odds of me dropping my jelly toast will increase in direct proportion to the price of the carpet.  If the carpet is white, then I might as well just save myself the trouble by purposefully flinging the entire jar of jelly directly onto the floor.

Dropped toast always falls to the floor in slow motion, too.

I could keep going.  But you get the idea.

My cosmic powers have been hard at work again this week.  Usually it takes significant effort and mustered motivation for me to get myself out the door and go for a run.  This is especially true early in the morning and/or when it is cold outside. 

Once I get myself going I do feel good, and I always feel great after my run.  Getting started can be really rough for me, though.

But not this week. 

My last run was done on New Year's Eve.  After feeling ankle pain, I told myself that I would take a minimum of 10-14 days off of running to try to heal.  But the speed workout went so well that now I've been really, really itching to get out there for another run.  WHY NOW!?!?!?

To make matters worse, the temperatures were warm today by Chicago winter standards.  It felt like everywhere I looked I saw runners outside, smiling, basking blissfully in the fresh air while cavorting in their running shoes, hair blowing in the wind like it always does in those shampoo commercials. 

OK, OK, maybe I exaggerate about the hair blowing.  Regardless, I was tormented.

I was so, so tempted to just make an exception for myself and get out there for an easy run.  How many times am I so motivated to go for an outdoor run in the wintertime?  Just a few miles wouldn't hurt anyone, would it?  I was already promising myself that if I felt any pain, that I would immediately stop.  After all, how would I know how much my ankle might have progressed since last Monday if I didn't test it out, right?

Ultimately I did not go running.  I know from experience that you don't want to keep resetting the "rest" clock when trying to heal an injury.  I know that it's always better to nip any potential issues in the bud, otherwise they will only get worse.

I also know that instead of thinking in the negative, i.e. "I can't go running," that I should try to think of this positively, i.e. "This is an opportunity to cross-train."  I have been doing a lot of indoor cycling over the last few months and I dutifully did yet another bike workout today.  But it's probably no coincidence that today I got fed up with the bike and couldn't wait to be done with it.

It is obviously time to change up my cross-training routine.

I read somewhere that walking on the treadmill at a very high incline is a great low-impact substitute for running.  Sounds good to me.  I will be giving it a go very soon, maybe as soon as tomorrow.

In the meantime, look for the weather to continue being abnormally warm this week while I'm on this running hiatus.  Never fear, though.  The weather will return to normal or below-normal temps during the following weekends when I AM ready to get back on track.  I guarantee it!!!


  1. Boo sorry to hear about the ankle pain! It's so frustrating when the need to run strikes but the body simply says no. I feel your pain - I've been sick since the day after Christmas and the pesky flu is simply refusing to leave! I keep seeing those blissful runners basking in the wintery sunshine and I start experience extreme runner's envy! It's alright - spring is approaching soon and the universe WILL be kind to you! Seriously though, sometimes I feel like the universe conspires against me too...

    1. Aww, Irina! I am so sorry to hear that you've been sick since December 26th! It sounds like it is going around a LOT. I wish you a speedy recovery. Get as much rest as you can and drink lots of orange juice!

      Isn't the feeling of runner's envy horrible!?? But yes, spring will be here in a few months and the universe WILL be kind to both of us!!!!!

  2. Walking on the treadmill can be a killer workout! I've done this one before and I definitely felt the burn!

    1. Erin! Thank you so much for sharing that hill-interval-walking workout, it is incredibly helpful!!! Going at 3.8 MPH at a 10% incline would be INTENSE in a good way. I can't wait to give this workout a go!

  3. I bought my cross country skis 14 months ago with dreams of big snowfalls and me skiing to the lakefront. Alas, it has only snowed enough to ski about 3 times since I bought them (and zero times this winter). As soon as I sell them we will have a blizzard! Rest that ankle. My doc told me 4 weeks rest for my ankle injury last year. The good news was as soon as the 4 weeks was up, I went right back to training and ran my 2nd fastest marathon 16 weeks later!

    1. Ah, Pete, it sounds like you have the same universe-manipulating abilities that I do. Isn't it great!?!?!? =D

      I remembered reading your post about your ankle injury approaching the Boston Marathon - that must have been incredibly frustrating. But I am so glad to hear that you were able to pick back up so quickly afterwards! My biggest fear is that everything that I've worked so hard for will dissipate if I take too much time off. So it's always great to hear stories like yours!

    2. Yes, I worried about losing fitness, and I did lose most of it and that stunk. But, I feel that I was a bit wiser about training and injuries after it happened. I am always gunning for a PR, but I was ecstatic with my Chicago result, even though it was not a PR. :-)

    3. Your Chicago results were AMAZING - you blew the BQ time out of the water!!! If that is what an ankle injury does for you, then I'm all about it. ;)

  4. Haha, I love the picture of the hair blowing! That's exactly what I look like when I'm running outside.

    Have you tried an incline workout on the treadmill yet? That's what I did before I was fit enough to try running last year, and it really is a great workout! I did 45 minutes of it last night (while watching TV on my kindle, which makes the time fly by!) and that, combined with a 15 minute medicine ball circuit burned just as many calories as an hour of intense circuit training or an hour of running would.

    1. Yay for glamorous outdoor running!!! =D

      I haven't done an incline workout in the treadmill in a really, really long time - probably since college. I am so glad to hear that it is such a great workout and that you had a great sesion last night while watching TV on your Kindle! Love the efficiency of combining working out and entertainment. And hey, if it burns just as many calories as intense circuit training or an hour of running, that is serious consideration for allowing myself a GOOD break from running to heal. Super encouraging, thanks!!!

  5. LOL, re: the warm weather! I guess I should thank you? (although I was out of town when this was posted and have no idea how warm it was here)

    Good for you for NOT pushing it on that ankle! Really. That is so hard for runners. And I concur with everyone on the incline walking. That is a killer workout for your calves!

    1. Did you see that the weather this week and next weekend is supposed to be in the 40s and even the 50s?!? It's all because of me! =D

      Seriously, not running through an injury has proved to be one of the most challenging things for me to deal with as a runner. You'd think it would be just the opposite, right? But there is so much fear of losing all the conditioning that we've worked so hard for!