I'm finally able to sit with my computer somewhat comfortably. That being said, I am sitting in my recliner (lovingly nicknamed my "old man chair"), with a pillow under my legs, another pillow behind my head, a hot water bottle against my right hip, and another pillow against my left hip. I am sipping a cuppa tea. I am now feeling the effects of my morning dose of my meds. I am injured and have been off running a few days. Is it the end of the world? Of course not. In some less-than-shining moments this week, it's felt like it is indeed the end of the world as we know it. Or at least, the end of my marathon training that had been going so well. But of course, that's all hogwash. I'll get back to where I was, and still finish my marathon strong. I am Zahida after all. I finish what I set out to do. That's if I approach things smart. And I'd like to believe that I am, indeed, smarter than the average bear.
Saturday evening I played what will be my last soccer game for the foreseeable future. It was a playoff game that we lost (meaning we are done for the season), and I have not renewed for the coming season. Reason being, soccer really is a tough sport. I'm a tough girl, but I am not cut out for soccer. It requires a whole other kind of toughness, one of a different kind than endurance running. And given that the last few games I've come home hurting, I thought it time to hang up my soccer shoes, at least for the short term. I need to focus on the one sport that matters most to me - my marathon - and soccer has been getting in the way.
Last game gave me the hurtiest of the hurts (note....Zahida likes inventing words). I was running, following my check, trying to defend our end from being victim to more scoring opportunities. I didn't do anything too outlandish or crazy. What actually happened is a bit of a blur now. But it was enough to feel something in my lower back pop, and going forward, my legs were virtually useless. I was well enough to walk back to the bench, stretch, walk around, and even considered in all seriousness going back on the field. It was a big game, and I had to do my part for my team. But the moment I got back on the field, my back seized again, my legs froze, and I was calling out for my sub to replace me again. I was out for the game.
I got home ok, somehow, but with every passing moment, the pain got worse, to the point where I couldn't even get into bed. The spasms intensifed and it was a very painful night. Luckily I have the gift of having the sweetest man in the world in my life, my dear Cam. He did everything in his power to make me feel better. He also was there to physically help me with everything I needed, as my legs were completely useless. Every small movement sent me into total body spasm. I couldn't keep quiet. I couldn't do anything to stop the pain. I was discouraged and distraught. No doubt I disturbed my neighbours. I saw my entire marathon dream crashing before my eyes. I felt discouraged and wished I never fooled myself into believing I could be a both soccer player and a marathoner. I was a mess. It was not pretty. Not one of Zahida's shining moments.
Sunday morning, Cam took me to the hospital. I had a very friendly doctor and nursing team who recognized this as a common sports injury. They gave me the right antidote for my spasms, and I've been on the mend since. Once the spasms stopped, my muscles have been able to heal. I'm back to independence, although I'm still sore. I know that I'll be back to running in no time at all. The question is, how to be smart so that these few days or this 1 week of forced rest doesn't turn into more.
It's day 4 of rest, and I'm having to remind myself over and again that it's only day 4. 4 days is nothing, 4 days of rest has not made me unfit. It would take weeks of being sedentary to lose my base level of fitness. That's not going to happen here. I'm anxious to get out and run. Then again, after any given 1 day of rest when I'm well, I feel antsy, and like I have to move or risk going crazy. 4 days now is not a big deal. I catch myself saying to myself, "maybe I can try an easy 5km tomorrow." And then I realize that I'm again being silly. Considering how awesome I'm doing at day 4, it's going to be amazing to see where I'll be on day 7. And on day 7, I'll only run if it feels right, and I'm not just going to jump back to where I was before, nor am I going to try to make up the lost mileage. The plan is to see where I am on day 7, ease my way back in my first week back, run slow, run short distances (nothing higher than 10km), take rest days, and then do my first long run the following week. I'm going to ignore my training plan for a little while, trust my body, trust my brain, trust the training I've already done, and get back to the plan as soon as it's smart to (and no sooner). I think too much too soon is not a good thing.
I think too much too soon is what got me here to begin with. It wasn't soccer. But maybe because I was trying to combine soccer with a full 5-days-a-week-of-running schedule. I wasn't making allowances in my training for the additional workouts soccer was requiring. In addition, I've been working 6 days a week. I'd overdone it. The trouble is, it didn't feel like I had. I felt healthy, never tired, never irritable, never worried, I slept well, I ate well, I did everything well (or so I thought)....there were none of the classic warning signs that I was taxing my body too much. There were no warning signs that my body was going to do something to force me to take time off. So going back into it now, how will I know if I'm doing ok? How will I know if I'm being smart? That's the real question.
For now, I'm going to ease my way back. Perhaps all I need is to respect my rest days more rather than have a bad attitude toward them. Perhaps having soccer out of my schedule will be all the changes needed. Perhaps being sure I don't do more than what's on my training plan is the key (if anything, do slightly less). Perhaps making sure I stretch and do core strengthening work is also going to be key. Likely all the above is true.
If there's one thing I've learned in life is that the saying is true. Shit happens. But life goes on.
Of like what I say to adapt another common cliche....when life gives you lemons, SUCK IT UP! To me, lemon juice is not as sour as it seems; it can actually be quite tasty and invigorating if you give it a chance. Find ways to sweeten what's been dealt to you, and make lemonade. Sometimes a setback is what you need to be reminded of how good you have it when everything is going well. A setback can invigorate you when you're ready to return to your routine again. When I can run again, I'm going to feel that much more pleased about it, that much more lucky to be able to run, that much more motivated to train smart. I will not take my fitness, my health, or my accomplishments for granted. Not that I think I do, really, but it's always good to have a reminder.