Monday, March 9, 2015

Ramblings of an Injured Runner

You learn a lot during breaks from running.  It's almost like going to visit an entirely different culture as you go from one extreme to another.  You go from eating whatever you want, using a lot of soap and deodorant and always feeling pressed for time to being able to take a few extra deep breaths, wake up feeling more refreshed and have to eat less tasty food.

For four weeks my bum hamstring (or biceps femoris) has put me on the disabled list.  Normally, when I'm hurt or taking a break or whatever, I don't really think about running anymore.  I still keep up with what's going on with my running friends and troll Lets Run a little bit but I really don't think about my own running very much.  I wear a lot of hats and when the running hat is off, I forget about it.  And I definitely don't have the desire to try and cross-train to maintain my fitness.  When I fall off the saddle, I usually dust myself off and start over again.

But this injury has yanked on my soul because I was hungry (literally, as well as motivation wise), training well and ready to make a statement.  And just when things were starting to go well, it came crashing yet again.

These past four weeks have reinforced some things I've already learned and taught me some new things.  And since I'm spending less time running, I can spend more time writing this kind of crap.  But here's what I've realized during this current injury...

Abs are made in the kitchen (unless you do a lot of endurance training). The thing I quickly learn during all planned running breaks and running injuries is that for me, cardio is king when it comes to losing weight and burning calories, regardless of what you Facebook friends are trying to sell you. And not just random running around, doing burpees and a bunch of other random crap for thirty minutes, but long-extensive stuff. It's also great for lowering your testosterone levels!

And when you are doing nothing at all, you quickly realize if you want to keep those abs you worked so hard to get, you have to control yourself in the kitchen. Eating over 4,000 calories a day during hard training blocks isn't always easy and if I'm not careful, I lose weight pretty quickly. It gives me an excuse to down a healthy hefty amount of junk food.  All in the name of recovery, right? But when my metabolism is literally cut in half, my abs are quickly traded for a muffin top. I have no qualms stating that I'd be fat pretty quickly if I didn't run.  So hopefully, I can run soon because I don't want to have to live a life of chicken and vegetables.

Almost six years ago.  And I put on another 10 lbs. after that picture (even though I was lifting and jogging a few times a week) which was also about 35-40 pounds over my racing weight
You feel like a lonely, single person on Valentines Day when all your friends are in committed relationships. Now, don't get me wrong.  I have several single friends who are very content with their life and the freedom it entails.  I'm talking about those anti-Valentines Day people who's rants only show their own insecurity and need for dependence on others.

A few weeks ago, I liked checking Strava and seeing how people were doing.  Now, I hate looking at that thing.  I even have stayed away from Instagram a good bit.  I don't want to read about your stupid runs when I'm still completely bitter about not being able to do my own. So hopefully no one feels shafted that I haven't been giving them any "kudos" on Strava (disclaimer: the athletes that I coach are exempt from this bitterness and I continue to live some of my running glory through them). Normally this isn't an issue at all but for some reason, this bum hamstring has resulted in me becoming quite senile lately.

You can function with a lot less sleep. I'm a night owl, who lives in a house full of early birds. I wake up at 5:15am during the school week and usually head to bed around 10:30, regardless if I'm training hard or not training at all.  I should probably go to bed earlier, but I like having a couple of hours to watch the shows my wife hates and mentally unwind a little bit more.  When I'm training hard, it takes a lot of coffee and tea to not feel like zombie during the day and I always tell myself that I need to go to bed earlier.  But of course, I never listen.  But when I'm not running, I actually feel pretty normal the next day and can function really well off of 6-7 hours of sleep a night.  And I have even traded my caffeine heavy coffee for some classy, loose tea. 

You have a lot more free time. The math is easy.  Training takes up about 10% of the day and when you don't train, you get 10% of the day back.  Lunch breaks are more about eating lunch and I can go home and relax a little bit rather than rushing to run after school before picking up Kate at daycare and then heading home for dinner.  I would hope the extra time would make me more productive but it doesn't. And so I don't sound like a bad father, yes I play with my kids with the extra time but I'm also a little bit more lazy as well.

Hopefully in a few weeks, you'll see a leaner, encouraging, overly sleepy and pushed for time runner!

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