Sunday, April 08, 2007

Big Galoomp-a-oomp

"One ceases to recognize the significance of mountain peaks if they are not viewed occasionally from the deepest valleys."--- Dr. Al Lorin

This week has been rough. I took a much-needed rest week but without the regular, vigorous workouts I'm used to, my natural Prozac is suddenly absent, and I feel like I'm going through withdrawal. Post-race blues is actually a real thing, and I think I'm getting a taste for it. Take a look at the article I attached to the link on the title. I'm trying to take it little by little and just ride it out.

Sunday and Monday I was still on a high. I felt super positive about everything and was surprisingly not very sore or stiff at all. I got a massage on Monday and felt a lot looser afterwards. Tuesday, all the congestion from a cold I'd been fighting for 2 weeks came back, and I could barely speak. When to the doctor. Lungs and chest are clear and no sinus infection. However, I'm still very congested. He gave me some meds and sent me home. Sigh.

Wednesday I started physical therapy. I had made a pre-emptive appointment, assuming I would desperately need to be put back together again after the race. I fear I may be a little too much like Humpty Dumpty, however. Unfortunately, although I was tight on Wednesday, I wasn't having any pain so there wasn't too much for me to show the PT. She found TONS of things wrong with me though. I was tight everywhere, which wasn't surprising. She watched my gait and tested my range of motion and then showed me some stretches and strength moves. By the time I left, I felt so biomechanically flawed, I felt it was a miracle I could even walk. My hips are tight, I can't bend my knees as much as I should, I have collapsable arches, I pronate, etc., etc., etc. I'm not sure if she thinks I'm espeically tight because I am, or because I'm such a klutz, it takes me 3 or 4 times to correctly attempt the new stretch she was trying to teach me. The next day, I realized how tight I actually had been. I strained an oblique muscle trying to stretch my hips. It hurt for 3 days!

Thursday I thought I was feeling pretty good. Then, Friday, my energy levels came crashing down. My congestion rebounded and I pretty much slept all day Friday and Saturday. This has given me way too much time to think. Negative thoughts are clinging like cobwebs, and I simply cannot brush them off right now.

Sunday I tried to go for my first run since the race. It was overcast and chilly but it felt good to get out. After a brief warmup and stretching regime we headed out. I took it easy and slow. After 2 miles, my knee, the same injury that had bothered me before the race but for some reason, not during, came back full force. I focused on my running form and biomechanics for the next 2 miles, which helped. At 4 miles, the road sloped upwards, causing a sharp increase in my right knee. I stopped, turned around, and walked the 4 miles back to the car. Jason was kind enough to walk with me.

It was a long, cold, gray walk. I was wearing my finisher cap from the race last weekend and wanted to throw it in the bushes, thinking I didn't deserve to wear it. I'm frustrated about this nagging injury and concerned about the marathon at the beginning of June. I have nothing but doubt in my head right now. Plus, I feel like no matter how hard I work at this, I will never be anything than mediocre, and that just sucks. I thought about how the PT had picked me apart, and it makes me feel like a big clumsy elephant, a galoomp-a-oomp, out there, shuffling along. Sometimes, just once even, it would be nice to feel fast. Or agile. Or graceful. I have never felt any of these things. Lately, all this training just makes me feel even slower. Even more average.

I know these thoughts are exaggerated. I know they're not true. I know I'm in this for more than glory (obviously). I do this because of the life lessons it teaches me with regards to goal setting and accomplishing the impossible. No one ever said it would be easy. So I'm going through a rough spot right now. Needless to say, my confidence is nil. My energy is gone. I'm going to focus on trying to get back into a low-volume workout routine this week to preserve the fitness I worked SO GOD*MN HARD to achieve (even though I feel like I have nothing left to show for all the hard work I put in) and also to try to get some energy and positive attitude back. Will I be able to do the marathon in June? Should I sign up for IM-AZ for '08? These are decisions I need to figure out. And fast. But I know, worst-case scenario, these races will be waiting for years to come.


Kate said...

Ah- post race blues. So not looking forward to that. I'm sure most of the rest of us are just as biomechanically flawed as you- you have the asset of knowledge though!

I'm feeling the burn to be FAST as I near the end of my marathon training, but the desire to go long is always there too. I am *this* close to deciding to be focus on fast. Maybe that's what's in store for you next?

Habeela said...

I definitely understand the PT and marathon doubts. Think of it this way, they're paid to find things wrong with you. Sometimes they're significant things and other times its just small stuff that are problems but aren't going to make or break you.

And you just finished 70.3 miles! Covering that distance is monumental! It doesn't matter what you do today or tomorrow or the next day - the fact that you crossed that finish line means you earned the right to wear that finisher's hat forever!

I hope things work out for the marathon. And don't worry about IMAZ. There are a ton of IMs to choose from. :)

Jodi said...

Whenever my training volume drops I feel like crap. I've been going through the post-race, I look like a big fat elephant in my race pics blues. Best thing to do is jump back into training and get the natural endorphin rush back.


bunnygirl said...

Hang in there, and don't get distracted by the things that don't matter. You're fit, strong, and faster than most of the world's population. Do what you do for fun, fitness, and the love of it. There's really no other reason, and no one is judging you but you. Give yourself a break! :-)

SkiRough said...

I know that feeling you are talking about when you're out there feeling all galoomp-a-oomp-ish. I call it the "Fat Man Shuffle." I have yet to become a lean and mean runner, but I think with my body type I'll always have that feeling! Hang in there, you will get through this in a few weeks.

Paul said...

You've just accomplished a major feat with a ton of training. You're going to be TIGHT! Don't let it get to you, just be consistent about stretching and the flexability will come. It's not so glamorous but it's necessary. Good work at Cali 70.3!

Jessica said...

You are totally and completely dealing with post-race blues. You aren't mediocre at all! But I know what it's like to feel that way.
I recommend when you aren't sick, get out and do your favorite of the three sports - just for joy, no HR monitor, no computers, no data. Remember how good it feels to bike and run and swim alone, when you're not competing. You'll get back to you soon, I'm sure.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

The doubts will swirl around because what you are doing it extraordinary. A miniscule fraction of the population will ever even attempt something like a HIM, much less complete it. And you did it!

The doubts are also why I always make sure to keep several races booked on the calendar in advance. It helps to always have that next race to think about so I don't fall into the duldrums.

Jodi is right, it is nothing a good workout can't fix.

Mike said...

Ditto what everyone already said Rachel! Seriously, completing a half-ironman is HUGE! Give yourself a few well-deserved pats on the back and no need to rush right back into training...especially the running- ouch! Hope that knee issue turns around for you..running injuries are the WORST!

Great race report too! Any race report with an "Office Space" reference is tops in my book! ;-)

JeffM said...

I think Mike and Jessica said everything. Hope things get better and the knee behaves.

Anonymous said...

The half is just such an awesome accomplishment. It's got to be really punishing... maybe some rest?

Hope that knee is better... maybe some new orthotics or new shoes?

Whenever I miss a week due to biz travel, I feel like I have to start over again and miss any gains I've made leading up to the trip. That always gets me down and then just a few days of quality training and I'm back at it.

Maybe go do something totally fun and unrelated to training? Go boogie boarding or take a surfing class :-)