Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not Really Running

The past three months have been pretty terrible with regard to my running.  Terrible in the sense that I haven't really been doing much of it.  I first felt some (extremely mild) pain in my right shin back on January 11th after a track workout the previous day had clearly tightened up my posterior tibialis a bit.  Over the next couple of weeks it gradually worsened little by little, but I figured my taper before the Rocky Raccoon 100 would loosen it up.  Strangely, the reduction in running almost seemed to make it worse and on my short 30min jog the day before the race it was probably the most sore it had been yet.  The shin was barely a worth-mentioning issue during the race itself (100 milers have a way of eventually making everything hurt), but--despite all kinds of treatment--it has almost completely sidelined me in the ensuing months--obviously looooong after any other race-related soreness/twinges were hindering me.

This has been rough--as being injured for extended periods of time always is, mentally and emotionally--but in my final semester of course-work for my masters degree I have been plenty busy with serving as a teaching assistant, and, in the last couple weeks, tending to my own end-of-the-semester exams and projects, which has required me to focus my energies elsewhere.

My desire to blog has always been a tenuous one.  This blog is designed to be almost exclusively about my running, and there are always whole aspects to my life that shouldn't and won't ever make it onto these pages.    Anyone who is interested about my initial purposes for blogging can easily go back and read my first post. Back then it was for very personal, even selfish, reasons that caused a certain amount of cognitive dissonance even in my own head as a blog is a very public space.  But so it goes.

Over the past couple of years I've realized that maintaining a blog isn't such a personal thing as one might first think and that it is actually a very rewarding means by which to connect with others, share, and hopefully inspire and impact the community in a positive manner.  I say it a lot, but running often feels like a very selfish activity to me, however, sharing my experiences with other interested folks via this blog and others has become an effective way to hopefully contribute and expand the impact of my running experiences beyond just my own little world.

That said, this is a running blog, and if there is a lack of posting it is most likely because either

A) I'm injured and not running much, or
B) I'm running plenty but other responsibilities in my life have temporarily consumed the time that I would otherwise spend composing a post.  That is, actually living and doing will always take precedent--for me--over documenting and sharing on the internet.

The past month--or three months--has been a combination of both A and B.

On the bright side, running-wise, things have been looking slightly up over the last couple of weeks.  I'm up to a daily whopping 5mi run with a ~1000' climb and am even feeling confident that tomorrow I might be able to bump that up to the 1500'/1hr outing that Flagstaff Mountain here in Boulder offers.  While certainly better than not running at all, I hardly find these skimpy daily doses of dirt blog-worthy, so the content here will probably continue to be thin until my shin allows something more interesting.

With regards to racing, all bets are off until I am once again healthy and confident in my fitness.  I don't line up for an ultramarathon unless I feel I can do the event and the competition justice by delivering a meaningful best effort.  So, you won't see me at a starting line unless I'm confident in my ability to do that; if you do see me on a starting line, you can be sure that I feel ready to rip.  I think the biggest reason that I'm injured this time is because back in January I let my ego take over and prod me to cram in too much training in too short of a period of time leading up to Rocky Raccoon.  I am currently determined not to make that mistake again--instead, I hope to stick to the principles of gradual progression of mileage and reasonable overall training volume that facilitated my consistency for most of 2010--so there won't be a rush back to racing.

In the meantime, happy running, and I hope you enjoy this little slice of audio pleasure as much as I have been:



Until at least next week, back to the books.

59 comments:

Brett said...

After having to take 2 months off recently for an 'injury' (which turned out to be an easily correctable flexibility issue) and experiencing the roller coaster of emotions, I feel badly for you. The feelings of loss of control, lack of fitness/health, and an almost claustrophobic feeling...losing your identity. It was not fun. Best wishes to you that you can get this one nipped.

TIM CASAGRANDE said...

As a runner, I feel your frustration.
As a college student, I understand your precedent responsibilities.
As a fan, I say "We'll wait."

Der Scott said...

That's the best non-running running post I've read in some time. Also, I *really* like that song. Thanks for that!

The Dreamer said...

I don't want to say I know what it feels like to be injured because that sounds like I'm pitying you, which I'm not. However, I do know what it's like to be hurt and not run for an extended period of time and it sucks. In your case though, you are still able to inspire others to continue running or to reach their dreams. Like you stated, your blog does impact others, especially me. I've been reading it ever since I got interested in ultras this summer and just recently I've decided to move out to Boulder to do some trail running and to see if this ultra running thing is for me. Anyways, I hope you get healthy so you can continue tearing it up and being an inspiration to us all. Hopefully I'll bump into you sometime this summer out on the trails.

mtnrunner2 said...

