Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fight the Fight, Man

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn Hal Borland

I’m a believer that we learn from the hard stuff.

Yet, overcoming adversity still sucks the big one.

The input from friends, family, health professionals and my favorite bloggers to “keep your chin up” and, “see the silver lining,” is immensely helpful. No doubt about it. But, it’s my fire within that puts the exclamation point on it all.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What exactly is the fire within? This was my fire today:

  • Getting up up when it’s negative degrees outside and slip-sliding my way to the pool to run in the water for 60 minutes even though I’ve come to kind of hate it.
  • *Sniff* tearing up during my workout because a song reminded me:

image

  • Driving in that same snowstorm 12 miles to Boulder to go to physical therapy even though no one would question if I cancelled.
  • Laying on the PT table and crying, despite my best efforts to hold it inside. Crying because I want something so bad, yet are desperately afraid I might not get it.
  • Before the tears can even dry I am pushing and stretching and continuing to recover in baby steps.

The fire is an internal spark that doesn’t die out despite pain, self doubt, setbacks, inconvenience, discouragement.

The fire is about fighting, yet knowing when to pull back.

Here is what I think. You don’t have to agree with me if you don’t want to: If training is hard, recovery is harder. At least with training you feel somewhat in control of the amount of motivation and self discipline you bring to the table. With recovery, however, the body is limited and on its own time-line. I know this because I have been in active recovery for four months. I have done it all right. But, every time I run, it sets me back.

Tell me to train to run 50 miles and I am there. I will do what it takes to be successful.

Tell me to recover from a hip stress fracture and start running again and…well, shit…not much I can do to be in control of that goal except to cross train, do my exercises, stretch, rest, take my vitamins and eat well. My body gets to choose when I’m really ready to run. I have so far been unable to will my hip not to hurt. In fact, when I try to run on a hip that hurts and to pretend it doesn’t, I am only lengthening my recovery and setting myself back.

What does all this mean? I don’t know. I could come up with something really philosophical like what Winston Churchill (and Rodney Atkins) said: “When you’re going through hell, keep on going.” Because that’s what I will keep doing. The only thing I know for sure is that I won’t give up. And, you shouldn’t either.

Whatever demon you are fighting, and I know most demons are worse than a stress fracture, keep up the fight. Keep the fire within. Yet, don’t ever let the fight make you weaker. Always make sure it is building you up not tearing you down.

These lyrics always speak to me about moving forward, shaking it off and accepting what you can’t change. And having the grace to take the joys from the “little wonders.” If you need that message today, please watch:

Dammit. This post was serious. I’m going to throw in the words nipple and merkin for good measure.

Love the Urban Dictionary,

SUAR

59 comments:

  1. Just says so much. One day you and I and our HEALED hips will run together :) and we might even fart. But we will not have pain.

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  2. Wait a darned minute. Are you telling me that you are crying in PT because of emotional issues and not because the therapist has found the most pain inducing ways to "massage" your muscles? I am sad now.

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  3. jamoosh-yep i have my period what can i say?

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  4. Why, oh why, do I click urban dictionary links? I don't need to know this stuff! :p

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  5. It is that FIRE within you that will get you back to running. So many others don't have that fire and would just quit and find something else to do (or not). Don't give up. These months are obviously rough but it will be so worth it when you are out there running again pain free.

    and LOL on the Urban dictionary. Don't want the kids finding that. :)
    Erin
    http://seemomrunfar.blogspot.com/

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  6. Oh I understand! I want so badly to be back at 20 miles, but I spent the last month injured... 12 is hard. Ugh I have spent 4 months off as well. I know how frustrating it is! No doubt it sucks! Good luck and hugs. Rob typically says it like it needs to be said too!

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  7. I like the serious post, I needed that today. Good motivation!
    LC

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  8. Great post. I am coming back from being out since October and I understand so well, although mine wasn't near a hip stress fracture! There are so many FIGHTING, whether it be injury, cancer, relationships gone bad... Lots to fight for in this life. Great reminder to keep up the fight! thanks.

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  9. This part: "Whatever demon you are fighting, and I know most demons are worse than a stress fracture, keep up the fight. Keep the fire within. Yet, don’t ever let the fight make you weaker. Always make sure it is building you up not tearing you down." is awesome!
    I'm sorry you had a rough, emotional day. :(
    Keep that fire within you and don't give up!!

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  10. Rt is my favorite - seen him in concert 3 times. Love him. Knew the song immediately.

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  11. Having virtually followed your hip saga, your fire-within is really remarkable. I wish healing were a linear process, but unfortunately it looks more like a staircase. Even though we know this, frustration is hard to hold at arm's length. I know I'm pulling for you, and looking forward to that 'pain free' post that you'll be writing. And you WILL be writing it.

