Wisdom Teeth, Geronimo, and Running

I knew committing to run 167 miles in a six day period would be a huge challenge. I also knew that training for that challenge would be tough. I was also fully aware that having all of my wisdom teeth pulled would be painful. Why I thought that running through the pain would be easy I will never know.

The pain from having my wisdom teeth pulled I do not have words to explain. My entire life I have heard people talk about how much it hurts but it’s one of those things I did not fully comprehend until I lived it. I have had three knee surgeries and a shoulder surgery and there is no comparison. Ice was my saving grace in recovery and pain management with those surgeries. I am currently six days in and I am still taking pain medications for my wisdom teeth.

I did manage to get my first run in last night and it was pretty painful. It was only a four mile run but I did manage a decent pace as well. I typically do not take water with me on such a short run but I decided I needed to this time just in case. Also because Coach told me to take water with me. My first mile was at a surprisingly quick pace and I felt good. About half way into my second mile the pain reminded me that it was still there and was not going away anytime soon. I drank a little water to see if it would help but it did not. In fact it made me a little nauseous. As I continued to run I started thinking about a passage from Mike Leach’s book Geronimo which is one of my favorite books of all time.

“Young boys had to run more than ten miles, up and down mountains, carrying water or rocks in their mouths the entire time; they could spit out the rocks or water only at the end of the run. This proved their endurance and toughness. The exercise also taught them to breathe through their noses.” 

Geronimo, Mike Leach, Buddy Levy

I have always been fascinated with how the Apache warriors trained. I believe that learning about how they trained was the first time I started questioning my own ideas of what the human body is capable of. Training the way they did was for their own survival. I definitely do not have to train the way the Apache did to survive in todays world because everything I need is available to me at the swipe of a debit card or click of a mouse. I don’t know what all my body is capable of but I intend to find out on this running journey.

I decided to try one of the training methods for send by the Apache. I filled my mouth up with water while I was running instead of drinking or spitting it out to see if that would help me with the pain. I figured at the least it would help me work on breathing through my nose better which is something I have been placing a lot of focus on over my past few months of training anyways. It did not make all of my pain go away but it did seem to help. It also took my mind off of the pain as well because I started thinking about what it would be like to start each day off with a ten mile run up and down a mountain with water in my mouth.

I don’t think that there is a cure all for running when you have your wisdom teeth pulled. Running with a mouth full of water was definitely helpful for me. Its not lost on me that I might be just a little dramatic complaining about this. However, I did start this blog to share my story as I train to do a marathon a day for six days in a row. The highs, lows, good, bad, and the downright embarrassing.

Running 167 miles in six days is the biggest challenge I have ever accepted. I definitely made my training plan tougher by having my wisdom teeth taken out in the middle of it. One day I will not have an extra pain to deal with while I am running and I will appreciate those days so much more after making it through this. I also know that there be some tough times in the middle of my 167 mile adventure and remembering days like today will help me be able to push through to the end.

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