Wednesday, March 27, 2019

If You're Injured, You MUST Read This (or even if you're not...you will be one day so read it anyway)

Almost 11 months ago I was literally crying in my chardonnay.

The dirtiest word in the running dictionary had become my reality. I was injured. Not just "Oh-I-feel-a-niggle-I-better-take-a-day-off" injured, but the real deal.

Not to bore you if you know the story, but I was in the final three weeks of training for a 50k and fell on a very simple short run about 1/4 mile from my house. The result was a full tear of my left hamstring. The result was also that not only was I out of my 50k, I was likely out for the entire summer. And, it all happened in the blink of an eye.

That hurt
Even when I'm injured I'm reading about running
It was comfortable sitting on the toilet.

Therapy dog to the rescue

If you've been running long enough you've been there too. To a non-runner this scenario seems disappointing, but not devastating. But, for a runner, being injured is complex and heartbreaking (to be slightly dramatic) - it's not nearly as much about the physical pain as the mental/emotional anguish. Why is this the case?

  • We identify as runners and if we can't run, well, who the hell are we? 
  • We think we will never recover, or if we do we will have lost all of our fitness.
  • We have tremendous and unrelenting FOMO.

Being injured is time consuming and expensive. Physical therapists, sports med doctors, massages, dry needling, MRIs, blah, blah, blah.

Then.. we need to find something else to do outside of running to stay in shape. Don't make me throw up and tell me to run in the pool or get on the elliptical. I will punch you in the face then puke on your running shoes.

But, I'm not here to be a PITA and tell you what you already know. I'm here to give you hope.

Yes, after my injury I missed several races and countless gorgeous trail runs. Yes, I spent time in the pool and on the bike. No, the recovery process was not linear. I would feel better than worse again. When I started re-started running I felt like I had never run a mile in my life. I cried. A lot.

But, I kept showing up and never gave up.

About four months post injury, things started to feel just a bit better. I did my first race post-hamstring tear (10k). Probably my slowest 10k of my life, but  I was out there and I was ecstatic as hell.. Little by little I clawed my way back

And NOW...NOW...

I am fully healed. I feel fit and strong. Those months of no running don't really matter now and are just a blip on my memory screen. I am up to 40+ miles per week, and did my longest run since May last Saturday (15 miles of trails with 1,200 feet of vertical). I am signed up to the do the 50k I had to DNS last year.



I don't say this to brag, but I do say it to give you hope. When I am injured I NEED faith that I will be back out there, that I will regain my strength. I plead with anyone and everyone to give it to me.

Well, I am giving it to you right now. You are a runner, injured or not, and you will heal. You will be back to your frequent training runs and races. You will feel strong and pain free again. It's going to happen. Trust me. I have been here enough times to be able to say that with full confidence.

But...you have to do the work. Take care of yourself. Eat well, do your fucking PT exercises, get in the pool or on the bike. Get your rest. Then...when you get cleared to run again, be kind to yourself and be patient. It will not happen overnight and you will be pissed and frustrated. But, it will happen.

Trust me.

Are you injured now?

What has been the worst injury you've had?

SUAR