No pain, no gain. That little saying does not fit my style. Actually, I think it is the philosophy of idiots who go a little overboard when it comes to fitness. Two days after my first marathon (just last week), I experienced some pain. Yep, my left foot just all of a sudden decided to kick in the pain (no pun intended). There was absolutely no warning and when I woke up on that particular morning I felt back to normal. My muscles appeared to be functioning properly again and I was ready to hit the pavement running. Then that dang foot acted up. It decided it didn’t want me to feel good anymore. I tried to “show it” and go for a light jog. That jog turned into a limp jog and then into a staggered walk. Boy, was I irritated! How could this happen right before my event? Okay, Heidi, just breathe. The pain will go away soon. The next day I hopped on the treadmill and didn’t make 3 miles before I had to stop because the pain became too much. I remembered an article that talked about pain that you could work through and pain that you should rest for. Well, I couldn’t find that article so I had no idea what I should do. Did I really need someone else telling me what I should do? Yes, it appeared that I did so I e-mailed my running coach.
I already knew what she was going to say. She gave me the advice that I didn’t want to hear. She told me to RICE it. For you non-athlete types, RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Then she had to tell me to refrain from activity until the following week. Are you kidding me? So, there I was attempting to just go for a walk. The pain was still there. Then I started actually thinking like an intelligent person. Why are you walking on it if it hurts? Are you an idiot? Do you want to stay home and miss the marathon because of your ego? No. Absolutely not. Let me tell you, I had a relaxing Christmas Eve and Day. I didn’t even do any cleaning because I figured that would count as “activity.”
So, come Sunday, I was feeling fine. My foot was pretty much back to normal and I was ready to hit the pavement running with my buddies. So, we met at 7:00 am (yes, we actually got to sleep in). Well, when we stepped out of our cars we were sideswiped by the blistering winds. The wind chill was below freezing and we looked at each other like we were crazy to even consider running in that weather. We almost made the decision to go home, but then our egos kicked in (it appears that the ego sometimes causes problems) and we said that we had to run even if it wasn’t the full 12 miles. So I suggested the route that would somewhat shelter us from the 16 mph winds and we were off. Did we warm up? Not really. It took us about 3 miles before we came to our senses. We were risking catching pneumonia 2 weeks before the marathon. Therefore, we made the smart choice to turn around and managed to get 6 miles completed for the day without checking into the hospital.
Now tonight was all ours. The temperature was perfect and we were all feeling great. I thought about how awful those last 6 miles of our first marathon were and I decided to push it hard. No pain, no gain? Not quite. I just worked harder than usual and had to breathe a little more and pump my legs a little faster. There was no pain involved. Just a bit of intrinsic motivation to keep me going. Seriously folks, you just have to listen to your body and it will tell you what you should and shouldn’t do.