Sorry to hear about the injury. I'm just getting off 3 weeks with zero running and that was bad enough... and I don't even compete to speak of.

To some extent it can serve as an opportunity to do new things, and that has kept it from being entirely negative.

Tigaj said...

The fact that your latest entry is titled "Not Really Running" is funny to me as for the last few weeks I've been sort of blogging my running exploits under the name "Tyler Really Runs." I hope you've gotten back into the swing of things since I have lapsed back into not running. Perhaps we share a karmic running pool.

Sean said...

Often times we lose what we think is most important in order that we might discover things about ourselves & the world we might otherwise have missed. Injuries create some serious soul searching times. God's blessings to you during this time.

Namaste

Lisa said...

Hi Anton,
As a new trail runner I really appreciate this post. I have this ridiculously active and romantic mentality that sets in when I read blogs that attract me. It could be anything- cooking, running, traveling etc. The blogger somehow becomes superhuman, a much better version of myself. I look forward to reading posts and then find myself disappointed when there are none.
I, of course know you aren't superhuman and it sure is nice to read a tidbit of how you live your life day to day.

I wish you the best finishing up your program and hope you heal well. Thanks for your post Anton!
p.s. I liked the music but I enjoyed the expressions of the singers even more. The guy on the left has such a cool, knowing smile on his face..

Jon Roig said...

Hey man... just wanted to say that I've really been enjoying the blog. Thanks!

ro6er said...

Sound advice on that last statement. Rest up, recover, work and try to embrace it all :)

Paco Escalante said...

Eiii, you are human!!!

I understand you. I've felt it sometimes but after this you will enjoy so much.

Trying to send energy from Spain.

Agiofws said...

I can't say i feel sorry, or even know what you are going through, but what i can say is that i'm doing less milage this year, not pushing my self to get the miles in each week. The effect is that my feet aren't sore anymore and i have more energy in my daily training or even when i go out for a long run... I just thought that, that advice would help. Maybe though i'm just lazy and my fitness is declining but thats better than feeling INJURED all the time. I think one has to recover totaly before going out for a workout again. That way you can give yourself some quality training that adds on to your general running fitness, and mentality... i hope you recover totally in time.

Footfeathers said...

The certain element runners of all abilities can share is the effect of an injury. Hope to see you line up "ready to rip" soon!
Tim

Vagabond said...

My favorite part about your blog is the new music that you often expose to me. Thanks!

JessiePants said...

Good luck with end of semester exams and such.
I know it's not much for mileage as you are used to, but at least it's something. Spring is a time for renewal and it sounds like you are doing just that. Thanks for you posts, no matter how often.

Barry Bliss said...

Tony, I know this blog is about running, but perhaps you would consider having a website where once a month or so you post an essay.
I remember reading where you were saying Al Gore's approach to the global warming issue was seen as counter-productive by some in the field.
An essay from time to time would be appreciated.
The thing you do of constantly reaccessing and realigning with reality in your training works across the board as you know.
As you also know, you have a gift for writing clearly and conveying ideas through words--as well as actions.
I agree. The living/doing comes first.
PS Nice video.

olga said...

Life always have to take priority over documenting, and yes, writing a post is pretty persoanl yet often inspiring (and never the same as journaling by hand). I hope that "A" reason will be out before you blink, and "B" reason will be a very successful one for the end of school.
p.s. I can't believe you had one comment back on your first post:) where did the time go?

Unai said...

Hi from Madrid. You are an intelligent person. I like the way you face life. take care and cycling is good for lungs too and maybe you can recover faster than runnnnning. all the best mate

Mike Alfred said...

I had a feeling you weren't running much. I'm glad to hear you're steadily coming back. I'll be in Boulder for four days next week for the first time this year and I'll dedicate my daily Green Mountain summit to your swift and full recovery. Don't ever forget how much you've inspired people like me in the running community to get out on the trails and run long. Your blog has impacted many more lives than you'll ever know.

Matthew Grund said...

Best of luck with your injury and your studies. Hope you are able to come back even stronger. It's hard to believe that you were injured at RR100. Every time you passed me, you looked very strong.

JCC said...

Tony - Does "all bets are off" include WS? With it be being only 2 months away, do you feel you will be able to build back enough fitness and confidence in time? Where is your mind at regarding WS? If you don't mind.

Vava said...

Of course, sorry to hear about your injury and wishing you a speedy recovery. Also, best of luck as you finish up your degree -from experience, a big relief when it's finally done (even if you love the subject matter as I did)!

clintkate said...
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clintkate said...

Sorry about the injury. But it will build patience, which in turn builds endurance.
Your still an inspiring runner, even while slightly sidelined.

I was wondering if I could ask you some ?'s about Running Logs for an article I'm working up.

