Coaches Corner: Staying fit, & what to do when you can’t.
I have been extremely lucky over the last decade with my running and fitness. It seems each year I have been able to slowly increase my milage and improve. I found interesting new ways to race through the USATF Mountain Series, The Winter Wild, Snow Shoe racing and Indoor and Outdoor track as well as road & trail racing.
Last year I had my most successful year running of my life. The highest milage I have ever run, racing on 6 different types of surfaces, competing in the National Championship of Mountain Running & 10 Mile Road Race. I also was fortunate enough to nab the top spot in NH Grand Prix for my age group. IT WAS AWESOME!
Then, the wheels came off. A case of undiagnosed strep throat this winter lead to bizarre virus that wrecked my immune system and manifested in arthritis blooms that shut me down for 2 months. Since then it has been a slow road back. Slowly building milage and quality back up. And constantly dealing with nagging injuries that seemly come out of no where. A pulled muscle here, a joint injury there. It seems to never end.
Through it all I have been trying to keep a positive mindset. Going to and listening to my doctors. Engaging in physical therapy and being diligent in doing my exercises. Trying to be patient with my body and knowing that when it is ready to return to health it will. But in reality, it has been extemely frustrating and depressing.
What to do as runner when you can’t run?!?!
But what has helped most of all is being a part of this great running community in our area. Seeing people go for it at track in the mornings, the amazing volunteers at the Summer Track Series and those awesome kids who were learning how to race. I also have been fortunate to coaching some local kids in their summer training programs as they get ready for their HS and college seasons. Seeing young athletes push themselves to the brink in the spirit of amateurism on a hot summer day will never get old to me.
These opportunities have allowed me to reconsider what it means to be a runner in this community. To focus less on my own achievements and more on the growth of others. I feel I appreciate what it means to be be able to lace em up and go for an easy 5 miler more than ever.
Hopefully my ankle will heal up soon and I will be able to join y’all for some left turns at the track. But as I read this morning about Shalene Flanagan going for her first run in 4 months after reconstructive knee surgery I am reminded again of the lesson of patience.
My 2-3 weeks off isn’t that long at all. I will need to ease back into it a bit slower than I could in my 30’s & finally, I will enjoy watching everyone else get the benefits of this great sport and realize that it is indeed making the world a better place. And that is good enough for me.