Alter-G reigniting the FIRE

Getting injured is never fun and although my current injury has probably come at the most inopportune time possible with the Olympic Trials fast approaching, I have found myself strangely calm throughout the entire recovery process.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had the odd moment of intense anger, sadness, and frustration, but I have mostly been plodding along just getting my cross training done. Perhaps this even-keeled attitude is due to being a bit more mature in my running, but I think I also think I’ve been trying to stay out of my head this time around.

Yes, prior to this injury my goal board in the ZAP dining room said “Top 15 at Olympic Trials Marathon” and while that may not be possible anymore I think there is always another goal to set and pursue. I will not make a new one until I see what I am able to do over the next 9 weeks.

Sure, there have been many moments of doubt in this whole process. I wouldn’t say I have been wallowing in self pity because that is usually not my style but instead, I have gotten in all my cross training while trying to turn my brain off. I think it is nearly impossible to be fully dialed into each and every minute of aqua jogging.

Deep down I wish I could but I can’t. I ALWAYS get the work in and do every surge, tempo, hands out, holding breath action that I am told and hope that I am helping my fitness. I hear from Pete and others about how some of the greats like Todd Williams and Steve Spence would aboslutley murder themselves in the pool and come out FITTER than before but I think we only hear about the best sessions they did during injury. This is much like when guys post workout information; it is usually a kick-ass workout and not the norm.

Sure, I have had some awesome cross training days where I was completely dialed in and got after each and every interval during a 100 minute pool workout, but more often than not I get in the pool, do my work in silence, and get out 2 hours later. Did I work hard? Of course, but was it overly impressive? I don’t know.

All I know is that I can look back and my training log and see that I have approached each day as a professional and punched my time card. This isn’t glamorous or exciting 90% of the time but the accumulation of work is still very exciting and does motivate me to get back out there the next day.

As I’ve begun to slowly wean myself away from the pool and more towards the Alter G a funny thing has happened; my fire to compete again has been growing…quickly. Two months ago, I tossed aside that notion because tormenting myself with the thought that full training was so far away would have wrecked me. Instead, I took those early weeks day by day, as cliche as it sounds. But over the past 2 weeks I have begun to run at least an hour each day with a few faster miles tossed in.

My motivation to return has been flooding my body and mind as I’m pounding away on the treadmill.  So far, these runs have been around 80% of my body weight and I have gotten down to 5:30 pace a little bit. Nothing crazy but it has truly been so much fun. Here’s what a normal morning has been like for me on the G:

I wake up at 7 and eat breakfast with Esther. When she heads out the door to Moses Cone, I drive to ZAP and usually say goodbye to Tyler and Griff as they leave for their runs and I get to briefly hear about how marathon training has just begun and I hate them for a brief moment (I’m just jealous).

I get on the G after negotiating my start time with Colley the previous night through texts as he is injured too. The first 30 minutes go by slowly as I listen to either Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, the Men is Blazers, or any number of NPR programs.

Then after about 40 minutes I have worked the pace down to 6:30 per mile and see I have 2o minutes to go so I switch to Pandora and start getting really excited that my foot doesn’t hurt. This is where the FUN begins. The following super-positive thoughts take over my mind:

“So I’m running 5:40 pace at 82% of my body weight at 1% incline and I feel great. I mean goal marathon pace is ONLY 5:10 pace. That’s only 30 seconds per mile less than I’m going right now. And I’ve got 9 weeks to go. I’m going to be so fit!”

(That new Justin Bieber song “What Do You Mean”  comes on and I increase the incline to 2%)

“Picture this: mile 20 in LA. You realize you’ve just run miles 18 and 19 faster than any the entire day and you are absolutely ready to rip the head off the last 10k. Let’s go to a place we’ve never been before .”

(My hands go in the air and I act like I’m celebrating crossing the finish line in LA and seeing a fast time. I sing along to the next song loudly even though Colley is in the next room waiting for me to be finished. I know he doesn’t care because he’s been injured since Falmouth and completely knows where I’m at right now. He gets it.)

Then I get off. Griff and Tyler come back and tell me they closed their long run in 5 minute pace over hills. I sigh internally knowing I have a long way to go. But hey I got to run an hour, who cares it was on a treadmill! Steps are steps. Miles are miles. Who knew a treadmill could do so much for me?!

Thanks for reading.

Here is my last week of training (12/6-12/12):

Sunday: AM: 20 min spin+ 4 miles Alter G @75%   PM: MLS Cup

Monday: AM: 8 miles Alter G @75%   PM: 1 hour aqua jog

Tuesday: AM: 9.5 miles Alter G @80%  PM: 70 min swim

Wednesday: AM: 9 miles Alter G @80%  PM: 50 min spin

Thursday: AM: 1hr 40min spin high rotation   PM: walk

Friday: AM: 9.5 miles Alter G @81% (6×90 seconds)  PM: 55 min aqua jog

Saturday: AM: 11 mile Alter G @75%

Total: 51 miles Alter G miles, 3 spin sessions, 3 aqua jog sessions

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