Sunday, September 5, 2010

Downhill Battles

People running at the 2007 20 kilometer road r...Image via WikipediaI am less than three weeks out from my first half marathon and my right knee is giving me lots of trouble. It's okay for five miles, then it starts to hurt. I've noticed the pain always starts when I'm running downhill and lessens when I run uphill. After weeks of repeatedly running uphill to build endurance and speed, it would figure that the downhills would do me in. I don't think I have enough time to fix it before my races, so I guess I'll be the only one running hard uphill and jogging as slow as I can downhill.

Off-season training should be interesting. How can I run downhill on my treadmill?

Life seems to be a downhill battle lately. I have had a hard time grounding. Even long runs, which always seemed to bring me down to earth, haven't settled me down the past couple of weeks. When I try to sleep, I am either having very strange dreams or I am laying in bed wide awake, buzzing with energy, but without the strength to sit up. It's all I can do to roll from one side to the other. I've tried cutting back my training, thinking it was muscle fatigue, but it made no difference. Yoga helps me ground a bit, but it doesn't last. I've been trying to meditate as much as I can and, while I can sit for 30 or 60 minutes at a time, once I move back into the day-to-day stuff I start to buzz again.

It would be great if I could focus all this energy on my to-do list, but it's very scattered and I find it difficult to do even small household tasks without getting tired. The excess energy isn't making it into my muscles. It just makes static in my head.

Tristan's Occupational Therapist has been working with him on "slowing his engine down." We've been giving him crunchy and chewy foods, practicing push-ups against the wall and sun salutations, and compressing his joints every night before he goes to sleep. He had a successful first day of school. I breathed a big sigh of relief when he got off the bus with a smile on his face. Now I hope he will have a successful second day and not start his own race downhill.

The problem with downhill is you get rolling and it's hard to slow down. It's great when you're racing, but life's not a race. There is no finish line at the bottom of the hill, just the valley before the next climb and, looking back, lots of things you missed while you were flying down at full speed. I'm going to take it easy on my knee so my first half marathon won't be my last, even if it means finishing last. I'm going to continue to try to ground my energy and focus on tasks for short bursts so I can slowly accomplish what I need to. And I'm going to try to guide my son so he can slow down and not miss out on everything there is to learn in second grade.

Now, if I could just get one good night's sleep...
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