“I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain,
torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage. “
Life is composed of victories and setbacks. Great victories are always eventually followed by setbacks, and setbacks by victories. It’s all a cycle. That’s just the way of things. Keeping this in mind helps me maintain perspective. When I’m doing well, I do my best to enjoy it knowing it won’t last; and when things get rough, I remind myself that it will pass.
In terms of my life and ongoing struggle with daily existence after trauma, I’d say I’m on the victory side of things. However, running has fallen into the setback zone. My entire life I have been plagued by knee problems. As long as I’ve been walking, my knees have popped out of place. The pain and other joint issues associated with this have always limited my running. When I started using the Vibram Five Fingers (don’t ask me why it’s “fingers” and not toes), I noticed a dramatic improvement in my joint pain. Basically, I didn’t have any. I was hurting all right, but it was all muscular. Everything was going fine and dandy until last week when, deluded with my new sense of limitless, I decided to up my mileage by a full hour instead of 30 minutes.
That is how I became rudely reacquainted with the nagging pain of IT band syndrome. It’s a running overuse injury that I am all too familiar with. Initially, I was not aware of its reemergance due to the new location of the pain. However, when it got to the point that even gently brushing anything against my tibial tubercle (the bony knob just under your knee) caused me to jump in agony, I decided to do a google search on “lateral knee pain” and then “pain, tibial tubercle”. What I found was my familiar nemesis IT band syndrome. Apparently, if you continue to run when your IT band is irritated, you develop terrible point tenderness –you guessed it– at your tibial tubercle. So after patting myself on the back for pushing IT band syndrome to new personal heights, I looked up the treatment: six weeks of rest and stretching. This was not an acceptable option. Six weeks of “rest” would have me in the loony bin. I needed to exercise for my sanity sake! More reading.. there was also a mention of strengthening weak muscle groups- this seemed more palatable.
At the moment, I am trying very hard to limit my running. I have been spending quality time with the stair climber and doing general conditioning/strength training. There was a moment or two that doubted I would be able to run the marathon in Oct., or ever. Of course, then I came back to my senses and realized I would never allow myself to quit. Plus, if I tried, my best friend Randi would assuredly put me back in line.
Everyone needs a good friend to hold a mirror up when you need it, tell you what you need to hear (even when you don’t want to hear it), and hold you accountable. Randi has been my best friend since high school; and while I have many incredible, amazing friends who I cherish, Randi is the one I can count on to do all these things. I, through coercion, begging, and even a little arm twisting, have convinced her to do the Diva Half Marathon with me. I have been “encouraging” her to do the Hartford Marathon with me as well. Every time she comes up with an excuse or says she’d never be able to run that far- I assure her that I’m convinced she can. When her motivation starts to wane or she gets discouraged by running injuries, I do my best to encourage her (like buying her cool running gear and books for her birthday).
I have to finish that marathon, IT band syndrome or not! I need to prove to myself I can do it. Plus, I want to show Randi that she can do it. After all, she is the athletic one! I would not only be letting myself down if I quit, but also my best friend. There’s just no way that’s going to happen.
In the meantime, I’ll be training for the NorCal Tough Mudder next month. On this afternoon’s agenda, time at the gym with my very own personal trainer (my boyfriend Adam- the seasoned marathon runner and Tough Mudder alum)