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  12. I'm sorry :( If I were your hip I would get better like yesterday!

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  13. "like". Keep up the fight, and nipples back at ya.

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  14. Beth: Here's my .02--You are in phenomenal shape, right? You are staying that way with all of your PT, swimming, stretching, and cross training, right? You're a strong headed person, right?

    You've qualified for Boston, right? That's the hard part, right?

    The race COULD be just an awesome experience, right? You don't have to set any records there, right?

    I have no doubt that if you didn't run at all between now and April but continued to cross train and remained in phenomenal shape that you could still finish that damn race...blindfolded...backwards...on one leg...with a singlet full of crap!

    Don't stress out about not running right now. You're a strong woman and you'll be fine. Hope you don't mind my nosiness.

    Mac

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  15. Mac - yes, you are probably right. I'm just not sure if I'm okay walking most of the damn race.

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  16. Super, super hugs to you!!! Yes recovery is WAY HARDER I know, I remember!!

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  17. Recovery IS hard. I'm working with a knee that is slowly getting stronger. It limits my bike a lot, and my run a bit. But it's getting better. What keeps me going is working on what I can, and you're doing all the right stuff for that. What has me excited is that all the swim time I've put in has done amazing stuff for my swim fitness. So even though you aren't noticing it, you're probably stronger and fitter than you think you are. One day, hopefully soon, your hip will decide it's healed, and you will be astonished how far and fast you can run.

    If you aren't crying during a PT session, the therapist is going easy on you. So just shut up and cry, nobody is going to sass you.

    And I didn't need to click the link to know what a merkin is.

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  18. Couldn't agree more... Recovery is both physically & mentally challenging. I find it hard to admit after working so hard that I get the familiar twinge in hip/butt and know it is best to slow down.... seriously talking baby steps! Looking forward to a glorious spring day when I can run without pain... don't even care if it is only a few miles! Stay strong...

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  19. Just wondering if your doctors have tried any meds to help the bone get back to normal. I had a tibial stress fracture 4 years ago, and wasn't pain-free for nearly 1 year. My doctor put me on an osteoporosis medication that I think really helped speed up the healing, as I went from almost being unable to walk to being able to put pressure on my foot in about 3 weeks. The scary part about it was that I'm 25, and wasn't overtraining or anything. Maybe ask your doctor about the possibility of trying one of the osteoporosis meds to see if it helps? I think I was on Actonel. Good luck.

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  20. Beth, love this post! I just had a baby three weeks ago and am registered for Boston.... you are right- recovery is SO hard. All I want to do is jump into training, but I need to ease back into it so I do not get injured doing so....

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  21. Katherine - my bone density is good so they were hesitant to put me on any meds for that due to possible side effects. Thanks for the suggestion though and glad it worked for you!

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  22. Thinking about you today and sending healing thoughts your way! adversity only makes us stronger .... PS thanks For adding Merken. Made me laugh just had a conversation about merkens yesterday in regards to Spartucus. Hehe

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  23. Your attitude is freaking unbelievable to me. I am 1000% sure that I do not have your strength. I simply blew off swim sessions last summer when I was injured. And it was 80 deg out. Please hang in there! You are such an inspiration. I'm serious. Thanks again for the SUAR power :-)

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  24. Recovery is hard because we have no control ultimately. It also shows what you're made of that you DID get that pool run and DID go to PT in a snowstorm. You'll get there and be stronger for it.

    And...boobie :-)

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  25. Totally preaching to my choir right now! I am really not much of a crier, but have cried quite a bit lately. I despise all of these "substitute" workouts. Today I went to the pool, set up my stuff on the deck, and couldn't get in. Went and sat in the hot tub. Got back out and made myself get in. It was so damn hard, but so glad I did it. We'll get our world back, just not on our clock.

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  26. I went to the podiatrist last Friday and told him my heel was 90% better. He told me, "great, now get the hell out of here and don't come back." Well, sort of anyway....well guess what hurts today?? My freaking heel. But I won't give up. We will persevere and we will win! We, me and you!

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  27. fi-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. recovery is hard. but you're harder....does that make sense? i wanted to type stronger but whatever.

    xoxo keep your head up!

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  28. I needed to read this today. I needed some confindence put back in me and that I should keep fighting for what I want to do, what I love to do.
    And I learned something new today. Gotta love Urban Dictionary!

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  29. I learned from Urban Dictionary what the Ragnar Relay team name "barking spider" meant. Check that one out for shits and grins.

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  30. On a day when I need it the most.
    Thank you.

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  31. What a great post. I have been there myself. I broke my shoulder running 6 weeks before I was supposed to compete in Ironman Florida. Don't give up. You will get there!