Thanks.

Marian said...

There is an upside to your injuries. We get sweet music videos! :)

laurie said...

Being an ultra runner and being in grad school is rough! Come to think of it, I didn't run many ultras while I was in grad school. You still rock, regardless of injuries and busy-ness.

mountain mama said...

As a local boulder runner when I cant run for whatever reason its the magic of the mountains I miss the most.The quiet beauty and the connection to something beyond myself and running to the top of a mountain and feeling so blessed.Beyond the racing and competition this is what sustains me.I hope you are still finding this.This is what I enjoy most about your blog, your expression of these experience also as a fellow runner. Thanks for putting it out there.

Garrett Turbett said...

Sorry to hear about the injury. I've just emailed the race organisor for the 24hr race I've been prep'ing for for a year (since having to bail at 17hrs and 79 miles last year due to bloody urine) to say that I'm out. Same reason - got too cocky with training, ramped it up by 30% on last year, felt on top form... then broke down! Meanwhile, I've been on the spinning bike watching dvd's such as Indulgence. Thanks for the motivation to keep me doing something! Wishing you a quick recovery back to full fitness.
Garrett

Charlie said...

I hear the Kenyans take a full month off each year to recover. I could be wrong about this fact, but it seems that this month of not running would allow for maximum recovery. I've noticed other runners never plan for such a month off in their training, but it seems to work out that way due to injury.

Charlie said...
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Charlie said...
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Brian said...

Personally I'd suggest entering some small events that are under the ultra marathon distance..... just because you can't get out there for the longer runs doesn't mean there isn't still lots of running enjoyment to be had.

Andy said...

It's amusing how so many readers can "relate," but I doubt many can imagine what it must be like to go from ~200m/wk to ~25m/wk. I won't be brash enough to give advice, other than to keep the long-range view combined with mindfulness on the present, with meaning and purpose in rest, studies, and shorter runs. Hey, the view of the high peaks must be stunning from the Boulder foothills!

brotherboog said...

Anton, I feel for your overwhelmedness and frustration. Can't touch the miles, but the lack of multi-million dollar endorsements and contracts in this sport that leave us all with our real lives in tact and very much rewarding and sometimes hindering is one of the things that makes this such a sweet community.
PS - just debuted my minimus...love em.

Go Trail Magazine said...

From all of us at Go Trail magazine here in South Africa, we just want to wish you all the best for your recovery and good luck with the final push through your end of semester exams!!

Look forward to seeing on that starting line up again soon!!

James

vince' said...

Good Luck, Anton! You can just come back stronger from that!!

I was nice to meet you at Albany few weeks back; thank you again for the autogrpahs: my wife loves them!

Don't forget to register for "le Grand Raid de la Reunion" next year ;-)

Vincent&Edith

Cloud said...

Jesus, Tony, I think maybe THE EUREKA MOMENT is upon us. You have so much goddamn talent and maybe now you're seeing that all that crazy mileage you were wracking up ultimately served to break down your body. The good news is that you're still young enough to pull it back together and enjoy your best years, which are still to come if you play it smart.

In all my years I've seen some amazing talents...and, Tony, you are up there on the list of all-time great talents. Plus you have the drive and discipline. If you cut your mileage to 120-140/week and added some pure recovery weeks in there along with better nutrition, I can't think of many runners who would have a snow balls's chance in hell at beating you.

Finally, sounds like WS100 may be off since it's only 7 weeks away. How about a return to Leadville? You could use Leadville to "reconnect" with yourself and do something great. Tony, like it or not, but you are kind of the face of Leadville. Come back to Pb'ville in 2011 and give her one more go.

Cloud

I may flame like shit sometimes but, deep down, I'm your friend.

gene said...

I enjoy the blog! Hope your recovery goes well.

von said...

I agree with Cloud. You have a huge talent but you don't know how to train right. If you would train smarter i.e recovery weeks, proper nutrition, and get a coach you would be unstoppable. Three things i always remember to help guide me:

1. it's better to be 20% undertrained than 1% overtrained
2. when in doubt, leave it out
3. when you are feeling like superman it's time to back off the training and take a rest week.

-V

Ian said...

Best of luck in your recovery and schooling. I hope to see you dominate at least one more race this year. As far as your personal life on this blog goes, you give us plenty.
Thanks Tony.

leegrantham said...
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Mr Buster said...

Je suis impressionné par vos performances sportives.
Vous ĂȘtes un grand coureur et peu importe les blessures,vous repartirez de plus belle!

Re-kreativne halucinacije: said...

So young!!

Re-kreativne halucinacije: said...

So young!!

