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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Runner's Luck

Do you use visualization to achieve your goals? I do. Some pretty amazing things I've dreamed of have come true for me in the past two years thanks to visualization. I ran the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and loved it so much that for most of 2012 I managed their social media. At the 2012 Farm to Table Conference I fell in love with local food and wanted to join the cause. This year I developed school assemblies, hosted a Lunch and Learn and was a vendor at Farm to Table! And in the spring of 2012 I decided I wanted to run a sub-48 minute 10K at Pittsburgh's Great Race. In late September, I crossed the line in 46:17, just as I had imagined.

Last year, I dreamed of sharing my love for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run as one of their social runners. And in November, I received the email that I had been selected.

All of these wonderful things seem like good luck. But I firmly believe that my process of selecting a meaningful goal, mustering my experience and knowledge and putting in the work - as well as visualizing my success- are all key factors. Not just luck.

My shrine, my inspiration, my focus.
But when things don't go my way, I always seem to blame bad luck.

The CUCB is two weeks away, exactly. I love this race. It has a very special place in my heart as the race that signified my return to being a runner, to being myself.

This year, I planned to run a sub-80 minute race. But now it's in doubt if I'll even finish the race.

I'm injured. And while the injury wasn't terrible, I couldn't run for four weeks.

Back on Feb 12, I did a lovely quick four miles in the evening. The next day, I set out to log 7 miles, with 3 miles fast in the middle. But my hip was hurting by the two mile mark. No problem, I thought. Muscle through it. I had LASIK scheduled for that afternoon and would have to take a week off of exercise anyway.

But when that week was done, and I went for my first run with laser-eyeballs, it still hurt bad. The next day the pain was worse. My ortho told me things I already knew. "Tight IT bands" and "short hip flexors" were familiar problems. But I had strained something new, my tensor fascia latae.

I began my recovery work at physical therapy. Two times a day I checked the box on foam rollers, hip stretches, side leg raises, clamshells, side planks, and glute presses. And I cross-trained like hell.

As my test run date neared, I grew eager. But then one of my children fell sick, then another. Their coughs echoed through our home, harbingers of my own illness. When my husband succumbed I truly knew I was doomed. We were both out of commission for a week.

This was some serious bad luck. That's all it was, right? Was any of this under my control? I contemplated this, frequently, when I tried to deal with my disappointment and tendency to blame myself for failing to stay injury-free, flu-free, and be in great shape for the race. It was out of my control. But if the bad stuff wasn't under my control, was any of the good stuff?

I've been cleared to run and I have two weeks to train. My PT and ortho have encouraged me to take it easy, run only three times a week.

An experienced coach told me I should not try and run the race. A good friend and training partner agreed. Two other people close to me, my husband and a great friend from college, think I know myself and I'll be just fine.

"You could run ten miles cold," my husband said. His confidence in me is a lighthouse in a storm of self-doubt.

Each run, I'm adding a mile. I'm keeping the pace easy and I'm hyper-sensitive to every twinge and ache.

Ultimately, the decision is up to me. I can choose to run the race or not, and only I will have to deal with the after-effects of my choice, good or bad. I'm visualizing success...and good luck.


  1. I think if you are currently running pain free, and are pain free after and the next day, you can definitely run and finish the race. I would no longer pursue a time goal, and just go for the finish. You didn't lose all of your fitness during your break, so I would stick to every other day until the race, and I would keep all training runs an easy pace. If that's hard for you to do mentally, leave the watch and home. (This is what I am doing for my marathon in April.)

    1. You're right. You're absolutely right. I am still running pain-free right now (knock on wood, pick up a penny, turn that horseshoe right-side up) and as long as I am pain-free on April 6 I will start the race on April 7 with the plan to finish!!

  2. "You could run ten miles cold," my husband said. His confidence in me is a lighthouse in a storm of self-doubt.

    1. Hi Jodi - do you have someone like that in your life?