I did a non-rational activity today. Without training for more than three months after sustaining plantar faciitis, I attempted and completed one third of a half marathon today. At this moment, my legs are still aching and the hurt on my right foot tendon appears to have returned.
My original hope was to complete the half marathon if and only if I felt good today. Unfortunately, I was too optimistic. However, I learnt three important lessons today.
1. It’s ok to be last in a race – everyone’s running their own race and chasing their own personal best. Dont’ worry about them. Focus on yourself.
2. Listen to your body, if it hurts – take a break. There is a longer path ahead to conquer.
3. If anyone tells you something different from what your body is telling you, keep in mind that your inner voice is sometimes the better advisor.
I started off last in the run which I was not prepared. It was not the lack of stamina – my foot felt tender and stiff- and I was worried that the injury would return. Kicking off at a snail pace, I trotted along and had the supporters’ cheer. The trail began fine till I came to the concrete parts. I only planned to do perhaps one round and possibly extend if I felt fine. Each round measured probably 3.5km and everyone was supposed to do 6. Heading round the last bend of the first round, the first guy overtook me. I was happy to let him do that – a recurring injury was my foremost concern. As I completed my first round, the enthusiastic marshals cheered me along and I smiled and shouted “thank you!” in return. A race is never complete without volunteers and I am grateful for each and every presence.
As I stepped out in caution on my second round, I knew that I was stretching than my body’s limit. Despite taking little breaks to stretch my legs, I could feel the familiar faint throbbing as I covered the hard solid path. If I were fine, I had confidence to complete the entire run in three hours with the minimal swimming training I have been substituting with. However, I could not imagine my life without running for another year. I knew I needed to exercise discipline and stop before injuring myself again. My knees were experiencing sharp infrequent pain and they were little red flags. No one else knew I had an injury before and no one was aware that this was my first run for a long time. Only me. I had to put on the brakes for myself.
I am glad I did. Covering 7km in less than an hour was a good enough achievement for me today. It was not only a physical but also a mental fight. The route forward is long and challenging but no doubt challenging and will be satisfying. Question is, am I ready for it(yet)?