R. Logan Brooks said...
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R. Logan Brooks said...

Wow, it's amazing how a simple blog created by such a simple and mortal man can become what seems like a soundboard for thoughts and opinions which were never asked of.
I will begin by saying that 2 years ago I came across footage of Tony doing what he loves to do, running. But what drew me to this blog and what continues to draw me to his blog is his brutally honest descriptions of not only the trails and imagery that accompanies his daily runs but also his honest and humbling descriptions of himself and the complexities that complete him. I am not a seasoned runner, I do not know much about the nutritional advantages of this or that nor would I say that I am an expert on the intricacies of rest and recovery, but I do know that people run for many reasons. Tony obviously was given a gift and he chose to exploit that gift and through both hardwork and what seems like more importantly a true desire to run for the pure, primal pleasure of just moving, swiftly, effortlessly, he found peace.
What I have learned of Tony over the last few years is that it seems the greatest strenghth he has is not in his legs but in his heart. His competetive drive is not only what suits our "daily doses" for our sometimes selfish desires, but it also has kept him in the only environment it seems that can satisfy him, nature.
I commend Tony for not only running for a living and living the life that alot of us "experienced" runners are too busy to ever dream of but also for the ideals which he always seems to exemplify.
Remember, when you leave your doorstep for a 68 mile run up and over a handful of 10,000ft peaks with just shoes(sockless, ofcourse), a water bottle, a key(I'm assuming), and a pair of shorts, I think the last thing that you are worried about is making sure all the nutritional and technological gadgets that are available in life are plugged into his body and mind.
Continue to run Tony for just that, to run.

Tony, hope to see you soon on the beaten path.

Aaron said...

Nice seeing you out on the trails again today Tony. You have shaped my view of the trails around here in many ways, and this may sound odd, but it was kind of like an integral part of the mountain was missing when you weren't out running it every day. I hope you continue to recover and feel back to normal again soon.

Barry Bliss said...

Half the reason I dare walk the 9 miles to work some days (I have moved) is due to Anton's example.
This ain't just about putting on a number once a month and running for time.

Jeffrey Noel said...

Too cliche, but will say it again... Form is Temporary, but Class is Permanent.

Very best of luck with recovery and hope someday I can experience running with you, even if it lasts only 0.1 mile. Thanks for the blog/vid!

Jeroen said...

Hi Anton,

inspiring weblog and nice music :)
Although I think your knowledge about running and injuries will be better than mine, maybe this can be of use: http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/0161-shin-splints-treatment.htm
I both switched to minimal running + I started to do the exercises from the article daily so I don't know which one contributed to solving my personal shinsplints problems, but at least my shinsplints problems reduced by more than 50 percent!

Scott said...

thank you very much for the music introduction. very much enjoying the new music from we are augustines.

take care of yourself

R. Logan Brooks said...

Your music Tony can sometimes seem so directly symbolic of your life. It's a great feeling to have that kind of relationship with someone, something. Great tunes!

Dorian Grey said...

Well said on all accounts. Most roads, trails, and paths I run on in the mountains never take me on a straight journey. I often feel as though I am going back on myself but given time, patience and perserverance I get to the destination I want to be at. :)

Heart Rate Monitors said...

Hi Anton,

Would you be interested in doing an interview/featured profile with HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com? We're looking for running bloggers to highlight and think you'd be perfect!

Let me know if you're interested.
Thanks,
Mandy

heartratemonitorsusa(at)gmail(dot)com

ingemar said...

Injurys are never fun. You are smart to take the time off and wait for a full recovery instead of pushing it and ending up worse off. Maybe there is something else you can do like cycling to keep your legs moving. I'm sure the next post will be full of positive miles under your belt.

Plodding Blogger said...

Good luck on the road to recovery, Anton. You seem to have the right outlook and I have no doubt you'll be fighting fit again with a little time and patience. I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Patrick said...

Hey Tony question... What is that shoe you are wearing on the cover of this months Trail Runner??? Its not the MT10 or the MT101... Never seen that color anywhere...

Not Mercury Yet Still I Run said...

Anton what have you been doing in terms of re-habilitation. I have also been dealing with a problem with my right shin since February; at first I thought it was the shin itself but then it seems it is more of a ligament issue. It all started after a long run. Since then I have tried stretching, icing and taking it easy and switching shoes but wonder if there is anything else to do to aid in the re-habilitation process. If you or any readers have any words of wisdom on the matter it would be appreciated.
Not Mercury Yet Still I Run

LJ said...

Love this song and have been a fan of the other songs you have put up in the last few posts. I realize this is a running blog, and only happened to stumble upon it last night while using a search engine to check out some trails near Telluride. Your accounts make me miss living in Boulder all the more. Best wishes; what an inspiring blog to fall upon! -L