Monday, August 22, 2011

Relapse Prevention and the Gambler

Cascade Crest 100 is approaching, it is this weekend.  And although I **know** I am doing the right thing by sitting this one out, it's becoming increasingly difficult to see myself on the sidelines.  I so much want to be out there running.  I keep telling myself what a good thing that is, that my desire and my passion for running is as alive as ever and the fact that I am chomping at the bit to race is a good sign.  I had been feeling so burnt out but kept pushing myself harder and harder to get the results I was looking for and things were falling apart.  This scenario brought great angst, confusion, frustration and wonderment in terms of why I was doing what I was doing and why I felt so compelled and driven to keep banging my head on the wall over and over again only to wind up with the same headache.  Finally I took the necessary step and changed my approach completely.  The change has been significant.  I am feeling healthier and healthier and stronger and stronger.  I am keeping fit and running just enough to keep some muscle memory there.  Last week I think I ran 17 or 18 miles total, and not all at once.  I had very minimal leg pain.  I decided to test things out further by riding my bike to the best yoga class ever; Jasyoga with Erin, on Sunday.  I have not been able to ride my bike without pain for well over a year now.  I hopped on my bike and rode gently to Fremont with no pain!  On the way there, I was feeling more optimistic than I have felt this whole 18 months and turned to Owen and said, 'um, maybe I could do Cascade Crest!'  It was a fleeting moment of excitement!  Then I thought, really....really....!?  I must prevent this relapse! I know I am passionate about running, and some say I have an addiction to running.  But I think that now that I have changed my approach to running and have taken a step back to heal and gain strength and confidence in what my body can do, I realise that it is my approach that is addictive and probably insane.  I had written a while back that I thought I might be insane for continuing to run with pain despite trying everything I could think of besides stepping back to rest the injury.  I would set out for a run and think, now this time, it will be different because this time I went to physical therapy, or this time I did ART, or insert action here.  Even after I wrote that post back in April, I continued to run and train in the exact same way.  I guess I am slow to make change.  However, now that I have made some changes and I see the progress, I still have to be conscious and refrain from my previous mentality.....keep on this path because it is much healthier for me and much more wise and I am happier knowing that this is the right thing to do.  So when I think about wanting to run Cascade Crest this year, in 5 days, I must remember to prevent this relapse in mental thought.  I thought to myself this morning as I was walking to work....what can be my motto right now to keep me true to myself....and I thought of the Kenny Rogers' song, The Gambler
Kenny say's:
You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,

Know when to walk away and know when to run.

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.

There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done
(keep it real says Kenny)
Basically, I need patience and smarts.  I gotta keep my fingers crossed! 
This weekend I did something pretty fun and quite different though.  I did the Great Urban Race here in Seattle with some fellow runners.  It was a blast running from clue to clue in pursuit of mummies at Ye Old Curiosity Shoppe, cupcakes, ballet steps and more.  I was once again anxious to do the event because I thought, oh damn, I'll probably slow everyone down because I will have to stop and walk.  But that did not happen, I ran the whole way with no pain. 
It was a fun day, with beer!


Olga said...

Made me smile the whole read! Girl, isn't it true, we are nuts, addicts, crazy sick people who are in love with one thing only, and we act on that! Withdrawal symptoms at their worst, and I watch Intervention show a lot:) Thanks for reminding me on patience, same back at ya!

JKjaer said...


I am sorry I am leaving a comment, I can't find your email (or name). I am writing you in the hopes that you want to participate in an e-book we are writing about ultra runners.

We want to tap into the collective craziness (we mean that as a compliment:-)) of this community to challenge and inspire other non-runners to make their own life an ever-greater creative expression of their own goals and dreams… without limits.

Progress so far: We have currently contacted more than 250 ultra runners and received more than 60 answers.

We would ask you to answer a question about your experience with ultra running. Please note that these questions are related to your mental state and require that you are able to explain quite specifically what is going on mentally when running.

If you'd like to participate please shoot me an email at


All the best,