I’ve learned three important lessons since last I wrote.
First and foremost, it’s hard to stay on top of documenting what’s going on in the present when you’re preoccupied with the future. Last time I wrote, I mentioned a new life plan and vowed I’d be paying this blog a bit more attention. NLP (more on that sometime soon, I promise) has been taking up a lot of mental space over the past few weeks, hence the lack of posts. To be fair, the hiatus can also be attributed to spending lots of time outdoors (hooray for summer, MUD, and Wildwood!), catching up with old friends, evening Netflix binges, and work getting a bit busier.
Lesson number two: I’m much better at taking care of fauna than I am at flora. The little garden balcony started out so well, but has taken a turn for the worse over the past month. Horrible heat waves + forgetting to water your plants on a regular basis = garden fail. (Not rocket science, I know.) I think my future gardening efforts should be limited to succulents…
Last but not least, I learned that there’s no such thing as a non-contact sport in my life. By definition, ultimate is not a contact sport. In practice, I don’t quite understand this concept. This is probably not surprising to anyone who watched me play sports growing up. Or, for that matter, to anyone with whom I’ve played board games. When it comes to competition, I’m playing to win, or not playing at all. As The Guy pointed out, I’m a binary system.
All things considered, being driven by competition tends to be a good thing when it comes to sports. The fact that I really, really enjoy competition means I really, really enjoy playing. Ever since I was a little kid, people have told me it’s fun watching me play, regardless of the outcome, because I usually leave every ounce of energy on the court or field. When it comes to ultimate, this often results in me sacrificing my body for the disc. Nine times out of ten, that sacrifice is to the ground, and the consequence is negligible. Scrapes and bruises make for good battle wound stories, and it’s downright fun getting covered in dirt.
(That turned in to an awesome scar, in case you were wondering.) In the past month, however, this all-or-nothing style of play has led to some full-on contact with other players and more than one actual injury. First, I sprained my ankle while making a cut for the disc. It was towards the end of the second game in a double-header on a day when just enough people showed up for a single line, so the 7 of us had been played our hearts out for about four hours. Fortunately, I was able to wrap it right away, and plenty of ice and ibuprofen over the next two days kept it in check. Since I was heading to Wildwood the following weekend, I took it super easy for the next few days. I was really looking forward to my first tournament, which turned out to be an absolute blast. Playing ultimate on the beach and drinking for 36 straight hours with a group of awesome people is guaranteed to be a good time.
The only downside is that I wound up with a nasty hip injury as a result of (yet again) laying out for a disc. This time, I perpendicularly collided with a guy midair for a pretty rough hit. (He told me afterwards that in all the years he’s played sports, it was the hardest hit he’d ever taken. I considered this a compliment.) I’m still not exactly sure of the details of the injury, but I had deep bruises all along the side and back of my hip, and my front hip flexor screamed in pain just about every time I moved for the next week and half.
For those of you keeping track at home, between the bad ankle and the busted hip, that’s about 3 weeks of limited mobility – which doesn’t fare well when you’ve just started a 16-week training program to prepare for your first ever marathon. While I didn’t give up running completely in these first few weeks, my long runs were completely shot. I had to completely re-tool my mileage for the remaining 13-weeks, so I went from this training plan:
to this one:
Maybe three weeks doesn’t sound like a lot, but I was freaking out for the first week. I had plenty of doubts – is 13 weeks enough to get ready? By changing things around, am I completely messing up the training plan? Is the increase in mileage slow enough to ensure that I’m building up and preventing injury? Do I have enough recovery time between the (eek!) 20-mile runs? Am I crazy person for wanting to do this in the first place?
I’m almost done with week two, and while some (okay, all) of the above questions are still lingering in the back of my head, the fact that they’ve moved from front and center to the back burner is a good sign. I’ve gotten in every run so far (though not always on the days intended) and have stayed injury free. Thanks to a deluge of rain last weekend, my 8-miler was on a treadmill. While I loathe running indoors for anything longer than 3 miles, my fear of being undertrained at the end of 13 weeks is actually serving as great motivation. Given the choice between pounding a treadmill for an hour and twenty minutes (ick) and cramping up three-quarters of the way through the course on race day (ouch), I’ll take ick, thank you very much.
Tomorrow I’ll be running (almost) the entire length of Manhattan bright and early, before summer league ultimate finals at 9:30am. With a backpack (ick), since I’ll need my cleats for the game. Still, better than ouch.