Saturday, January 12, 2008


If I were clever, I would come up with a word that describes that craziness that over takes a hurt runner to justify running through anything. One of my training partners is struggling with a hamstring injury where XXXX hasn't been able to run a workout in sometime because of the intense pain. XXXX finally was able to set up an appointment to see a great PT and the very best chiropractor for runners in less than a week's time, so I was surprised when I got this message:

...would love to try to get on the track tomorrow if at all possible. I won’t force it, but I’d like to warm up and see if I can get in a good, hard session. At that point, even if I end up in the pool for the next two days, I know I’ve got help on the near-horizon....

Every runner I know has been at this place of madness. First it's complete depression, then denial, then optimism, more depression, realization of reality, more depression, excessive cross training, total lethargy, frustration at the slow rebuilding, and finally it's over like it never happened.

I can think of 2 particularly low moments. Once I iced my knee so much that I got frostbike (oops); another time when a doctor told me that some pain in my foot was just a pinched nerve and the biggest threat was overcompensating....I smeared capsaicin cream (hot pepper) all over both feet so that each foot was on fire, but at least equally on fire. Warning, this hurt like h*ll, but it did work.

Recently I was talking to my chiropractor, Dr. Michaud, about how I feel fortunate that we runners can experience and get through pain that 99.9% of the population will never know. "It's life at an extreme," I told him. How many people in the this country have to work so hard in training? How many people have to do double sessions or workout in extreme weather conditions? How many have to go into battle knowing that it may be so hard at the end that the only thing you can do to get through to the finish line is pump your arms in hopes that the legs will follow? "Isn't that just amazing? Aren't runners so cool and courageous?" I inquired. "I hate to break it to you, Jen," he said,"but you don't exactly see those qualities come in to play in regular life...I'm not exactly trying to push through the pain here to get to my next patient."

He might have a point. Maybe it isn't normal to want to experience these things. But who wants to be normal? to the gym.

1 comment:

Andy Bons said...

One of my teammates was going on during 1000m repeats one chilly day at the outdoor track asking these rhetorical questions about how he just wanted to have one of his co-workers come in and try just one of our workouts. We were joking and being over-zealous about how tough our sport is; "Oh, no you have to do 6 more, not just the one" we would be telling the poor soul who's lungs and legs would be screaming for mercy after their first. Maybe we feel entitled to boast even just to each other about what we put ourselves through each day possibly because 99.9% of people just don't get it. However a wonderful man you chiropractor may be, he just doesn't get it.

The qualities you describe absolutely come into play in regular life, but maybe only for those extraordinary few, whatever their focus may be.