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Le Blog du Rob #112: Injuries and an NBA Star

Rob Watson Canadian marathoner

Hey, Canadian Running! Let me start by introducing myself; I’m Rob, I like to run, I live in Vancouver and my car has 455,000K on it. Let’s get this going.

I was looking back at my training logs the other day and I had to go back a little while to find what I was looking for. Finally, I found it: Feb. 2, 2012. Since Feb. 2, 2012, I have gone for over 1000 runs, covered almost 18,000K and raced five marathons. Why is Feb. 2, 2012, significant? Well, that was the last time I had to take a day off running due to injury.

It was a pretty rad steak, but sadly on Feb 5. 2014 it happened. I had managed to eff up my leg with some shin/ankle/foot shenanigans. As a result I had to miss some running. The streak was over.

I was pretty annoyed by this, for a few reasons. I have a lot of my own personal theories and such on this whole running thing. One is that consistency is the single most important factor in improving as a runner. The more weeks, months and miles you can string together, the better you are going to get. It’s simple. It’s all about taking many small, steady and patient steps forward, while avoiding any steps back.

There are obviously times when you have to rest and recover. Recovery is important and these planned breaks are ridiculously important, but injuries are not planned and they kill the training momentum. You cannot improve while fighting injury. All you can do is tread water, cross-train and work hard to maintain some fitness. This stagnation of progress is lame as balls and it grinds my gears.

Next belief I hold is that injuries, unless some sort of freak accident, happen as a result of the athlete messing up. We are responsible for our own bodies and our own well being. I got injured because I did something wrong. I made some unwise decisions and as a result I was forced to ride the exercise bike of shame. That was frustrating.

So, after spending a day or two feeling sorry for myself and being a bitter lame-o, I got after the recovery grind. Huge props to my physio, Chris Napier. The dude got right after it using all the tools in his belt to help get me back and rolling.

I also tackled a cross training regime. Oh man, how I loathe cross training! I love doing gym work, I love doing drills, strides and other supplementary things. But cross-training, *shutter* gah, so brutal man.

Three days later.

So, after all that sadness, complaining and such, I ended up having to take a whopping five days off running. Man, I just reread that first part of my post. The first thing that pops to my head; injured runners are mental! I got dark there in a hurry. I swear in most aspects of life I am pretty chill and laid back. But when it comes to running I am Type A as hell! That little niggle got to me. Sorry about that.

I’m getting back on some regular, pain-free running. Today I managed to get in a steady 10 miles on a treadmill at the Fortius Center. A quick story about that:

I’m sitting on the physio table at the rehab centre in Burnaby. My rock star physio, Chris Napier, is working his magic on my bum leg when in walks this massive tank of a man. A tank of a man with an immaculate beard. I immediately recognized him; Baron Davis, NBA all-star.

“Cool,” I think to myself. That guy is a badass. The Golden State Warriors of 2006-2007 was an incredibly exciting team to watch, and Baron was the heart of that squad. It was neat to see him in real life.

Anyways, he walks in and he goes about his day.

Fast forward an hour and I am doing my run on the treadmill, testing ole’ bum leg. I am six miles deep and rolling along at 6:00 miles. Out of the corner of my eye I see this huge, imposing figure jump on an exercise bike behind me. I don’t want to look, but I’m pretty sure it was Baron. I stand a little straighter and crank the speed down to 5:45.

I continue my run. The Olympics are on the TV, pairs figure skating. The German team is performing their free skate. As the team attempts a throw, the German women stumbles and falls to the ice. The man on the bike behind me gasps, clearly upset. I take a quick glance back. It is indeed Baron Davis on that bike, and apparently he is a fan of German figure skating.

I got a bit of an adrenaline jolt. This here is one of the most finely tuned athletes on Earth and he’s riding right behind me. I’m on the treadmill. This is my element; I’m going to show Baron how us runners get down.

I crank the treadmill down to 5:30 miles, then 5:15, then I roll a 5:00. I was jamming folks. Nailed that sucker, pain free(ish) as well! So eventually my 10 miles is up and I jump off the treadmill.

As I’m walking off, I make eye contact with Baron and we exchange nods. I can live with that. That’s all I was looking for; respect.

Then Baron speaks up:

“Great job man, how far did you go?”

“10 miles.”

“Really!? Damn man, you were flying!”

That was pretty cool, man. Baron Davis is now my favourite basketball player ever. Sorry, Vlade Divac.

Back to what we were talking about before: my niggle is going away. It’s feeling better by the day. It is
Wednesday. I’m supposed to race the First Half here in Vancouver on Sunday. The decision to race or not will be a gametime decision. I want to race real bad, but I have a big year ahead and it’s not worth it to force things in February.
Ok, so hope y’all are doing awesome. I’m going to stick my foot in some ice water.


Oh yeah, going to run the Ottawa Marathon in May. We’ll talk about that next time.