    A quote that helps me get through rough times:

    "A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits."
    Richard M. Nixon

    Don't QUIT!

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  32. You make me proud to call you my friend....you truly do.

    I loved this part here:

    The fire is an internal spark that doesn’t die out despite pain, self doubt, setbacks, inconvenience, discouragement.

    The fire is about fighting, yet knowing when to pull back.

    How awesome is that?

    What I know is this. You are a fighter and you will come out the other side stronger not only physically but mentally. When that next nagging injury pops up you will know how to deal with it b/c of this hip fracture.

    I believe in you and what you are doing. I believe that you are one of the strongest people I 'know' and inspire and motivate me more than you can imagine.

    You are a special person who knows how to be real. So continue to be real, continue to rehab, continue to get better daily.

    I will be with you each step of the way. You know where to find me.

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  33. By merkin do you mean these?

    Cuz I don't know what men call them ... even don't know who would do it for a guy if not himself or a loved one. All I got for guys is this.

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  34. I suffered back to back tib and fib stress fx's. I'm a runner but that got me in the pool. A year later I am a swimmer and runner. Love both sports but you'll come out of it soooo strong. You're in the "caged bull" stage right now. Wait till you heal!!! Watch out!!

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  35. Thank you for this. I've followed your hip injury with empathy, and now I'm dealing with an ankle injury that has messed up my racing plans big time. It's so freaking hard to wait through, especially when you don't have a timeline of WHEN you will be better. But yeah, in the grand scheme of life, there are much worse things out there.

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  36. Hi there SUAR. I have been recovering from a hip stress fracture for 5 months. I had a delayed diagnosis (thought it was a pulled groin) and continued to push through pain. I was training for my second marathon, Chicago, and was going for a BQ. I was unable to run. I have been aqua-jogging, swimming and doing yoga. Your posts have been a serious source of inspiration throughout this whole process. There are so many people in this world who would have said "SCREW IT" and planted their butts on the couch and never laced up their shoes again. I don't think I'll ever understand why this precious gift was taken away but we can ONLY focus on today and how important it is to our ultimate goals. It SUCKS waking up every morning knowing you cannot do the one thing you love most. As a fellow injuree, I know there is really not much to say to make you feel better. Just know you are NOT ALONE. and there WILL be a day that we look back and use this experience to push us even harder than before (safely of course...). Wishing the best for both of us! Thank you for being so inspirational!

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  37. I have the same song on my running list for the same reasons!

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  38. Hang in there! I'm thinking of you! You will get better! If you believe it, you can achieve it.

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  39. I feel for you. I ache because I want you to run and run pain free. You will get better. Being patient sucks. Unfortunately it is all we can do. Hang in there.

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  40. I so agree with your statement that recovery is harder !

    Recovery is helped by what we do and how we treat our body - but in the end - it is out of our control and that is really hard!
    Heck it is OUR body . . . shouldn't it always do what we want?
    In my opinion - our body has a mind of its' own.
    Our body has its' own timeframe for recovery.
    Our body will let us know when it is ready to endure what we expect of it.

    This recovery period is so hard because, your body, NOT you, are incharge.

    Stay strong - I would expect nothing but! ;-)

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  41. Sometimes it's hard to get through the next few hours, but when a child is depending on you, going forth is the only option.

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  42. I think you are the strongest person I "know". Hang in there. Also thanks for merkin, that's a new one for me. I was too afraid to click on Andrew's links... I'm still tempted to go back and do it, but it's past my bedtime and I don't want to have bad dreams. Maybe tomorrow (when my kids aren't around of course).

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  43. So Merkins are for people who have had a run in with a beauty therapist and who now want to hide their shame?

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  44. You honestly sit there and read allllll of these comments every damn day?! I don't believe it.

    Regardless, loved your perspective on that. Tell me to train for something... done. Tell me to back off and take it easy and let my body heal? F-OFF! haha.

    Sucks. I am running 9:45/mile pace.... I ran a sub 3:20 marathon last year, almost hit a 5min mile and now I am almost double that pace. AWESOME.

    Here's to not going crazy and keeping your focus and listening to these "professionals" and that they know what the hell they are doing.

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  45. I can't tell you how much I needed to read this post today. I am struggling with not being able to run or even cross-train for the first time in my life due to a lower back injury...and that includes a brief manic period riding a recumbent bike with a cast on my ankle after surgery.

    With two spring races looming, I am beside myself with fear as I feel fitness seeping from my pores as I, too, get in a pool, grab my paddle board and fins, and attempt to make the deteriation stop. I have always been able to run in pain, and honestly I'd rather run in pain than not run at all. Pain has always equaled progress in the past. Now, pain means pain. The simplicity of that is a distrubing thought.

