In a bad situation, in a losing position.
The phrase comes from pool (or billiards). When the cue (white) ball is behind the eight (black) ball, a player usually has no shot. (Urban Dictionary)
My view from behind the eight ballWhatever was damaged during my stumble at mile 8 of the Shoreline Half is still giving me problems. Pain in my left calf at night, during the day, and now a fair amount of numbness on the outside of my leg persists five weeks after the injury. Thats five weeks of discomfort. Five weeks of not sleeping well. Five weeks of limited running. I haven't hit a double digit miles training run since July 20 and with the ROC Half now four weeks away, I am locked and loaded squarely behind the eight ball. My training plan is in ruin. My attitude is starting to suffer. My motivation is draining.
The warning lights are flashingA relapse into mediocrity is a real potential in situations like this. We can all appreciate how easily one could slip back into poor eating habits (hey, I need the extra calories to heal this injury), sedentary life (hey, I've got stay off this leg for a while), and simply not running (I'll run when I feel better).
I've been on the verge of this relapse for a while. I felt great after a short run several days ago and was looking forward to increasing miles again (having self-declared the injury gone) only to be shocked awake that same night by intense, stabbing pain and muscle fascinations. I was demoralized until last night.
Getting around the obstacleThe daughter of close friends just had surgery on her ankle to repair some serious damage. At the ripe old age of 16 or so, she'd sprained her ankle so many times that the joint had become unstable. Her she is just a few days after surgery, casted from toes to knee, trudging along on crutches, at the end of summer vacation. Sad? No. Discouraged? Nope. Quitting? Absolutely not! This young lady talked about changing sports from a soccer focus to softball. She even sat on a overturned bucket and put on an amazing display of pitching...casted leg, crutches on the ground.
Heres the lesson; her attention had shifted from looking at the injury to looking at the next thing she could be great at.
Looking around the obstacle even if its a big one
We all end up in the unenviable position of a bad situation, a schedule snafu, or an injury at some point during training. The blogs are full of suggestions for athletes (even mature ones like me) on how to get over an injury or get their training back on track. Some of those suggestion may work, some may not. All the information people give you are things that worked for them. You are not them. You have to decide for yourself how to get around your obstacle.
Get over it. Injury is reality. Stop blaming yourself and stop the excuses. Yes it hurts, but sitting around isn't making the situation any better. In fact, its getting worse. I'm not going to jump back into the miles and risk further injury, I'm simply going to...
Change the plan. If you're training plan is trashed, maybe it should stay in the trash for a while. Cutting down the miles and intensity for a few more days won't ruin my chances of finishing the last half marathon of the year but I may have to let go of my 2:00:00 time goal.
Shift focus. Limited running is going to leave a void that could easily be filled by surfing the net or sipping coffee in the Adirondack chair. Not. Instead lets pick up the cross training and get a few good distance rides on the bike and hit the core training hard. A good bombing for the hips, glutes, and abs sounds like a winning idea.
Thankfully, this is the first true injury I've had to deal with in two years. I guess I shouldn't gripe about it too much.