I woke up Thursday morning this week with a variety of ailments. After a good training session on Wednesday morning both my thighs and my glutes were aching. In the same session I ramped my bench press weight back up and my chest was pretty sore from that. I went for a long walk/run combo on Tuesday and ran as a warm up on Wednesday so my standard post-run hip tightness and soreness were there but not bad.
Then there was my foot pain on the second toe on my left foot. Back at the end of August I accidentally ran a half marathon distance when I had only planned a 10 mile training run. I did this with running shoes that I knew needed replaced. Since that day I have had a pain in my foot that I was concerned was a stress fracture. Though the symptoms seemed a little backwards from a stress fracture. The pain actually gets better and pretty much goes away when I am running.
My foot pain really concerned me because it was new pain that had continued for several weeks. On top of that I have a half marathon that I am running next weekend and will need to use that foot. So I had made a doctors appointment for Thursday to get it checked out, to discuss my hip pain and to follow up to see how my blood pressure is doing.
I will start with the good news from the appointment. He doesn’t think I have a stress fracture given the symptoms I described. It may be any other of a variety of things that are all less serious. The foot shouldn’t impact my ability to run the half marathon next weekend. That’s a relief!
Unfortunately there was a bigger story or message that came from my appointment. There was a reality check about my situation.
Over the past 121 weeks I have gone from a 325 pound couch potato to an amateur athlete about to run my seventh half marathon in about a year. I need to change any expectation that I have that I am going to live a life without pain. This is my painful truth.
My doctor has a history in sports medicine and has cared for many athletes over his years before moving into his current position. May of those athletes he has treated have been runners (like me) and have been weight lifters (like me to a lesser extent). They all have aches and pains and many are similar to mine with hip challenges, IT band soreness, foot issues and just generally sore muscles.
I have a 42 (almost 43) year old body that spent its first 40 years in a sedentary state before I decided to become an athlete. Soreness and minor pains are just a sign that I am pushing my body outside of its 40 years of comfort zone. They are a sign that my performance is getting better. Unfortunately they are also a fact of life and are probably here to stay if I continue pushing my body to grow athletically.
So what am I going to do?
First I am not going to ever go back to a life where I was comfortable because I wasn’t pushing myself, those days are over. I am going to keep pushing myself to do better.
Since I am not going to stop my progress I need to be a little more deliberate about portions of my fitness. Specifically I need to focus more on recovery. I need to plan for how to recover and make sure that I am not skipping that step in the process. Oh great, one more thing to track!
Finally I need to both accept the new reality that I am going to have some pain in my life and to listen to my body. If my body tells me “you should really not run today” I need to listen as long as that isn’t every day.
It is a delicate balance to push my body to do more and to properly care for it and maintain it. Hell I haven’t even mastered this with my car. But I am up for the challenge!
Thanks so much for reading and for your support. I sincerely hope that my experiences and my tips can help you achieve your own big goals. If we work together we can build a world where goals never die of loneliness!