That's how long it's been since I've run over 3 miles. During those 32 days I've run less than 10 miles total, and no more than 2.6 miles at a time.
I've taken the time off. I've iced. I've stretched. I've foam rolled. I'm even going to see a sports med doc - voluntarily. For someone who avoids doctors at pretty much all cost, that was a big decision.
We're slowly but surely uncovering the issues, what looks to be a combination of ITBS and runner's knee, and addressing them accordingly. I've had many a finger shaken at me for not stretching enough, not foam rolling enough and primarily for not incorporating enough strength training into my workouts.
My frustration at this point is in a lack of progress. Yes, baby steps have been made. Yes, I should be pleased that I did get in a 2.6 mile run, and that it takes longer for the pain to start than it did before. But there's still pain, and every time I run I'm all too aware of just how my knee feels with every step before the ache begins and almost immediately becomes too much to run through.
Ask nearly anyone I know and they will tell you that when it comes to patience, I have a whole heck of a lot of it. And I do - just not when it comes to my expectations for myself and my goals.
I follow a lot of awesome runners, and normally I eat up what they have to say via Twitter and their blogs as fast as possible. Instead, I've barely looked at Feedly in the past month and scroll past their tweets about gorgeous spring running weather, upcoming races and PRs.
It has become palpably painful to talk, read, or imagine running... and yet I do it anyways because it's become such a big part of my life and I want it back so badly.
Watching the running community rally around each other post-Boston was awe-inspiring. It renewed my love for the sport and its athletes. And yet while everyone was all, "Let's run for Boston!", I felt like the little kid limping along behind saying, "Hey guys, wait for me!".
It's actually embarrassing at times how absurdly dramatic I feel, and yet the frustration and axiety feel all too real to push it away. Running is my outlet. I've achieved more than I ever thought possible through the sport and I've never felt happier with myself. I could talk about it for hours, and I don't think there are many better feelings than the accomplishment you feel after a hard long run or race, or introducing someone to running and watching them fall in love too.
Now? I see all these people out enjoying this gorgeous spring weather that has finally bestowed itself on Boston and it literally makes me cry with jealousy. No, but literally, I've cried in my car passing people out for a run. How's that for pathetic?
I know there's always more I could do. Maybe take a few weeks off entirely. Ice, foam roll or stretch it just a bit more often. Add swimming into my workouts to cross train, or commit to a stronger strength training regimen. What can I say? It's hard to commit to the unknown and stay positive when you're frustrated and feel helpless that it will get better. What if it doesn't?
Tonight marked PT appointment #5. The result? No running, at all, for a week. The combination of the harsh treatment and my trying too hard to get back to it is clearly not working well - so I get to rest. What I feel like I've been doing for the past month.
Each time I go I grind my teeth and temporarily stop breathing while my good friend Graston works out my IT and quad.
Each time I go I tell myself the pain will all be worth it and that maybe, just maybe, after I ice it and stretch for a day, I'll go out for another run and everything will be fine. I'm talking blue skies, rainbows, unicorns and running for miles and miles with no pain.
Unrealistic, yes, but I've got to hold onto something right?