Kelly the Culinarian: Guest Post: Tales from Eri-Thon

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guest Post: Tales from Eri-Thon

Believe it or not, I'm still on vacation.  Since the Mayan calendar ends today and it might be the end of the world, I thought it would be good idea to be in the middle of the ocean surrounded by lobster tails and melting chocolate cakes. In the meantime, please enjoy this post by Erin, the most fashionable blogger I know. She's helped me dress myself before and her advice is solid.  She generously agreed to share how she coped with a training set back.

In 2011 I did 30 races. Two marathons, four half marathons, three 10 milers, three 10Ks, one 5 miler, one 4 miler, one 3.5 mile, 10 5Ks, two sprint duathlons, one triathlon relay (I did the bike portion), and one 200 mile relay race.

I tracked every mile I ran. I logged over 1080 miles. I hit personal records at almost every distance. I received a Chicago Area Runner’s Association Participation Award. I won “Most Improved Runner” from my running club.

And I did it all while seeing doctors, surgeons and physical therapists to try and figure out nagging and painful issues with my left leg.

Smart? Probably not. The doctors and surgeons and PTs told me I’d need surgery to fix my hip and leg issues. I’d be out of commission for months.

So what did I do? Did I have surgery? No, not yet. But I decided to step back from running so much. At first it gave me a huge nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach. When I thought about not chasing PRs, not being at races with my friends, and not training for another long distance race I felt almost nauseous. There were tears and I rode an emotional rollercoaster for weeks.

But then I realized there were so many other things I could do. All those fitness Groupons I saw but passed up because when would I fit that into my schedule when I was running four days a week, doing speedwork, and racing every other weekend? I could do them now. The buff arms I want so badly? I could focus more on strength training and someday have Michelle Obama arms. Those painting classes or outings with friends or those bottles of wine sitting in my house? I could partake of all of them without worrying about missing a workout that would be necessary to PR at an upcoming race.

I realized that for all the fun I had doing all my events in 2011 I was also missing out on so many other things. So in 2012 I vowed to stop tracking my mileage, to stop worrying about my pace so much, and run what races I could for fun, not for time. 
Has it been easy? Not always. I’m still learning what things I can and can’t do with my hip injury. I’m still surrounded by people who ask, “Are you back??” in regard to my running. You know, I may never be back to where I was in 2011. My marathon PR may always be from the 2011 Las Vegas Marathon. I may never have a 5K time that starts with 23. My half marathons might not ever be under 2 hours again. And I’m truly okay with that. 
Because there are so many things to do in this life. That doesn’t mean you have to stop running. Oh no. I still run. In fact, I’m still able to run longer distance races if I do it smartly. But my arms are looking pretty buff, I’ve made more friends in 2012, and I’ve taken advantage of what living in Chicago has to offer without feeling stressed out about how I’m going to get in my run or feeling (too) guilty if I miss one.

I am proof that you can go from a killer year of running where you hit all your goals and are flying high to a more laid back approach without the world ending. I haven’t gained weight. I haven’t lost my ability to run 13.1 miles. Instead, I’ve kept those the same and gotten so much more.


Kim said...

Great post, Erin! I wish most of us runners could have the "running is not everything" reality check without an injury, but that is how I got there too ;)

emmers712 said...

Kelly, I hope you are having a fantabulous cruise and I can't wait to see pictures when you get back!!!

I was so glad to read about this topic via Erin's guest post. I've been struggling with nagging injuries for the majority of my running career so it's always nice to hear that these injuries are not the end all be all!