Just 10

As I mentioned in my last post, I am battling an injury, which is near worst case scenario when you are training for a marathon. I wasn’t too freaked out about it going into this week’s long run, because it was just 10 miles.

Now, I hadn’t been able to run seven miles a few days before and the four I planned for a light day Thursday turned into a painful three, but I figured I could do at least 10 miles. So, I got up on Saturday morning to meet the Team World Vision for our weekly group runs with some pain in my knee. I had iced it several times the night before and carefully wrapped it with an under layer of IcyHot the morning of the run, praying that the pain could be manageable for just 10 miles.

I arrived at the park with the other runners, mostly clad in the team orange and blue colors, and did some light stretching waiting for the run to begin. Just 10 miles, I kept saying, I can do 10 miles on a bum knee.

Rusty, one of the Chicago Team World Vision coaches, started off the morning by asking how many of us, at some point in the week, had said, “oh, it’s just 10 miles.” Um, me. He went on to say that at one point 10 miles was a big deal for us and is likely a big deal for a lot of people, but now we’ve been blessed to see it as something easily accomplished in a few hours on a Saturday morning. He is right, there was a time when 10 miles seemed forever and almost undoable, but now I toss it around like it’s as little as 3 miles. Even on a bad knee, I can do what many can’t.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am incredibly hard on myself and rarely celebrate my successes and accomplishments as I look to what I haven’t done or got. It’s not the best outlook.

I haven’t had the best attitude about this marathon and this injured knee hasn’t helped. I keep thinking about all that is left in this training and the all hard work that I still need to do. One missed workout will put me so far behind, I worry. All these thoughts only stress me out and rob me of the joy (yes, there is joy) in marathon training.

Just 10, I kept telling myself through each painful stride. I found a new running buddy and, while our conversation kept my thoughts occupied for much of the run, I was tempted to drop out around the six-mile mark. Everyone would understand, I thought. It would be the smart move. It’s just a 10 miler.

We stopped and I decided to readjust my bandage to higher up my leg. I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s not a bad knee, but a stressed IT band that’s causing the problem behind my knee. Sure enough, wrapping my thigh held the pain in place and my knee felt fine for the last four miles. The IT band hurt, but it seemed much more manageable than the knee. I finished the four miles with pain, but more confidence in how to handle the issue. I didn’t run today and my IT band is tight, but the looming fear that this is something bigger has dissipated. I feel confident that with some rest, icing and foam rolling, my left leg will be back to 100 percent soon.

I ran 10 miles Saturday and, even though I had treated it as such, it wasn’t just 10. It was a big 10 for me. I met a new friend. I was able to better understand my injury. And I was able to see that just because I ran 18 the week before 10 is a huge accomplishment. These are the times that running reminds me to be humble and to be appreciative. I can run 1,000 miles and still need those reminders sometimes. But that’s OK, because we all do and, for me, running is the constant teacher.

Besides the injured knee, which I realized halfway through is more of a strained IT band, I had a great 10-miler. I wanted to quit a bit after 5 miles, but decided to keep going. I had made a friend and we were running at a comfortable pace, keeping ourselves occupied over conversations on travel and service.

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