I have been talking about my 2014 project which is to run 650 kms in Africa in October. I started programmed training last week. Was I nervous? Yes. Do I question my ability? Yes. Can I do it? Why not… other people have. Photo: Contributed My attitude has, and always will be to focus on the job at hand, but true to form, immediately out of the gate I get an obstacle – a pretty serious one. Last week I went for a run and felt my Achilles tighten up more than normal. I had given myself a mild repetitive strain injury it appeared. I slowed down, nursed it a little and carried on. In the back of my mind, I thought about last summer, when I struggled all summer long with an incredibly painful heel with a tendonosis/tendonitis type of injury. I was worried that I would struggle to train let alone do the run. (Note: please seek professional help when you injure yourself in any type of physical exercise!!!)
As is normal, I set my sight on the finish line, slowed down my pace, adjusted my running style to reduce the aggravation and then ran a few more 9-12 km runs. I could feel the injury but it felt in control. Then yesterday I went for a run with some friends and we ended up doing a sprint at the end of the run. I should never have done it but my competitive side got the better of me and sure enough I made the injury much, much worse. I could hardly walk all day long. The injury site was incredibly sensitive and I could not walk on my toes so I limped flat footed.
Today, I had a training run with the army and now I was really nervous. I had to keep up. What would the group be like. Could I even walk tomorrow? I stretched gently in the evening, negative thoughts running through my head and then finally I went to bed and said, “Tonight my heel will heal.”
I got out of bed and could not believe that I was walking normally. It was 5:30 AM. The temperature was cold and our instructor showed up, all 6’1” of him! That could only mean one thing – long legs.
He exclaimed we were going to jog to the gym for some cross fit. How bad could it be? The gym was about 2-3 km away. When he left, all I could do was wonder how long I could go at his pace! He was flying. I quickly calculated how far I could run with a very painful heel and believed I could make it to the gym no matter what.
Well I did. I made it back again too, and to boot, much younger people than me were dropping off the back not able to keep up the pace. My heel was fine! It all goes back to a saying I heard from Ultra-marathoner Ray Zahab. Ninety percent of the struggle is mental, the other 10% is in your head. He is right. I could have quit so many times. Here I am 15 hours after that run, looking forward to another one tomorrow and accomplishing my goal of going the distance in Africa.
Keep your focus on the future!