A better week ahead

The Resume Guide:
This has been a horrible week for just about everything – especially running.
I feel like I’m in trouble.  I knocked out a whopping 3 miles this week, when my training schedule was well over 20 miles…not good, so not good all.  I’ve been contemplating going back to the half training schedule, but I don’t want to make a premature callI want to say be able to say I ran at least one full marathon.   
They say in weight loss it is common for people to hit a plateau.  Aside form describing the obvious landmass, Webster’s says a plateau also represents little or no change; a relatively stable level, period, or condition.  I know I have had my fair share of stable periods on my weight loss journey – periods where I feel like I am continuing to do the same amount of work and I don’t loose any weight.  Or, worse yet, I may gain a little and have to vary my workout routine, tweak my eating habits, or just try a little harder when I feel like giving up.
I think plateaus also apply to running.  In fact, I know they do.  I believe I am in one right now, and I am having a really hard time coming out of it.  I don’t necessarily feel like I am off track, I just feel like I am in limbo and can’t quite get myself out of it.  Running limbo.
I have been struggling off and on before this week, but this week I feel like I just gave up.  I put off running throughout the week because I was tired, busy, had housework to do, dinner to cook, errands to run, and also because my left knee was somewhat sore when extended in running stride.  I thought I would give my knee a break, get some things done, and get back on track for a 14 mile training run with MIT on Saturday.
That didn’t happen.  I woke up at the usual time on Saturday morning, got ready to run, and headed out my door to meet my group.  My knee was tender coming down the stairs – again on the extension – so I decided to jog to the car to see how it would hold up.  It didn’t.  It buckled on my second step and I went down.  Needless to say, now my right knee hurts too.  I went back to bed really angry, really frustrated, and really disappointed in myself.  It was kind of like, “I didn’t run when I could because I didn’t want to, now I can’t run and I want to.”  This whole weekend that thought has been in my mind, which is not good for someone who was already well on her way to hitting a plateau. 
I’ve heard running injuries, especially knee injuries are really common and most can be fixed and you can go right on running just like before, but I have been really….I mean really, lucky.  Aside from shin splints a few weeks ago, I have been injury free from the start.  I have also heard that excessive (i.e. marathon training) running destroys the knees.  I guess it’s my turn.
This weekend, people have been telling me, “Give yourself a break, you’ve got something going on with your knee,” “You’ve been working hard, a little time off won’t hurt you,” “You need to get your knee checked before you really hurt it,” etc., etc.  But, I feel like it’s not an excuse.  I was already not running this week before it gave out on me.  I feel like I should just “walk it off,” “give it one more day,” and “see how it is in the morning.”
So, tomorrow I’m calling the doctor and making an appointment to see what is really going on with my knee.
But that doesn’t resolve running limbo.  I still feel like I am stuck there.  Sometimes I wonder if professional runners ever feel like I do.  And, believe me, I use the word professional loosely – for me, it includes anyone who does (or who ever has) run more than me!  If you’ve already run a full marathon – you’re a professional to me!  I wonder what inspires them, motivates them, and pushes them when they just want to give up – or do they even feel that way?
And so I found it – a small gem to hold onto tonight – in The Runner’s Book of Daily Inspiration“He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him.”
“It’s the first of the month, and by now you must know what happens today.  Whatever your schedule says, whatever the demands on your time, whatever stresses you are dealing with at the moment, you run.  The first is a perfect time to start over, if starting over is what you need to do.  Flip the calendar page, and make a new beginning.  Go outside the door.  Go on.  One step outside, and you’ll be on your way.  It always happens that way: reluctance at first. Lots of voices telling you why not.  Somehow you overcome the voices, and off you go, quieting the voices until the next time.”
“Forget what happened last year or last month or even last week, if you need to.  The past no longer applies, unless it’s useful to you.  Keep it around, in that case.  In any event, step outside.  Think positive, lift your thoughts to the future.  Perhaps this month you’ll make the breakthrough you’ve been looking for.  Perhaps this m month you’ll run a personal best in the 10K.”
“If running is a big thing in your life, you have no need to be convinced.  You’re probably already out there, pounding the pavement. “
Resolved: It’s the first of the month: I make a fresh start.  I step outside and run.
Here’s to tomorrow and a better week ahead.  

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