One of my newest running buddies is from the UK and he has bestowed upon me a new phrase to use for such minor aches: "niggles." He is an ultra-runner and it is apparently quite the norm to have the constant companion of niggles while training for a 100 mile race (still having trouble wrapping my mind around such a distance). I suppose there is almost no way to run that far without minor or major discomfort of some kind and one just needs to get used to it.
What a bother though, when the niggles arise out of nowhere on a run! A perfect run ruined by an eruption of weird pangs. If a niggle has persisted for more than a few minutes I always ask myself, "How serious is this?" But usually by that point I have to run home anyway and will surely find out over the course of the next few miles if it is indeed a true bother. If it has persisted for a few days I usually try to get more aggressive in my response with some ibuprofen, more intentional stretching, and maybe, just maybe, some icing of some kind (all of the ice baths during the collegiate years have helped me to learn to dislike the feel of ice - I need to get back in the habit).
Usually what ends up happening is I find myself amazed at the bodies ability to heal itself, even while continuing to stress it through continued running (or worst case scenario alternate training such as the pool). Usually total rest only tightens up my entire body and causes more damage than help. There are, however, those ever persistent niggles like the one I am currently working through that begin to turn the darker side of my heart into the equation. What if it's like THE injury? You know, THE one that caused all the ruckus back in 98.
Running has become a cherished part of my life. There is some indescribable part of running that just feels...right. But I do not want to hurt myself so badly I cannot enjoy other activities.
Bryan always joked that if something started bothering him he would find out if it was anything serious by going out the next day and doing a hard long run. If it was something to worry about he would most likely break something and if not his body would "learn its lesson." My current niggle is quite the pain in my rear end. I put my little brother's theory to the test and ran twenty-two mile trail run on my temperamental knee. Ten miles of troublesome running and then pain free for another twelve. Sore the next day. Sometimes more pronounced when running and other times not. At this stage as I train for the mountain marathon I have too much in the bank to simply just take tons of time off for this sort of niggle.
Oh running, why can you not be a little more gentle and love me more appropriately?
|(I am still amazed at how beautiful the New Zealand|
trails are and how much they have to offer. I am still
kicking myself for not taking a camera on the last long
run before this one which was simply amazing!)
I went out for a sixteen mile run yesterday to see how my current niggle is behaving. It was with me the whole time but oh how I enjoyed the run! My wife road her bike with me as I skirted the flood banks of the Waihopai River as they connect to the estuary, then following the trek as it morphs into a set of trails that traverse the woods behind the hospital, only to cross a major road where they continue on for a few miles. Perhaps my niggle will become something more and it will all be a running tragedy... I'll never know unless I push on through and see what comes down the trail. It always seems when I push through some adversity my trail takes me to a splendid place indeed. I usually look back and think, "Wow, that was rough but it afforded some interesting views. And I would never be where I am now if it had not been for moving through and past those belligerent niggles."