Thoughts As I Close in on 60 DWR*

*DWR = Days Without Running

When I look back at my training logs, especially from the perspective of the time that has elapsed, I can pinpoint my injury to early July 2010, when I decided to do some homegrown speedwork.  What I thought was plantar fasciitis ended up being more of an ankle joint/tendon injury, and like many runners, I kept on running in hopes of “working it out.”  I actually had a pretty fun summer of running, despite the regression in my times and the circuit of chiropractors, doctors, ultrasound treatments, and inserts.  Finally, after the Miller’s Landing Madness 8K on August 28, I accepted and decided to act upon the sound advice I had received from several reliable sources:  it was time for a break from running.

Miller’s Landing Madness 8K (8/28/10)
Photo credit:  Herb Wills
It was at a PiYo (fusion pilates/yoga) class 24 DWR that some of the information those reliable sources had been imparting to me started to click — information about how our core really provides “a solid base upon which all other muscles can work upon to initiate movement,” as described at the Virtual Sports Injury Clinic.  When I took my shoes off, entered the downward dog position, and felt my achilles, calf muscle, and hamstring all stretch in unison, something loosened up in my brain a bit too regarding my approach to running and fitness.

Here’s a breakdown of my DWR journey:

17 days on my old but still fundamentally sound (enough) bike
11 rest days
9 swimming days
9 walking days
RealRyder days (2 of which included a TRX workout)
5 PiYo/Yoga days

I have had some fantastic guides along this unexpected (but quite rewarding) journey.  One influence has been a RunRunLive podcast in which Chris Russell interviewed Jessi Stensland of Movement U.  She talked about the core and her work with athletes in many different disciplines.  Her comments echoed those of Jeff and Ann Bowman of RevTriCoaching, my swimming coaches, who pointed out that your core has to drive the motion of your arms and legs, or else you waste energy.  Kim Bibeau and staff at Sweat Therapy Fitness have introduced me to the RealRyder challenge, to TRX (which made itself known to me for DAYS afterwards), and by offering a few complimentary sessions of PiYo helped me get acquainted with something I clearly needed.  Journeys in Yoga has helped me extend my interest in yoga, stretching and strengthening my body as well as my spirit.  Jeff and Diane at PRSFit shared their experience,  knowledge, and wisdom with me. 

I wrote Chris when a friend was starting her “DWR Journey” a few weeks behind me.  I was searching (and failing) for something to say that would make her feel better and less defeated.  Here’s what Chris said:

Running is such a large part of your life, a personal part, losing it is like losing a friend. You will go through the cycle of grieving. Denial (your friend), Anger, Sadness, acceptance and learning. Once you know this your big brain can cope. Once you set your immediate goals aside and take the long view you can move ahead in a positive manner. I like to think of time off as a “great gathering of strength”. Time off allows not only physical healing but allows you to put this thing, this running, this gift in perspective.

Now that I am approaching 60 DWR, I am so happy to be more in the “learning” phase than the “sadness” and “anger” stages.  Over the past two weeks, there have been times when I can almost physically feel the area that had been so painful and tender throughout the summer knitting itself back together.  I suppose I owe my body the courtesy of giving it a chance to put itself back together, right?  I also owe it the courtesy of preparing the “solid base” of a core from which all of the other good, fun, challenging exertion can come.  To those of you who have helped guide this journey, thanks!  When I eventually cross a 5K finish line in less than 30 minutes, there may only be one runner but a bevy of virtual “teammates.” 


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