This is the general cycle of life for a college professor. For a small college guy like me, the semesters are a frantic time where deadlines are constant, lectures and labs are frequent, and individual attention to students is a personal priority. All else gets pushed to the back burner for several months. Once the semester ends, time frees up and personal projects and hobbies (e.g., long distance running) are more easily attended to.
My tactic in the past has been to schedule a Fall marathon as a way to force myself to keep running, and then the 3-week taper allows me to justify a period of reduced running just as the semester gets really busy. As a new department chair, I knew that a Fall marathon would be unwise, so I opted to skip and wait until Spring before I tackled 26.2 again. However, this meant no taper, and no excuse for reduced running mileage. Given that the latter still happened over the past two weeks, and I'm in decent enough condition to run a solid half, I decided yesterday, the day before the registration deadline, to sign up for the Manchester City Half Marathon this Sunday. I've run the course 4 previous times, so I know it well, and although a PR was unlikely, I felt I could at least put in a decent run and get a solid workout. The prospect of a race always boosts my motivation a bit, and I was hoping that the half, combined with the final stretch of my semester, would get me back on track.
Jump to this morning. I was getting ready for work, and bent over to pick some clothes up from the floor. The world went white. My equilibrium instantly disintegrated. It felt like someone had shot me in the lower back. A fiery pain radiated from my hips down my left leg, and I could barely stand. Somewhat pathetically, and a fellow runner will understand this, my first thought was "there goes the half-marathon."
I think I scared my kids to death when I climbed the stairs to the first floor of our house. I was in agony, and kids aren't used to seeing their parents openly in pain. I made it up to my bedroom, my wife helped me lie down, and here I am, still in the same spot (there was no way I was making it into work for a cat dissection this morning - the commute alone would have been nightmarish).
Unfortunately, I know this injury well as it is the is the second time this has happened to me. Several years ago I strained the same spot while lifting my daughter our of the car. I never got diagnosed, but it laid me out for almost a week during the summer, hence my immediate realization about what this meant to my odds of racing this weekend. It feels like a strain at the sacroiliac joint, or perhaps in one of the lower back muscle attachments. I don't think it's a disc injury. It hurts. Bad.
Anyway, I felt the need to vent a bit, and it's been a long time since I've used this blog for a personal post. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far. It sucks to be an injured runner, especially when the injury didn't occur while running. It seems like such a waste of an injury - a picking up clothes injury. I can't even blame this one on shoes :)
On the plus side, maybe now I'll have time to finish that book...
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