Monday, August 10, 2009

The times they are a changin'

It was probably silly of me to run that 11.6 mile race last weekend, because here I am now, once again hobbling around, unable to run. The tendon that connects my shin muscle to my foot is swollen and sore. What happened up there in VT last month? Why are so many of us injured now? It's weird.

Is it because there is so much road running in the VT 100? Too much pounding? I think I am going to try for the MMT next spring. Mix things up a bit here.

I have decided not to do the Grindstone 100 in October. Boo hoo. My parents (crew) have planned a trip to China. My pacer is injured. And my in-laws (childcare) are going to be in Scotland. Grindstone has scattered my family to the four winds! With all of the injuries, I have not realistically put in the proper training. I am taking my VT finish and calling it a 100-mile day. I'll do some of the New England 50s and 50K's. Save Grindstone for another year.

So this is what life is like when you are not running at least once, sometimes twice a day, every day. You find other stuff to do.

I have been out on my road bike quite a bit, and I am happy to report that I am finally getting some of my old biking legs back. The first rides were a bit rough. My arse was not used to sitting on a plank for hours at a time (felt like the bones in there were poking through the skin) and my legs were not used to moving in perfect circles (as anyone who has seem me run can certainly attest). For a week or so, biking was awkward and uncomfortable and slow. But I am gradually getting used to being on the bike again, so high up off the ground. I am finding a good rhythm and my leg muscles are firing in sync. More or less.

I'm lucky to live in a bike-able place. There are no bike lanes on the streets, but many of the roads are wide enough and seldom-traveled enough to accommodate cyclists. Ten minutes out of Mystic, I'm on rolling farm roads with lovely scenery. I used to recognize everyone that passed me on a bike going the other way. But biking seems to have taken off around here. I don't recognize a soul. I can't take pictures from the bike (need both hands on the handlebars!), so you'll just have to take my word for it. It's divine.

I have been swimming as well. Swimming was my first and best sport and I have always loved it, though I have not swum much in the last year. It's fun to be back in the pool on a regular basis. Generally I warm up 2000 yards, mixing up the strokes, then do 5 sets of fast (sort of) 200's. Right now I'm doing the 200s freestyle, but I hope to move on to IMs soon.

I have been injured quite a bit this year, which is odd because I have never been injured in my life. I think many of these injuries come from running too much, cross training too little. This is the first year I concentrated just on running, to the exclusion of everything else. Obviously not a good idea for me. Lesson learned. Cross training stays in the program. Maybe I'll even do a triathlon this fall. Just for kicks. For old times' sake.

And I have been eating too much meat. I feel full of meat. Gross. One night last week, halfway through a cheeseburger, I put down the meat and said, "Bleh! ENOUGH!" So I am on a meat vacation. I'm not saying I'm going completely vegetarian (as I did in my 20s), but I'm not cooking any more meat for myself (what about the rest of the family?) or eating any more meat at home for a good long while.

Here's my favorite new cookbook: The Passionate Vegetarian by Cresent Dragonwagon.

The book is friendly and informative, full of great recipes and engaging stories and food lore. So far I have made the oatmeal buttermilk pancakes and the tamale pie, both to raves and kisses.

SO that's me. Slightly altered but generally recognizable. Hope to be back out on the trails soon!


  1. I hear ya, VT did a number on a lot of us! Luckily, nothing serious, just lingering aches and pains. I've been tempted to seek movement elsewhere, but haven't yet moved to the pool or the bike :) I feel like I'd be cheating on running ;) But, your post is motivating, so perhaps I'll give it a shot this week! The pool is beckoning me! Cross-training is easy to overlook when we're so focused on a race, but it's so important. I'm guilty of overlooking it, too, this year, and am positive that's what most of my injuries have been attributed to.

    You live you learn I guess! Great job getting out on the bike, I'm envious :)

  2. Paige, it does feel unnatural and weird at first, up there on that bike. But I think your legs will thank you!

  3. Cross training is good. I think my boot camp is keeping me running without serious injury at my advanced age.

    But, seriously, what kind of name is Crescent Dragonwagon? And why do I keep thinking of Pippi Longstocking?

  4. Hey lady! You should be making some time to soak that tendon in an epson salt bath as regularly as you can. It will speed up the healing! ;)
    Take some time and do it!

  5. Epsom salts! I've not heard that, but I'll try it. I'll try anything....being injured is a drag.

    David, funny, Cresent Dragonwagon's books have been in my life so long her name sounds perfectly normal to me now. She must have made it up herself. I guess you can just do that. Imagine the possibilities.....


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