    Thank you for so eloquently saying what I'm feeling and for virtually slapping some sense into me. Healing is essential. From your lips to God's ears, for me and for you.

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  46. Great post. I can truly relate - running ultras is CAKE next to WAITING and NOT doing things so that your body will heal ...

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  47. PHEW! Thanks for lightening things up at the end there. :)

    I have been extremely fortunate not to be forced out of training into recovery mode, but I firmly believe that the recovery part IS harder. Generally, when it comes to a hard run, you know exactly what to do to make the suffering stop and exactly how long you can expect to suffer. Heck, you can just stop if you want to OR you can keep going and going... there is a choice, which unfortunately there is not in the recovery scenario.

    So frustrating to have something holding you back when you're raring to go.

    I hesitate to say "keep your chin up" b/c I know you've heard it countless times... I will say: Keep fighting!

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  48. I had to look up "merkin." It's a typo! "Menkin" I knew. Now maybe I have to look up "queef," since it can't possibly mean what I think it does.

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  49. Thinking of you today and GREAT post! After every dark night there is a bright morning.
    PS. Ha on the urban dictionary, I needed a mind sponge after looking at that. Although did find the fun new phrase "douche canoe."

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  50. Darn straight, yo. Fight that good fight. You've got one hell of a determined mind and spirit. Injuries SUCK, no way around it. It took me 6 months to recover from my knee problem, but recovery IS possible and you ARE doing everything you need/can do to help that dang hip. Plus, you're staying in the most excellent of shape. Gah, I wish I could magically take away the pain for you... hang in there, let it out when you gotta, and 'just keep swimmin'

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  51. Since we're quoting lyrics here, my favorite right now while I'm running: You've got to be tough when consumed by desire, 'cause it's not enough just to stand outside the fire. Life is not tried it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire. I can't abide standing outside the FIRE (Garth Brooks).

    And yes, I'm a redneck. :P

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  52. Yeah, let's all remember that even though we can't set a PR in a damn race or even run-we're all breathing and we can all walk--there are people our age lying in beds paralyzed and others who had to come back from what were virtually near catastrophic injuries. THAT'S strength. Be thankful. 'Nuff said.

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  53. Beth, a good friend recently sent this to me as we were encouraging each other through some difficulties...I read this & it really got me back on track when I was having trouble maintaining perspective. I thought I'd pass it along in case it was helpful for you too...as the author terms them, the thousand roads through hell.
    http://www.danoah.com/2011/02/thousand-roads-through-hell.html

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  54. I have no doubt that your "fire" is gonna pay off. Most people would sit on the couch with a glass of something over the rocks and wait for their hip to heel. Your awesome...and educating. I've learned a new word today. ;)

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  55. Anon - I am fully aware people have it worse off than I do. I'm not trying to say otherwise. I am grateful each day for the gifts I have and I try to make that clear on this blog. This is simply my journey and what I am experiecing. If it is off putting, please don't read. 'Nuff said.

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  56. OK, I just realized my comment never posted, so trying it one more time. I loved your post, today and ALL days. I just wanted to add this quote to help shore you up on the days when you need shoring up!
    "if there is no struggle, there is no progress"__Fredrick Douglass__ And NOW I'm going to find out what the hell an Urban Dictionary is...

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  57. Been there...Done it...It sux, no way around it be it injury or illness...but the human body and spirit does prevail. I tore my hamstring at BOTH (yes you read it correctly) insertion points...not the belly of the muscle like most NORMAL athletes..noooo, I dared to be different...I was 2 weekd from heading to Fla. for tri camp and I was a pissed off bitch to say the least...I knew I could stretch it into submission....Well, when I couldn't swim 1/2 a lap, I wound up in the sauna crying my eyes out hoping I would dry up into a wrinkled piece of nothingness (is that a word??)...But, I relented...I gave in...and after my husband finished his swim and swore he would love me even if I turned into a fat "0" and he remained a fit "1"...I met my new PT and he put Humptey Dumptey back together again...Sunday is my 1st race since my injury...Rock N Roll 1/2 Mary..I made it back...A year ago I was leaving the MRI unit in a wheelchair w/ nerve damage ( from trying to "work through it"...pain is for sissies right??? )so bad I couldn't eat, sleep, drive, take care of my kids, husband, DOGS.Its been a long road, but I have learned so much about my body and how to better train and REST (four letter word...I'm still working on that one). I am actually grateful for that time.Keep on keepin on ...soon it will all be in the rearview mirror...

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  58. Thanks for this encouraging reminder to keep going. Know that we are all cheering for you and hoping that your hip will quit being a bitch soon!

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