Thursday, April 15, 2010

Underuse Injury

A coffee and the croissant-of-the-week from TIBS. A relaxing, mellow and scrumptious way to start the day. And that croissant! Mwah! It was also, one suspects, the last oasis of calm for a few days. Firstly, is the news from TIBS barrista-par-excellence, Zane, that Boston is a "coffee wasteland". Then there is the reason I will be in Boston in the first place; the marathon.

There is, we are told. such a thing as "catastrophising", Don't think it's in DSM-IV, but if I go to the right health professional they can write a paper, nay a series of papers, on me and make a case for it's inclusion in -V. Catastrophising is over-emphasing injuries, aches and pains in the period immediately prior to a large event. I am catastrophising in spades. These can't be real injuries, aches and pains as they weren't there last week and I've take good care to stay off my feet this week. I've ridden a few times this week, but not far and definately not on fixed; my knees ache enough as it is. Still, I've even given up riding now out of a morbid fear of getting in a crash; marathons are hard enough without going swaddled like the Mummy.

So back to those injuries, aches and pains. I think they are more akin to what Stacy Juckett calls "underuse injuries", the host of little niggles you get when you stop training for any reason. It is as if your body does whatever it needs to do to help you train, and then when you stop, whatever protective (mental) mechanism(s) that have been put in place are removed and despite the drop in miles, it suddenly feels as though your body is falling apart. I remember once reading about the guys who run across America, logging at least a marathon a day. They said that the running wasn't so bad, but the rest-days hurt! Same here I reckon.

Some of the pains are real; my knees for instance are real. But the other sundry injuries, aches and pains that seem to spiral up and down my legs; they weren't there a week ago. Not the injuries, aches and pains that have appeared suddenly in my hamstrings, then the tib anterior, then the ankle then the gastroc and then back up again and repeat all week. The transient nature of the aches and pains, plus that they can't seem to decide what exactly is injuried, achy and hurt (is the hip? The calf? The ankle?) makes me think, makes me want to think it is, in fact none of the above (not all of the above). But still...

Endurance people tend to be Type As. Endurance sports need the goal-oriented, results and planning behaviours of the Type A; you can't just wake up one morning and do a marathon (or God help you an Ironman), you need that kind of driven Type A background. I have no idea if the trick cyclists have done a survey, but one suspects the Type As are also prone to catastrophising. I would imagine one of those disgustingly permanently happy cheery people would be all "oh, I'm going to Boston for the marathon, how wonderful, it's all going to be peachy and smilely; I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait, it's going to be incredible, weeeee" while jumping up and down and clapping their hands like a child given an ice-cream. But all the people I know are crying into their Gatorade saying "well if my joints hold up and it isn't too cold and I don't drop my gels then I might just scrape by and I hope I did enough 20 milers because that last one was kinda sucky and I haven't hit my times the past couple of weeks". Ironic, isnt it? The pysche gives with one lobe, and takes away with the other!

I thought that packing might help to distract my mind from the whole thing, perhaps a bit of positive action towards Boston would trump the passive agonising over it. So I hit up A1 and got my Boston socks...

Yup, those mesh Nikes again. Do you think the marathon will go better, will feel better, in bright, white, shiney socks? Probably not but it can't hurt can it? It rather pains me to wear Nike but these socks work and if it ain't broke, well you know. I know I could likely have bought them cheaper at the Expo on Saturday but that is one "likely" too many right now. Haven't come this far to be thwarted by a pair of socks! Plus, this way I can put everything I need together in one small pile...

...and put it into a bag which I swear won't leave my sight until we get to Hopkington.

Yup, all that training and it boils down to this, a singlet, a pair of shorts and the sneakers with the least number of miles on them stuffed into a freebie bag that came with a pair of shoes.



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