Today, I broke.
Two weeks ago today I decided to train for a marathon that was just over 11 weeks away. I still cannot recall why. Maybe it was because I decided to buy a new pair of running shoes that day (Brooks Pure Flows) and was really, really excited. Up to that point I had been running primarily in Vibram 5 fingers and I was running mostly the same route one to three times a week, a short trail near my house that took about 30 minutes total. I remember the day I bought the Vibrams, at the parking lot sale of shoesurfing.com. I was excited to try a new approach to running and I ended up really liking them. People would stop me on the trail and ask what i thought about them. I described it as being akin to climbing a wall with gloves on vs. mittens. It just felt less constricting when on a trail (I only used them on trials). You could curl your toes and feel the nuances of the ground. However, feeling the nuances of the ground is not always a pleasant experience. Nevertheless, I loved the Vibrams. On the rare occasion when I went road running, I would lace up an old pair of Asics trail runners. They were heavy and worn but they were what I had been using for years.
Then, I ran into a friend of mine at the Cal Poly track who told me how Brooks and several other companies were reengineering shoes to have less of a drop from the heel to the toe, in order to simulate a more barefoot style. That is why I bought the Pure Flows. Concurrently with my purchase I started reading Born To Run and began to drastically change my running style. And for two weeks I was in the zone as I ran upwards of 55 miles while starting a vegan diet. And then today happened.
I was planning to go on my usual 6.5 mile loop from my house to the Felsman trail and back. Well, just over one mile into the run I felt a sharp pain in my lower calf muscle, as if the tendon holding it to the bone was ripping. So I stopped immediately. The injury made sense. Ever since changing my running style to a more mid-foot strike, I had developed sore calfs. A heel strike takes the pressure off the calfs, but the mid foot strike puts pretty much all the pressure on them, and it was finally catching up to me. The thing is, I thought I had built up those calf muscles after so much time on the trail with the 5 fingers, but apparently not. I was devastated. I walked home, head hanging low. However, along the way I discovered two pineapple guava bushes teeming with fruit. A small consolation.
This is the main reason I have not done anything competitive since the 1996 Wildflower triathlon. My zeal seems to get me into trouble. I over-train and hurt myself and then cannot hold back. I am really heartbroken.