70 days ago I went out for an 8 mile run.
It was the final ten days before the Denver Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Four months of hard training and I was almost done. I felt pain in my piriformis and left hamstring, but was in the mindset of, “It's supposed to hurt, your training for a marathon. Don’t be a baby. Shut up and do this.” As I approached the turn around point, I decided to kick it into high gear and to see if I could sustain some 7:30 minute miles. I was flying, feeling on top of the world. Nothing could stop me. Until it did stop me.
One mile from home my hip gave out. A sudden, sharp pain with impact. I NEVER walk on runs. Never. Yet, I found myself hobbling home, humbled, defeated. “You pussy,” I told myself. Yet, I knew something was very wrong.
An MRI later that week confirmed the hip stress fracture. I was done. There would be no Denver Marathon. There would be no running for at least three months. Boston in April 2011 might be out of the picture. Hello f*cking crutches.
And just like that, I was done.
The loss of running was huge. But, I worried about something else. I thought if I couldn’t run, the blog was doomed. Who reads a running blog when the author of the blog can’t run, train or relay any sort of personal experience about her running?
But, you came back and stayed. Some new followers joined the party. For that I am incredibly grateful. This injury has sucked, but without it there would have been no pussy posse. No tales of running in the pool. No idiotic posts about camel toes and devices that allow women to pee standing up. Because if I could have been running, those things would have been replaced by training and race recaps. Stories of crapping in trees and alongside roads.
What I know in my heart is that I am a runner and I love to run. Yet, running is not all of who I am. It does not define me completely. If I cannot run, I am still worth something. Maybe? There is life after and aside from running. Really, there is!!!!
From Zen and the Art of Running:
“When people are deprived of something they enjoy immensely, it is no surprise that they feel sorrow. Most injured runners have to learn to deal with this sorrow of loss. After my injury, I regretted features of running that I hadn’t even known I had enjoyed. Who would have thought I would miss waking up at 5 a.m., or that I liked feeling icicles forming on my eyelashes, or that icing my knees while watching the news was a great way to relax? But lurking behind the pain of loss was an attachment that only made things worse. At some point in my history of running I became attached to the idea that I was a RUNNER.”
Some of you asked how I stayed so positive during recovery. Wine!! And not taking myself so seriously. It’s not like I’m some elite athlete or something.
While I had some down moments mentally, there were not many of them. Here’s what really got me through (Again, from Zen and the Art of Running):
“Don’t ask yourself to to do something beyond your present ability; ask yourself what you need to do now to live a happy and fulfilled life. Now you are not a runner. That person is gone. Instead, you are a person with talents, skills, hobbies, interests and goals – and that’s what you should be pursuing.”
It sure will feel good to get out there again.
So, thank you for hanging in there with me. For your words of support, for your emails just to check in, for your advice. It has meant the world to me. Really, it has.
2nd MRI coming up on Thursday. If it’s clear, I start running again.
See you in Boston.
You guys rock (all 1035 of you),