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Can Vs. Should
I want to race.
I want to approach a start line feeling like, as Coach Cane used to put it, a caged animal.
I want to gut it out over the course of 3, 13.1 or 26.2 miles.
I want to run a marathon in less than four damn hours.
I want to give it my all. When it starts to hurt, I want to use that as motivation to push even harder.
I want more 7:xx miles than 8:xx miles showing up on my watch.
I want to reach a finish line knowing I left everything, from my sweat to my stamina, on the race course.
I want to run far.
I want to run hard.
And I want to do it all now.
But over the past few weeks, as my desire to run and race has grown stronger than ever, I’ve learned that of I want to do all those things, and if I want to do them well for the rest of my life, then I need to be smart and play it safe now.
I know, that’s a lot of italicized words, but they are all very crucial in making my very important point.
I waged many internal debates this weekend. My head was a slightly scary place to be.
I wanted to run 18 miles. I had that number in my head, it seemed good, and after not running on Friday I hoped I’d be good to go.
I woke up Saturday with a bit of shin pain still.
And so I said I’d push my ambitious run plans back a day. No big deal.
I spun my brains out at the gym in lieu of running. I wanted a good cardio workout, so I doubled up on spin classes: first a 75-minute “mountain ride” followed by my beloved Matt’s dance party disco ball fiesta sombrero ahoy bueno class. So friggin’ fun. You should all come with me next time.
And I don’t know why I called it that long name. I got carried away.
I did lots of foam rolling, lots of icing and lots of this exercise thanks to a tip from Meg G. I was generally just trying to be really in tune with my dumb left leg. Spinning doesn’t give me any pain, and I’m still doing all those attractive butt exercises, hoping they’ll help somehow.
Don’t worry, I took a photo of this for proof:
After a lovely afternoon at Ikea, I went to bed Saturday again hoping I’d be able to wake up the next morning and feel confident that running 18 miles would help my future running, not set it back.
A run-less weekend.
And damn you, Facebook News Feed, with your taunting.
Could I have run 18 miles?
When I’m actually running, I don’t feel pain. I know I could have pounded out the miles and it would have been a blast.
I’m trying to think ahead though, and I feared that an 18-miler, hours later, would leave me limping through the Ikea showroom (yes, Ikea, for the first time, twice in one weekend).
People always say, “you never regret a workout,” but I thought maybe I would regret this one.
So I played it smart. I spun instead.
A lot, in fact.
Double doubles this weekend!
I treated myself to a SoulCycle class Sunday morning, followed by a class at my gym.
It was all wonderful. If I can’t run, I’m going to keep working hard to keep the endurance level high. I don’t want to be totally starting from scratch.
The takeaway from this weekend?
There’s a lot I can do. That doesn’t mean I should do it all.
Right now, I can run. (More italics for emphasis. Play along.) I’m not exactly “injured” — I have shin splints or whatever. I will live. But just because I’m capable of running doesn’t mean that’s what I should do. Because if I set myself back, get truly injured, and then can’t run, we’re all in trouble.
So, forgive me Bridle Path, for I have strayed. My last run was on Thursday. But you understand, right? You know that this time apart is because I want to spend maximum time with you soon.
In the meantime, I’m going to spin and do impact-less activities. I’ll run again when the time is right and when I know it will propel me forward and not set me back.
Also, Ikea. Have I mentioned I went to Ikea twice this weekend? And that I had never previously been to Ikea despite going to college a mere 10 minutes from an Ikea?
So after a spin-filled, stretch-filled, foam rolling-filled and food-filled weekend, I am feeling great about my decision not to run many miles.
And I have a new dresser.
I’d say that’s a winning weekend.
I want to run. Badly.
And I will. Soon.
My head is back in the game. I just have to get my body on board.
See you out there.