I just got back from the PT office in Boulder to work, yet again, on a hamstring/tendon issue that has plagued me since June. As I sat down to write this, I wasn't sure what to put down but I think that the lessons I have learned in this past year are important to remember in any stage of training.
2009 proved to be a much more challenging year than I had anticipated. I moved up to Denver in 2008 to start grad school to begin what has been a long anticipated career. I had been in Colorado Springs my entire life and was spoiled with trails out my back door, great running partners and friends, and a job at a running store. What more could a runner ask for? My lifestyle and running terrain have changed immensely since then and I find that my body and mind are having a hard time catching up. Pavement was completely foreign to me back at home, but here, there's no avoiding the unforgiving surface. Because of the new changes, I got hurt in November of last year, healed up enough to run marginally in track and then injured my hamstring in June of this year. It's hard not to let the frustration seep in constantly, but luckily school has a way of distracting my mind on most days.
I only write this because as I was driving home today, I had a revelation. If this year of frustration, pain and numerous trips to the PT has taught me anything at all, it's this: running is so much more who I am than what I do. When my leg is especially stubborn, all I want is to run out the door for a pain-free jaunt around the park to melt my stress and clear my lungs. I think back to when training would get especially difficult and how much I would complain about workouts and long runs. What I wouldn't give to be in the middle of a long cycle of training, heading out to the track for 400's. I find that I am much happier person when I am running, so being hurt can make it difficult to live with me (sorry Jay) but I'm learning how to cope and to practice patience. I hope that I can carry this feeling into the future to when I feel too tired, hungry or stressed to run and remember what it was like to not even have the option.
The leg gets better everyday, with only an occasional set-back here and there. I have made great friend and running partner in Denver who has been a great support especially when I am feeling low and who has shown me trails (yay!) in Denver that remind me of home. On the upside, this injury has unearthed a flaw in my form that may have been the culprit of numerous past injuries (thanks to Mark for helping me with the new form and for all the work on the hamstring he has done over the past couple months). Now that I have switched things around, my efficiency and speed has increased tremendously and I can't wait to start track season with a new stride and a new mindset. Here's to 2010!!!