Never Give Up, There Is Always A Way!

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.” That is one of the most motivational quotes I have ever read and of my favorites. It is so fitting for those rough days or times when things just are not going right. Let’s face it, there are many days when we could pack it in. I lecture my clients often that if it is important enough you will find a way. If something is important enough it will change your mindset.

This past Saturday I dealt with just that thought process. I was working with a long time client of mine. From way back when she started with me many years ago we knew she would one day need a knee replacement. Actually she would need two. So we have always modified the exercises based on how she was feeling, what she needed, and what exercises we needed to avoid.

We are a little less than a month before her second knee replacement surgery. We need to work around the issue but we really want to make sure that she is keeping her legs strong ahead of surgery. After her first surgery she was still so strong that she was way ahead of the curve in regards to recovery. The two of us had to find an exercise that would allow us to maintain her strength. Even her PT was impressed!

I came up with a new use for my cable weight stack. We have been using it for about the last three weeks. It has been great training option for her as any knee dominant movement like squats, lunges, step-ups, etc are difficult and painful. We have been doing forward and backward walking while using a triceps rope handle. It has been an awesome way to train.

I really like the fact that we can walk and pull going both forward and backward. I feel this maintains an optimal muscle balance, and hits the glutes, quads, etc, without having to use the movements mentioned above that aggravate the symptoms.

While this is not a perfect alternative to direct knee dominant and even hip dominant (kettlebell swings, deadlift variations,etc), it has been allowing us to get in a positive training effect. At the end of the day if you can walk away from any type of training you are doing with a great effect that is a win in my book any day. Never give up!

Happy Training!

Hitting Reset

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B,A,B, A. That was the ultimate video game code from one of my all-time favorite games, Contra, for the old Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. It provided you with 100 lives. Those extra lives were more than enough to get to the end and reach your goal. If only running were that easy. You could simply start right off where you died. At worst you could hit reset and start over.

Ok well thankfully and much less dramatically I did not die, so that is a plus! However my April training has in a sense died in its forward progress. I have had to overcome so many obstacles this year in my training that I have decided to not run in this year’s Connecticut Master’s Games. The last two years I had competed at the Games. This always the main race in my schedule and is usually one of my first which is only adding to my disappointment.

My April started off great! I was hitting some really great numbers in regards to weekly mileage, number of quality runs, and pace. That is until the week before Easter and we had  to help my wife get to Florida for work.  Kids on vacation, many of my clients away, new tires, an oil change and we were underway on our impromptu ‘family’ vacation.

I had many mixed feeling of this. Recently I had been complaining to my wife that we had not had a real ‘vacation’ in forever. Well now we were and not only that we were going to the Star Wars Celebration too! This was going to be an incredible experience I could share with my daughters. From lunch with two sets of aunts and uncles to an airboat tour this was going to be a busy trip.  However with the crazy hours my wife has to work there was literally no time to get any training in. I literally did run one mile.

This should have been my last big push before the Master’s Games. I really needed to get some quality speedwork sessions in on the track since that is where the competition is held. With the late Winter snows, local high schedule, and my daughter’s schedules, track workouts, my bread and butter have not been consistent

I got home from Orlando the Monday after Easter around 1:30am. As tired I was I dragged myself out of bed. I trained a client then went for an easy run. The goal was five miles but ended up being 4.30. I threw in a couple striders then headed home. I started to feel really tight in my right quad. I thought to myself, you did not run all last week why run faster than your easy pace? Well the next morning my quad bothered me even more. Fast forward to the weekend and between weather, local high school sports, and my quad once again there is no speedwork to be done.  This weekend brought more of the same as my daughter had a soccer tournament both days.

Factoring all these things in I have decided to not run in the Master’s Games. I am actually ok with it. I was leaning toward that decision on Sunday anyway. While at my daughter’s soccer game on Sunday there was a baseball game going on behind us on an adjacent field. I used to play on a softball team and even got to go play in the U.K. and Scotland one year. After that, I also began playing vintage base ball (yes two words in 1864 the year of the rules we followed). I stopped playing both once my daughter started playing travel soccer, I never wanted to miss any of her games. I thought I would miss it, but I never did. That is how I knew it was right for me to stop playing.

Oddly enough I feel the same now. I’m disappointed at losing the opportunity to compete but am totally ok with my decision.  I refuse to look back on the great trip I had with my girls to Orlando and the Star Wars Celebration with anything other than the joy and happiness I felt there. It was truly an experience I will never forget. That fact that I shared it with my daughters is even better. I was getting so focused on my training I was losing sight of the bigger picture, which was one of the things I blogged about in my “Everything I Know About Running I Learned From Start Wars” blog post, specifically #38.

What I will do though is hit reset on my training. Like those old school video games you could hit restart or revert back to your saved game. While I cannot back and start right where I left off I also do not need to throw out all my training and start over. I will be smart and ease back into it.

I have now set new goals. I have a Father’s Day race coming up in June, and will that as a tune up and springboard into some summer Cross Country races, and maybe I will still compete on the track this summer.  I have now had three weeks, one where I had no running at all, and two others with very reduced mileage and inconsistency.

My focus has been not on myself but helping my oldest daughter and her soccer team by filling in a bit in the coaching area. My other focus is on my youngest daughter who has been dealing with some challenges. We have been trying to work through them and rather than focus on my own running and victories I want to celebrate hers. 

I am now feeling mentally ready to take on my first real training in almost a month. I feel renewed mentally and physically. Today I find myself ready and looking forward to the miles! I believe I should have backed off my training earlier in the winter but that is neither here nor there. I am where I should be based on circumstances, with my feet pointed straight, my laces double knotted, and my Garmin trying to connect.