Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That Fine Line

A couple of weeks ago, I started feeling some tightness near the back of my knee. It was an odd pain, and it worried me a lot! So I went in to see the trainer, and he diagnosed it as basically a muscle strain. Lucky for me, by icing and backing off a bit on my straight running mileage - getting in to the pool one day, biking a bit more than usual - the pain has pretty much gone away.

The aches and pains of training, though, got me thinking about the fine line I myself and most other runners (especially those w/ high mileage!) train/live/walk(run) on. Knowing how much is too much is something that has taken me so long to come to grips with. Finally, nearing the end of my collegiate career, I have *mostly* come to grasp the concept of being SMART about training and about life as a runner. At the beginning of my running career, overtraining was practically my middle name. I was seeing gains, so I just kept doing more and more and more. Finally, over time, I have learned that if you cross over that line, that is, if you start overtraining, it's going to come back and bite ya in the butt.

I'm not writing this entry today to dwell on my past. Plenty of things I did as a runner in the past couple of years were stupid, but is there anything I can do about that now? No. Live and learn and move on, and that's what I'm doing this season. I finally requested the help of our strength and conditioning coach to make sure I'm not doing too much in the weight room. I finally heeded my coach's suggestion to listen to my body. (I am SO thankful everyday for how patient he's been with me!) I asked my Mom to make me a cookbook of recipes to have on hand so I can continue to improve my nutrition- eat balanced/get enough of the fuel I need to perform at my best! I have stuck to a strict foam rolling regimen and try to get bi-weekly massages to help with recovery. I have learned that once you get to a certain level, it's paying attention to the little things that truly matters to ensure you can keep making gains.

So am I perfect? Have I learned it all as a runner? Psssh, not even CLOSE! But have I matured as a runner, and even as a person, within even the last few months? I certainly like to think so.

When I ran that race at Stanford, ran against Division I competition, ran a huge PR, and even witnessed Lisa Koll make history with that 10K, that fire inside of me, that passion for running, began to burn brighter inside of me than ever before. That passion for running is certainly brighter and more present than it's ever been, and I look forward to continuing to FUEL that passion. (Yes, Steph Perleberg, I'm following your advice! ;) ) I love the challenge running brings every single day. I love all the websites devoted to running and the community of runners on Twitter, on blogs, on Facebook, that can continue to be a part of my life and again, fuel that passion. I love my teammates and the way my final cross country season has gone thus far. (***Sidenote: St. Norbert Women's XC team is ranked in the USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Rankings for the first time EVER, debuting at #8!) I am blessed beyond belief to be able to have so many ways to fuel my passion for running, and as I previously stated, I cannot wait to continue on the path I stumbled upon 3 1/2 short years ago.

I've found myself thinking a lot about my future lately, but again, I am taking the advice of many wise folks and doing my very best to focus on the present, the here and now. As I stated in my last blog post (which sadly was a month ago!), I have a team very capable of winning Conference and going beyond that, to qualify for Nationals. We're making history this season, and that alone is more than enough to put my focus on this team, right here and right now, Fall 2010!

Back to the title of this post, that fine line, I guess I just wanted to express my continual battle with crossing that "fine line" -- that inner voice that tells me, "you need to do more to get ahead!" Even though I have matured in the past few months, it's still a battle I face and probably will continue to face forever more. It's just my nature! (the "if a little is good, a lot is better" mentality is sort of a family-inherited way of thinking :-/ ) BUT, by focusing my attention on things like my internship, on stretching more instead of doing more cardio, and on spending time with roommates and teammates instead of more time in the weight room, I have become smarter and believe that I can continue to stay on the right side of that "fine line." I know this feeling, this passion I have for running right now is a feeling I don't ever want to go away, and I believe a big part of this special feeling is because I have matured/gotten smarter as a runner and as a person.

Sorry if parts of this post have gotten redundant; I guess I just want to make it a point that I'm proud of how I've matured, especially in the past few months, and how it's been a long journey since I first began running but that I cannot wait to see where this journey continues to take me.

Till next time... Happy Running -- don't forget to heed @stephmperl 's (yes, please follow her on Twitter, she's amazing!) advice to FUEL THE PASSION ... and please, stay on the correct side of that "fine line". Listen to your body - it'll get you much farther in running, and in life!

Stay positive, my friends! Here's some quotes to go along with my post today :)

"Don't frown. You never know who may be falling in love with your smile!" :]

"Good things come slow - especially in distance running."
- Bill Dellinger, Oregon coach

"If someone says, 'Hey, I ran 100 miles this week. How far did you run?' ignore him! What the hell difference does it make?.... The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles." - Bill Bowerman

"I run because it's my passion, and not just a sport. Every time I walk out the door, I know why I'm going where I'm going and I'm already focused on that special place where I find my peace and solitude. Running, to me, is more than just a physical exercise...it's a consistent reward for victory!" -Sasha Azevedo

"You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance but not through pain." - Dr. George Sheehan

~Jenny... a.k.a. KnightRunner :)

Race Update: Private College Championship at our HOME COURSE in Green Bay this weekend!!! Should have a very good shot at sweeping the meet (as in, both men & women should take home the team titles!!!)

13 comments:

  1. Nice post Jenny! I'm so glad to see you are gaining perspective on listening to your body and realizing that in some regards, sometimes less = more in terms of better performance. And you will see by doing this that your running will only improve with age! You are already ahead of the curve by realizing that you are not invincible. I just wrote a post about this the other day. Best wishes in this weekend's meet!! Happy running!!! :-]

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, Jenny! There is always more to learn about the little things in running. Congrats on your season so far and good luck in the upcoming championship part of the season!
    ~Heather Jelen

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  3. Dang J! I knew you were into it but wow! This is truly inspiring me. I'm gonna have to pick your brain now. I was thinking of running with you next time I come to the WI but forget about it, you're on a whole other level!!! @ontayjohnson

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