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I started training for the LA marathon in August or September. I needed to go from not having run at all for years, to marathon-fitness, so I gave myself lots of time, 8 months. I started out slow. I joined the LA Road Runners, who met every Saturday morning at 5:30 AM in Venice to run in pace groups. I ran a few miles a day, then more. Then we started doing serious distances, more than ten miles. And I got sick a couple of times in there, and I pulled a calf muscle. Basically I don't think there was a single day I ran when I was in some kind of sub-optimal condition. But I told myself that running a marathon is about dealing with pain, that the mental fortitude to keep going anyway is as important as the physical ability. I could train my body up to the right condition, but without a chance to gut out some pain, I couldn't train my mind. Heck, running with pain was a blessing, in that respect.

But still, I didn't run as much as I should have. The long runs on the weekends got harder and harder. I dropped out of one, cut another one a little short. I noticed a troubling achiness in my hips, like an old German Shepherd. The holiday break was a relief, I figured I'd have a chance to get my week-day mileage up enough to make the long runs more tolerable. The first long run of the holiday I just couldn't do, my hips hurt way too much and I was still recovering from pneumonia. So I figured I'd just walk it. It burns the same amount of calories, I could take Blink with  me, and I had plenty of time.

After about six miles, that too was incredibly painful - worse than ever, really. Over the following weeks, my hips would start hurting, seriously, after five or six miles. I could take some kind of NAISD, and it would stop hurting. I tried taking ibuprofen before running, and that forestalled the effects, but the longer runs go three hours, and it would wear off. So I asked my doctor about it.

Maybe I shouldn't have asked. But at this point, it's almost certain I can't run long distance. It's my own fault - I'm too heavy, I was too out of shape, and putting that much weight on my hips for literally hundreds of miles has taken a toll. I've got to get that confirmed by a sports doctor, but ... it's nearly certain.

It doesn't mean I can't exercise, it just means the thing I like doing best is impossible. The thing I've spent so many hours getting ready for. The thing I've gutted out incredible pain to do. The goal I set, and have talked about a lot - I have to admit defeat. Slink back into a hole. Be a failure. Another failure.

It hit me pretty hard - hit my morale about like the pain hit my hips. Lost a lot of sleep that first night, woke up staring at the ceiling, feeling a little despairy. You know, that grip of the black abyss, where you're on the edge of the schwarzchild radius. Just putting a toe into the infinite suck-singularlity. I'd been in a bit of black mood the day before. I know this space, I've been here before, and it was going to be further down before getting up again.

Yeah, I could come up with a new plan. But the sting of failure ... man, I'm tired of that sting.

I don't want Eowyn to grow up with that as an example. I don't want her to be the kind of person that mopes for a week, and feels sorry for herself before picking herself up and getting on with it. I want her to be the dust-herself-off, give the world a smile and say "Well. Plan B it is! I always liked plan B better anyway! Yay plan B!"

So that means I've got to be that guy. So here we go, plan B. The marathon is off. Can't even walk it, hips won't take it. Time to get serious about weight loss, and in the way that's statistically most likely to work - so it's Weight Watchers. Found a meeting, got the online tool (re) set up. Time to start riding my bike-  getting it tuned up today and am going to ride it to work. Yep, that completely invalidates my work wardrobe. Which I finally liked. But, going to scrap that, and ... find some way to make things I can wear on a bike also look professional. Which will probably get easier when I'm not a hippoppatamic land mass. Definitely will! So that's something to look forward to!

So here we go. Staying positive, even while failing!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
May I suggest cycling? It's low impact on knees and such, burns calories, and suddenly makes you realize that you can bike places instead of driving, giving you exercise as you do daily errands. The big thing to train for is a century ride, so there's an eventual scaling up there, too.
- A
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
Cycling is the plan. I've done centuries plenty of times, back in triathlon days...maybe again. I do have a custom-made Captain America Cycle, compliments of pyr8queen!
Jan. 9th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
Is running totally off the table forever or is it something that, if you lose weight and get fit/train for first, you could get back to doing at some point? If you are going to see a sports doctor anyway, it might be worth asking about.

One of the things that makes me wary of the whole 'plough through the pain' kind of attitude to fitness is that there is no good way of knowing when pain is something you can usefully work through versus a signal that you are doing permanent damage to your body.

I think you have a good motivation to figure things out at least :)
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
I hope I can return to running, even if it's just shorter distances, and maybe eventually more. It's just discouraging to fail at this short term goal, but it's not a forever-fail. It's a fail-today.

We're tested not in our triumph but our failure blah blah blah. I could stand a little bit less testing though.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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