Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Push, Pull or Drag it In!

Remember those old car dealership commercials when the big voice would claim that they would take any old bucket-of-bolts car you had and give you $1,000?  The voice over would be covered with pictures of cars that looked like they had either been set on fire or spent a year or two at the bottom of a scum pond, All you had to do was tie a rope to it and drag it to the other side of town and VOILA!  You got a grand.   The last couple of weeks, I have felt like one of those cars.  But, not only am I the car, I am the guy pulling the rope too.

Ever since the foot tendinitis last month, it has been a backward domino effect.  Instead of dominoes falling down, barriers keep popping up.  I've been able to hurdle them, but it's making this process extremely difficult and tiring.  The tendinitis in my hamstring has stuck around as I expected.  With physical therapy twice a week, deep tissue massage and acupuncture not to mention my at-home exercises, the pain has been greatly reduced and the mobility greatly increased, but it is still there and has limited my ability to do fast, short intervals.

Last week, I started battling with insomnia.  Thanks to my life-long anxiety, this inability to sleep despite being completely exhausted has reared its ugly head in the past, but never during a marathon cycle.  First, I am unable to fall asleep.  Then, when I finally do fall asleep, the slightest movement or noise will wake me up and I am awake for the rest of the night worrying about falling back to sleep.  Much like the injuries, I am doing everything I can to clear this water pit.  Acupuncture is not only a great way to treat an ache or pain, but it helps with psychosomatic problems as well.  Lauren picked up some tea from the Health Food store in the neighborhood.  It's called Valerian Root and its key ingredient is found in Valium.  The tea itself is an all-natural herbal sedative.  It works wonders.  Unfortunately, it also smells like old running shoes.  We have to keep the box wrapped tightly in several plastic bags to keep the entire apartment from stinking.  Earlier this week, I made a double dose as I left work at 12:30am.  I got in the cab with it and the driver put the windows down.  It's not often you get in a cab in New York City and the offensive odor belongs to you.

Tonight, I drank decaf coffee after dinner, a beverage I have in the past referred to as "pointless".  I'll change my stance now.  Tonight, before I go to sleep, I'll dab some lavender oil on my pillow.  It may all sound crazy, but when you go 5 days without sleeping, you start to get desperate (also you hallucinate).  One thing I refuse to do is take a prescription sleep aid like Ambien.  I have heard too many Ambien horror stories and I don't want to find myself in the middle of the 24-hour CVS at 3am in my underpants.

Photo courtesy: Kevin Beganics

Every marathon cycle I have been through so far has had bumps in the road, but this one seems to have a pothole every couple hundred yards.  Why might that be?  It's a question I keep asking myself and it is one of the things I think about as I lie awake at night.  The answer is actually quite obvious.  I'm not training any harder than I have in the past and I am not working longer hours, but for the first time I am training with a very inconsistent life schedule.  I don't work the same days or the same shifts from week to week and the cumulative effect of that is clearly taking its toll.  The body likes a schedule and hates surprises.  Uncertainty and a certain amount of situational unhappiness that I won't get into on this forum are also playing a role.  Even though I use running as a therapy, the build-up of things I run to get away from (run away from?) also make running more challenging.  It's a Catch-22. 

 At first, I thought my insomnia was a sign of overtraining, but all of the other things that come with that are absent.  My last few workouts have hit the mark.  I still want to eat everything in sight. I'll clear this hurdle like the last few and I will push, pull or drag myself to Hopinkton.  Then, I'll run like hell to Boston.

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