Until I die it will be my credo: The hardest thing for a runner to do is rest. Be it to avoid injury, to recover, or to not appear obsessed.
Dammit, we runners want to run. Is that too much to ask? Yesterday, on a gorgeous Colorado Sunday morning, Ken laced his shoes up and went for a run on the mountain trails. I walked my three legged, one eyed dog around the neighborhood and watched while he pooped himself silly on the suburban lawns. I then leaned over and swiped up the poop into a grocery bag like a good little dog walker.
But, I wanted to be running.
I haven’t let on a lot about my injury fears. Suffice it to say, coming back from a nasty injury robs you of your confidence. Every twinge, ache, or pain signals: “Oh, shit. Here we go again. I will be out for the next three months. I will be resigned to running in the pool with the pussy posse. I will cry into my pillow and make myself and everyone around me miserable.”
I have not had extreme injury warning signs, but it seems every time I amp up my mileage or push my speed, the left side of my body talks back to me. It seems it is telling me to tread lightly. That while the stress fracture is healed, the road is not clear. That it is a long and tedious road back, and I need to be patient.
Patient and careful I am. I do not want to be that Dumb As Shit Athlete (DASA) who jumps in too quick, ignores the body’s pleading and finds herself at the grocery store renting yet another set of crutches.
So, after last week’s run when things felt BAD, I stopped running. Altogether. I have not run in six days. I have biked, done yoga, and swam. I have a sprint tri this weekend and my hope is that when I hit that 5K I can fly and not hurt. Or reinjure.
The brain f%cks with you. You aren’t sure if the pain and fear is in your head or if it is real. You aren't sure if you need to toughen up or pull back. You question if you’ll ever, truly be back in the game with full self-assurance and gusto. You wonder if you are destined for a life of slow running, very low weekly mileages and too much cross training to bear. You try not to compare yourself to others, but you do.
I’m probably fine. This is mostly likely just my body’s response to high volume triathlon training and racing two weekends in a row. But, who knows?
Have you struggled (or are you struggling) to gain your confidence back after injury? How long did it take?