Insomnia & Mystery Pain – It Must Be Race Week!
|February 24, 2012||Posted by Lauren under Running|
This weekend, I’ll be returning to Hyannis to run my first race of 2012. And until this past Monday, I hadn’t actually given much thought to the race at all. In fact, I sort of forgot that it was coming up so quickly. I signed up for the Hyannis Half awhile ago because I had such a great time there last year and figured it could be a fun race to mix up my training a bit.
But, since I haven’t really been thinking about it, I haven’t actually done anything specific to prepare. I haven’t changed my training and haven’t exactly been the picture of health when it comes to my eating habits this week either. Instead, I just kept telling myself that there was no reason to be nervous or stressed about the race at all, because the plan was (is) to do it as a training run.
But we all know how good I am about making a race into training run <sarcasm>. And if I’m being perfectly honest, I will admit that I want to run this race fast – or faster than last year, at least. Last year I ran this half through the snow, while battling a really bad cold and nasty congestion. I wasn’t expecting to do anything spectacular, and ended up with a new PR. A PR that still stands to this day.
Granted, I don’t do too many half marathons, and all of them have been in the midst of training for something else. But if I can run a 1:33:07 while sick, reason goes to show that I should be able to run faster when I’m not sick. It hasn’t happened yet, though. Either I’m not so great at racing half marathons, or my secret to success is racing while sick.
Anyway – I hadn’t really been paying attention to any of those thoughts swirling around my head. I’ve actually been refusing to acknowledge any and all thoughts about the race. You know…because denial is always the best pre-race strategy.
But then this week – the problems started. Insomnia and mysterious foot/ankle pain. And I’m starting to wonder if maybe (just maybe) I’m a bit more nervous about this half marathon than I’ve allowed myself to admit.
The insomnia thing is nothing new. Sleep and I have always had a troubled relationship. I’m not the type of person that can fall asleep anytime and anywhere without problem. I often have trouble sleeping anywhere besides my own bed, and go through phases a couple of times each year where sleep becomes more difficult than a 20-mile run. It stops coming natural and starts feeling like work. Of course, the cruel irony is that the more you stress about not being able to fall alseep, the harder it is to do so. I try to tell myself that lying in bed, thinking about how I’m never going to be able to fall asleep isn’t exactly doing myself any favors. But I repeat the cycle every night anyway. Instead of letting my body drift off, my brain somehow thinks that if it works hard enough, it can will my body to sleep. Because that makes a whole lot of sense, right?
I suppose here is where I should have a few bullet points to tell you what healthy things I’ll be doing for the next couple nights to make sure I get enough rest before Sunday. But honestly? I’m 99.9% sure there’s going to be some Nyquil in my very near future. Yes, it’s that bad.
Which brings me to the foot pain. On Monday, I noticed some pain in the arch of my foot and my ankle. It didn’t seem awful (feels like it’s bruised…although there’s no actual bruise that I can see), so I kept my run really short and figured I could stretch/roll and be good as new the next day. Except I wasn’t. And like the
smart stubborn runner that I am, I kept running on it anyway. You know, because if you run 8 miles easy instead of at the prescribed tempo pace, the pain will obviously go away. Right??
Yesterday, I finally came to my senses. Obviously continuing to run on something that hurts with every step (and especially when I take right turns…which I seem to do a lot. I think I need to start running in the opposite direction) is not good. And it certainly won’t help me race well on Sunday. So, despite the fact that yesterday was probably the nicest day of the year so far, I did not run. Instead, I took Koli for a 2.0 mile walk after work.
This is not from yesterday’s walk. But it is my dog.
Just kidding! I actually have no idea how far we walked. The point is, though, that I walked. I did not run. And last night I crossed my fingers and went to sleep (or at least attempted to), hoping the pain would be gone in the morning.
As you may have guessed…it’s not. I know I can’t be frustrated that things aren’t completely better after one day of rest, but since I don’t know what is causing the problems in the first place, it’s hard not to be. The plan for now is to cross train today and hope to take it on a short test run tomorrow. And if all else fails…that’s why they make ibuprofen, right? (Kidding!! ….kind of).
So those are my jumbled pre-race thoughts. No calm inspirational message…just focusing on trying not to freak myself out too much. I know that the tougher I am going in mentally, the better the race will be. And at the end of the day, this is supposed to be fun. Yes, I want to do well, but this isn’t a race that I’ve been working really hard toward for months on end. No matter what happens, there will be other races. And plenty of time to chase down that half marathon PR.
Now if I could just get some sleep….
Honestly – if you have any great sleep tips that don’t involve knocking myself out with nighttime cold medication, please share!