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Redefining Running Goals

August 14, 2012

Remember this from earlier this year?  My goal list:

There comes a time when it’s not only practical, it’s also impossible not to, redefine goals.  My main goal this year  was to run 900 miles; the list above contained sub-goals in my pursuit of the lovely 900 miles.  Surely, it’s not an epic distance for many runners, but for injury-prone-Carrie, it was a big jump over my 700 miles of 2011.  I knew that total-body fitness was going to be important for injury prevention.

Which is where I fell of the wagon… in a big way.

Yoga?  Yeah, maybe four times January-April.

Strength training?  Who has time when I ran an Iron Girl half marathon one weekend, the next weekend ran Broad Street (10 miles), and the next weekend ran my second Ragnar up in Cape Cod.  I was all about miles, miles, miles.

Rest?  Did you see my last point?  I didn’t even have a five day’s recovery between Broad Street and Ragnar.  I had a mere seven days between my half marathon PR of  8-minutes and Broad Street (another five minute PR).  Note to self:  Never again.

Listen to my body?  Right before my third Ragnar leg (after 45 minutes sleep the night before) I just about cried because I was so physically tired that my emotions started to get a bit haywire, but I couldn’t let the team down, duh.  (And I didn’t.  I ran my heart out.  And then drank some beer.  And then slept, like a baby.)

Keep it steady?  Well…

Eat better?  Hooray!  I did this.  I’m thrilled with the amount of fruits and veggies I’m putting in my body.  (I’m drinking a Great Lakes – Burning River Pale Ale as I type this, but for the most part what’s gone in, has been good.)

Anyway, needless to say this is what happened:

I’ve been half-running / half-not running for the last three months.  A good week is twelve miles; a bad week is six.  I learned all about a new injury this year:  posterior tibial tendonitis.  PTT is keeping my runs to no more than 3 miles, 2-4 times per week.  It’s BRUTAL.  So basically what I’m saying is – that goal of 900 miles?  It needs to be redefined.  And for a while I was REALLY bummed about it.  But in retrospect, it’s a luxury to be able to redefine my fitness goals.  Sometimes in life we’re bound by goals we can’t get out of.  Everyday I deal with work deadlines and goals that aren’t flexible or pliable.  I have things in my personal life that HAVE to get done.  I have phone calls I’m required to make.  Bills I have to pay.  Chores around the house that need to get done to maintain sanity.  But with my running, I have the freedom to just say, “Stop.  It’s just a number.  Enjoy the process, not only the end-goal.”   I’m not going to cling to an arbitrary number and drive myself into a stress fracture.  I’m going to let it go.  So that I can open myself up to healing.

I haven’t even put a number goal on this year.  To be honest, once I’m feeling more optimistic about my injury (and healing), I might grab a calculator and look at a calendar to come up with a number that isn’t only challenging, but also realistic.  I haven’t registered for any Fall races, but I would really love to do two halfs this Fall.  I think it’s doable if I’m smart about how I approach race day.

So back to the basics.  Last weekend, a dear friend of mine (who is gearing up to become a yoga instructor) came over to my house after a run to tailor a post-run yoga routine just for me.  And you know what?  I’ve completed it after each run this week, and I’m starting to feel a difference in my foot.  (I also did two, hour long yoga classes this week.)  I can’t go out and run ten miles yet, but I can see a time in the not so distant future, when I can head out for a double-digit morning (after a few weeks of training of course.)  Until then, I’m resting.  I’m stretching.  I’m doing squats.  I’m doing all of the things that I was supposed to be doing.  I guess this is a another lesson, right?

Were you ever forced to redefine your goal?  How did you feel about it?

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