By the end of 2014, I was so happy to see that year go. I had too many injuries (pelvic/hip stress fracture, bad foot infection, overtraining syndrome etc). I thought 2015 HAS to be better. I cut back on my training distances, I cut back on race distances (only 5km’s), I hired a coach to keep me in check (which he did!), and I took a look at my nutrition and training errors and vowed to “get healthy” (which I did!).
All was going fleetingly well until September of this year….I won’t rehash the details as it could be read in previous posts, but I got a stress fracture in my 3rd metatarsal. While I was waiting for a proper diagnosis (it went misdiagnosed for a few weeks), I said to my daughter, “If it’s a stress fracture, I’m done racing”. She was sad that I said that, but well……..for 2016 and beyond at this stage, “I AM DONE RACING!”. At least I’m done racing in a competitive manner ….. Racing for time, PB’s (of which I think they were behind me…), training programs, etc.
This is a huge statement for me to announce. For 20 years, I have raced triathlons, road races, trail races (this year….) and participated in cycling charity events. Every year has involved a training program of some sort that on “x day” I do “x workout at “x intensity”. I’m a Type A planner. I like a rigid schedule and I like to follow a rigid schedule. It makes me feel accomplished and goal oriented.
However, as with each bad injury (I’ve had my share of less severe soft tissue injuries, plus one planned orthopaedic surgery on my feet which can’t be grouped as a bad injury, cuz you are ready for it!) I come out with a new perspective on things or taken up new activities. I recall a conversation with my GP after my hip fracture that went something like this: “I can’t imagine myself not being competitive”. She understood my statement as she is a top competitive National Masters swimmer.
While rehabbing this latest injury at the gym, yoga studio and on my bike, I realized I enjoyed the non – planning aspects of my routine. I liked not worrying about how far or fast I was going and I enjoyed the randomness of my schedule as time went on and more could be included (I started with 3 weeks of almost exclusive cycling with a bit of weights). A lightbulb went off that showed me “I think I can be that fitness athlete”. The one that just does what they feel when they feel, without a structured training plan or end goal. If I plan the night before to go for a run and the weather is crap, I don’t need to run on the treadmill just to get my run in, I can head to the gym, or hop on my bike, or turn off my alarm and go back to bed (this doesn’t often happen, but maybe now it may once in a while…..:).
With this past injury cycle, I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym. It helps that the weather is not hot and sunny, so I don’t mind being inside when it’s dark out or cold out. I’ve gotten into weight training and realized that I just may get more bang for my fitness buck by improving my strength even more and becoming less of a “cardio junkie”.
I know love how I feel when I lift and I love coming up with new routines and seeing my strength improve. And it can only be a good thing for my bones and slower aging metabolism! I’m also continuing to do yoga regularly. In fact I think I almost missed being off yoga for 4 weeks more than I missed being off running for 8 weeks.
Now that I’m back walk/running in the last month, I don’t look to see what pace I am running at. I don’t care if I am running slowly, and I don’t care if I am walking. In fact I am liking this run / walk thing and just may continue on this path. I know the less impact I have the better chance I have of not having those bad injuries again. Plus with the poor mechanics of my foot that was stress fractured, the less impact on that the better for longevity of this whole running thing.
So for 2016, my new mantra is to live each day as it comes. Not be so much of a planner and be more flexible in my day to day when it comes to my workouts as much as I TRY to be in the rest of my life (this too is always a work in progress!). I want to journal daily, use my new meditation app (Calm) daily, and work on my parenting skills with my pre-teen who is not only taller than me, smarter than me (in many things academic and very in tune with the world around her), and figuring out how to work her way in this adult world……as well as be more flexible in my eating (I’ve tested out a ton of new breakfast recipes which I am loving) and social outings.
I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life and hopefully one filled with less major orthopaedic injuries which force me to stop dead in my tracks once again.
Balance will be the key as well as rest when needed and knowing it’s okay not to be a slave to any type of schedule. Motivation has NEVER been my issue. So for that I think I call myself lucky. For me it’s always a matter of making myself sit still sometimes and be ok with it.
Happy 2016 to all.