Tarzan got new Crocs yesterday. He skinned both his knees a few days ago while wearing his old ones.
Check out the bottoms of them. I’ve seen bald tires with more traction left in them.
It took getting hurt for Tarzan to let go of his attachment to his balding Crocs.
Luckily all Tarzan needed was Band-Aids and a kiss from mommy to feel better.
If only it was that EASY with runners when they injure themselves …
Tarzan’s stubbornness reminds me of what runners do, too, when they get overly attached to goals or dreams, and hurt themselves over training. It’s easy to do.
I’m not saying this to be judgey, just truthful. Believe me. I’ve done it myself and learned the hard way.
I ran the 2010 Denver N Roll Marathon after puking my guts up three days earlier. There was nothing smart nor logical about my decision to still run the full race.
Read any marathon training program and it’s there in black and white. Three days before a race is when you’re supposed to filling up the tank — by carbo-loading and hydrating well, not emptying your normal reserves faster than you can handle.
I’m human. I got caught up in the moment and the mindset of “I’ve trained for months. I’ve spent the time and money. How can I afford to NOT do the race?”
We runners are notorious for this sort of fanatic fly-in-the-face of plain logic.
The bigger question I should have asked was, “How could I AFFORD TO DO my race under such crappy circumstances?”
I’m lucky I finished and didn’t end up in the hospital … or worse.
Often times it’s such a fine line when you’re training, knowing when to “suck it up” or stop; the margin between bold accomplishment and recklessness is slim.
Pain and training one’s self to work through it, after all, is a part of the process, especially when you’re talking marathon distance or greater.
I’ve never done an ultra but I imagine one experiences several “waves” of the severe discomfort you normally encounter near the end of a marathon.
That would make it even harder to discern the ebb and flow of discomfort, I would guess, and know when to stop for the sake of self preservation and not injuring one’s self beyond repair versus push through to the next level.
Did you know, for example, that 15,000 of the 60,000 runners who registered for the New York City Marathon, which took place last weekend, didn’t make it the starting line because of illness and injury?
I read it in the Wall Street Journal last weekend. The number stunned me. I’m surprised it was that HIGH.
I know, for example, when I was training for Boston one of my greatest fears was injury and not being able to compete in the race. It would have taken A LOT for me to withdraw my entry.
Perhaps it’s because of the company I keep (a lot of my friends are pretty hard-core) but I rarely see racers pull themselves back when they are injured or sick, even when it’s obvious they SHOULD.
What usually happens, instead, is people keep going on their injuries and do greater damage.
The guideline I live by and share with people (as a coach) when I’m asked is to error on the side of being conservative.
One of my favorite examples is Bart Yasso’s “Three Rules to Running Healthy.” (Yasso is “Chief Running Officer” at Runner’s World and the few times I dealt with him when I was a race director he was a really nice guy, too.) His rules:
Thou Shall Not Run Too Fast (Running fast and hard, too often in your training)
Thou Shall Not Run Too Far (Increasing your distances and overall mileage too quickly)
Thou Shall Not Run Too Often (Skipping your rest days)
If I could add a fourth rule it would be “Thou Shall Learn to Listen to Thine Own Body.”
It’s tough because if you compare yourself to others there are always runners out there who appear to be the seven biomechanical wonders of the world and beyond the rules of gravity that govern the rest of us.
They can run faster than they should all the time and not injury themselves.
They can run farther than anyone else, all the time, and not injury themselves.
They can skip rest days and — you guessed it — not injury themselves.
They can eat crappy or only sip water sparingly — and — not injury themselves.
In other words, comparing your mere mortal self to one of them is the feast of the devil. It will drive you crazy.
That’s why I repeat, “Thou Shall Learn to Listen to THINE Own Body.”
I cannot stress this enough.
Myself, for example, I don’t usually break down with biomechanical injuries but my immune system drops faster than the New Year’s ball on Times Square when I over-do it.
That’s how I ended up with shingles in July.
When my son was born and I suffered from postpartum depression and sleep deprivation I got strep four times within one year.
I’ve learned when my immune system gets shot it’s best I slow down or pull back, lest I end up with my sorry metaphorical version of bald Crocs and worse for the wear.
(Tarzan has learned a lesson about pushing limits, too, in his own way)
Thou Shall Learn to Listen to Thine Own Body.
Most of the time it works well for me.
I hope this advice serves you, too
Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!
Mileage today: 9; Mileage since Boston: 832.7.