Doubt, Injury, and Noise

Athletes get injured all kinds of ways. If you're in amateur athletics very long at all, you know someone who is rehabbing or recuperating through something that has put them out of the game for weeks or months.

Very close to home, N. has been off the bike since February and has borne it with far more patience than I have borne my one week of strained back muscles. (Hurts even to sneeze!) After a few days of not being able to run or ride a bike, here is the fungal garbage that was budding in my head:

"What was I thinking. I am weak. I will never be able to run up Pike's Peak."

"Those are serious trail runners who do this thing! I am barely going to be able to train adequately for the distance. The oxygen debt is going to make this impossible."

"What if I've really hurt my back so badly that I won't be able to run again?"

Do you see what these things have in common? They are all absolutes. Absolutes are a stark sign of irrationality. Maybe doubt itself is a sure sign of irrationality. So hooray! An irrational thought is just noise to be ignored.

The truth is that nobody knows if I can run a Pike's Peak Ascent in this body, or the body I will be in eight weeks from now. Isn't it enough to be grateful and happy that I get to go find out!

In the meantime, heat, lots of gentle stretching, a deep tissue massage, and arnica seem to be working their magic. I ran in the deep water pool last night and on the treadmill at a 15% grade today, which felt amazing. Hung in for 3 miles before I needed to get home for another commitment, which gets me in simulation to the Top of the W's checkpoint on Pike's Peak.

Which is something that was not possible 3 months ago. And that is the truth that fades noise into nothingness. As my Granny would have said: "Don't matter about tomorrow, 'cause can't nobody take that away."

Today's tune:
Obvious choice.


Julie said...

Hey! How's training coming and how's the back feeling?

Funny, you'd commented on my Pike's Peak Ascent blog post from a few years ago awhile back, and then I ran across your WIN for KC triathlon post this afternoon by pure coincidence since I was looking for some reports on how the course is. I'm excited for my 2nd tri, then Pike's Peak in 5 weeks!

Hope you're feeling better!

Ann Pai said...

Hi Julie! Thanks for the good wishes! Some deep tissue massage and careful recovery set me right again.

Looks like I am on track for a slow ascent, though I can't really practice (a) altitude or (b) vertigo.

I guess I could go run the trail above the lake at Perry for (b).

If you liked tris enough to do a second one, you will love the Win for KC race! Almost makes me wish I were enough of a swimmer to be out there. :-)

Hope you have a fantastic race day!