Sunday, August 1, 2010


In my post about my 20th mile, a commenter (ac) points out the quality of having patience.

One ingredient that is going into my fitness plan this time around -- after many stumbles, falls, false starts, etc.. which I have already described -- has been, and must be patience.  Every time I look back at why I "failed" at my last attempt to get myself out there, I come back to the awareness that I lacked patience.  And that is why I have chosen to be patient this time.

Last year -- I think I wrote about this already -- I made a plan to build up my running (after a couple of other "failed" plans in the last 5 years).  The plan seemed very conservative and realistic.  It seemed to give me plenty of latitude, plenty of time to gradually build.  It seemed like such a patient plan.

But when the plantar fasciitis first started to creep in to the scene, I was not patient with it.  I had made a goal of running in the Disney 1/2 marathon. I gave myself a whole year to prepare.  Surely that was reasonable!  Surely that would work!  A whole year!  This plantar fasciitis thing just didn't figure in to the plan. It wasn't in the plan!

But the big mistake I made was putting a time constraint on what I was trying to do.  I had signed up for the Disney 1/2 marathon to motivate myself.  Everybody in my family of origin had all run that race (as well as the Disney marathon and others).  I just pre-decided it would be the perfect plan.  Sign up for it the year before, choose a training plan for a 1/2 for an absolute beginner, use the run/walk method.  It all seemed so right.

But that darned plantar fasciitis spoiled everything.

But here's where the lack of patience came in.  I just didn't want to stop running.  I wanted to stick to my pre-conceived plan.  So I just kept building my miles.  The plantar fasciitis kept getting worse and worse.  I tried all these compromises -- anything but stop running.  I had gotten up to run 2 minutes, walk a minute.  I cut it back to run 1/ walk 1.  I ran slower. I tried to change my form.  I kept my long run the same mileage for several weeks. I took a day off here and there to see if it would just heal enough.

I discussed it with my husband over and over again. I wanted to know if he thought there was a way I could heal the plantar fasciitis while running. "If only you didn't have the pressure of this 1/2 marathon you were training for," he said, "you might be able to work out something where you could heal without stopping altogether.  But you have put this time constraint on yourself."

None of the compromises worked.  In the end I was forced to stop completely because the foot got so bad that I couldn't even walk any more.

This might not be true for everyone, but for me, my own running journey, the message for me right now is that I must not have a preconceived idea of where this is going.

I have signed up for a couple of 5Ks, just in case.  I had even signed up for the Disney 1/2 again, just in case. But none of the little events matters a bit.  What matters right now is paying attention and just enjoying every step of what I run.  It doesn't matter if it's slow. It doesn't matter if it's far. It doesn't matter if I have to keep running my barefoot mile for many months.  It just matters if I am discovering with each step what my body wants to do. My body will tell me when it's time to do something else.

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