Saturday, June 4, 2011

Big Girls Do Cry...

...but trail-running big girls wait until after they finish their workout!

Remember my story about The (Almost) Princess and the Blister?  I told you my theory on pain--it's relative.  For the princess, sleeping on a pea caused her GREAT discomfort (and bruises if I remember the story correctly) whereas someone who was used to sleeping on rocks would have been able to rest like a bear in hibernation on that "lumpy" bed.
I went on in that post to tell you about a blister that had me limping around until I saw a picture of Eric Charette's, foot which caused me to realize just how much of a ...princess... I really (was).

 That post was written in May of last year. 

Since that time, I've written several posts about pain and how running through it has helped me find out what I'm made of.  My very last post (ironically) was on the Pain Garden.   I talked the big talk about how I planned to toughen up, find my pain threshold and get comfortable being uncomfortable.  (I didn't use those exact words, but that's what I meant.)

***FOR THE RECORD***  Let me be perfectly clear...there is NOTHING about pain that should EVER be associated with a garden, unless it looks like this:

Well, you know how the saying careful what you wish for....

The inside of my elbow..
I started my yesterday at the pool.  Several times during my 50 (long course) laps, I smacked my elbow on those things they mislabel as "lane ropes".  Who are they trying to fool?  "Ropes" don't hurt like that!  I remember thinking how bruised I was going to be all because I wanted to take up as little space as possible in the lane (since I was sharing with four very fast men).  I dressed to go run trails and winced with pain as my clothes brushed against my near-hematoma.

I made a note to self:  don't write about pain again.

My running buddies are both out of town so the plan was to RUN HARD.  It was early but already hot and humid.  I did not get enough shut eye the night before (for some reason I haven't been able to sleep well after our group workouts).  I'm struggling with "fueling" banana really isn't enough to get me through 2500 meters and a 3.something mile trail run.  I was dragging, but fighting it.  I kept thinking pain wasn't the right word to describe what I felt...more like just pain TIRED.  I kept trying to increase my heart rate, but fatigue held me back.  It seems I usually tire out LONG before I hurt.  I wondered how to get past THAT.  I mentally smirked over how easy it is to push past pain, but much harder to keep going when you're depleted of all energy.

As I occupied my mind with thoughts like, "listen, run hard just three more minutes and then you can walk" and "pick those feet up girl, get some pep in your don't want to---"  IT happened.  I became a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness TRAIL RUNNER as I tripped over a root and flew through the air with the greatest of awkwardness...sliding on my hands and knees, all the while praying I didn't break anything.  ((Go back to this post where I tell you my greatest fear, related to solo trail running, is having to limp/crawl out of the woods!))  As soon as I stopped sliding, my second thought was for my new watch and my phone (which was strapped to my arm).

I'd like to say I got up and just started running again...and I did, but not without yelling out a pre-school curse word (...fart...) MANY, MANY, times.  Unfortunately for me this couldn't have happened in a secluded section of wilderness.  Oh no, it had to happen RIGHT NEXT TO OCCUPIED CABINS.  How did I know they were occupied?  Because the people were coming out as I was blasting my quasi-obscenities!!  I'm sure they were having a good laugh...or maybe they didn't see/hear me because no one even asked if I was okay.

Anyway...after only a few seconds (enough to say the word of the day about 6 or 7 times), I told myself I needed to get back to the car.  My first thought was to walk-okay, who am I kidding, hobble- the rest of the way.  That's when it hit me!!  THIS was my chance to push through pain.  I remembered all the stories I've heard of runners who have fallen and gotten up to finish strong.  I remembered a video I saw not long ago...

and I pushed as hard as I could to finish STRONG (much harder than I imagined possible for a "princess").

When I got back to the car, I washed off the blood and proceeded to call my husband... and to cry like a big baby!  He basically told me to put my big girl panties on and thank God for the opportunity to work through some PAIN allowing me to toughen up!!  (But only after he asked if I wanted him to come home and take care of me...I LOVE THAT MAN!!)

I know I've whined in the past about minor issues, and I know it could have been a lot worse...but, see for yourself, this is more than just a scrape.

...after I washed it off...

For the record, this morning I rode 29 miles with the big boys (on average they were at the low end I was at the top end of easy, pushing middle effort at times).  I then spent 30 minutes on the elliptical.  All proof I am NOT actually a princess.  Just don't tell my husband!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon! :D


  1. A mental barrier passed (wait, make that an 'emotional' barrier, better word). Because digging deep to pass through some discomfort and suffering (while the photo is righteous, doesn't look like lasting damage, so keep going) is a really good thing. Who knows, an emotional skill you might apply someplace else in your life besides the mere triviality of trail running? ;-)

    For the record, the blisters on Eric's other foot were even worse (I did the "surgery"). He suffered those 2-3 days, but didn't make a peep when I put the tincture of benzoin on them.

    Great post....

  2. OUCH... Glad you did not break anything...


Don't hold back, tell it like it is....