Monday, September 19, 2011

Injury Loves Company

Ack. People are dropping like flies. Fallen soldiers. ‘Tis marathon season. As athletes are making their way through the final weeks of their race training plans, many are finding themselves fatigued, sick and/or injured.

It’s not a fun subject. But, it is real life for us runners. For the past two years I had to drop out of my fall marathons due to injury. I am determined to see Thanksgiving this year without crutches (or a paint ball mask for that matter).

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Sometimes people blame themselves, sometimes they blame their aging bodies or their shoes or their coaches or their mechanics or their training or God. Sometimes, it is tough to know exactly what the culprit is when we get injured. We can do our best guesswork, but we don’t necessarily know for sure.

I don’t usually re-post anything I write. I prefer to give you current doses of poop stories and the like. But, today I am. I cannot believe how many people around me and in the blog world are dealing with injuries that might potentially take them out of their dream races. I have been there. It sucks. It takes you to dark places. It defeats you.

Therefore, I’m reposting my “Stages of Injury” post from earlier this year. Maybe it will help just one person. Or not anyone. Just know, my injured friends, that you are not alone and that this is temporary.

When we get injured it happens to our physical bodies, but it’s really our mind that takes the beating. The stages of injury tend to follow the stages of grief, which makes sense considering that being injured represents the loss of being able to function how you want/need/have to.*

1. Denial – Are you f*cking kidding me? My marathon is in {insert number} weeks and I’ve trained my ass off. There is no way I’m not running this thing, even if I have to crawl. It’s just a pain in my hip. I’m sure I just pulled a muscle dancing on the pole. Or maybe this pain is a figment of my imagination, part of tapering madness. I’m sure I’m fine.

2. Anger – Are you f*cking kidding me? This still hurts, might be worse. Why me? I didn't do anything wrong. Everyone else can run and not get injured. Hell, Dean freaking Karnazes is running across the United States and he never gets injured. This sucks. I don’t deserve this. I pay my taxes, I follow a training plan. I bought the stinking $100 shoes that they told me to buy at that damn store.

3. Bargaining – You are not f*cking kidding me. I’m hurt. I get it. But, I swear if I am healed enough by marathon day to at least complete the race I will never {insert vice: cuss, drink, over train,  do meth, run with scissors, yell at my kids, lick a knife} again. Once I complete this race, I will rest for a really long time and go to the doctor. I swear. Just let me run this race.

4. Depression – (warning: here’s where it gets really ugly). I’m f*cked. I’m out of the race. Hell, I might never run again. I hate swimming and biking and most of all running in the water. I want to run. I only like running and I am nothing without running. I will get fat. I will get lazy. I will lose all of my fitness. Why bother getting out of bed?

5. Acceptance – I can’t race. I can’t even run right now. But, it’s going to be okay. I am still an athlete, I am still a runner, I am just recovering. I will be back. Stronger than ever. Even though I can’t run, there are other things I can do to maintain my fitness. Even though I can’t run, I am still worthy. There is more to me than being a runner.

We all move through these stages at different rates. With my hip stress fracture, I wasn’t allowed to be in the denial stage very long because my pain was too intense and an MRI showed the fracture immediately. I also moved through anger and bargaining pretty quickly because the injury was so black and white. I was pissed as all get out, but that just made me more tired. And there was no bargaining to be done. There would be no race, no running.  For quite a few months.

I got stuck in depression for awhile. I’d have good days and bad days. I don’t think I really reached the point of acceptance for about eight weeks. And even then, I ping- ponged between depression and acceptance quite a bit. My acceptance wasn’t just based on knowing I would get better. It was based on knowing I would be okay even if I didn’t.

A theme of this blog is acceptance – not resisting what is. A theme of this blog is also pooping in bushes. I like variety.

One of my most very favorite things about life is that it is constantly changing. If you don’t like it, it will be different soon. If you are flying high, you might crash next week. The only thing you can count on is that things are temporary.

Hang in there. And remember, the pussy posse awaits.

SUAR

51 comments:

  1. Words of wisdom! I got stuck in denial for way too long which only prolonged my actually getting better.

    Finally made it to acceptance, just took the scenic route.

    Love your next goal too. :-)

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  2. You have helped at least one person by reposting :) Thank you!!!

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  3. I read this before, but needed it today. I'm not running a marathon, but my 8k training starts today. And I'm pretty sure I'm headed towards a lung infection... unless I really do have a small elephant sitting on my chest.
    F*ck! I guess it's not the end of my world.

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  4. Just what I need today! I have a tibial stress fracture, and my first marathon is 2 weeks from yesterday. Still hoping I'll feel better in time to run it (denial), but it is seeming much more unlikely (bordering on acceptance). It sucks to have done all the long training runs but possibly not be able to do the actual race. Thanks for the post!

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  5. Thanks for re-posting this! I remember crying at my desk the first time I read it...and here I am crying again...the acceptance part is the hardest, it's been 2 years and I'm still working on that.

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  6. Holy crap - I am stuck at the depression stage myself right now - i am in the midst of Dr. apts and PT and MRIs and all I want to do is run! I have my first full marathon on Oct. 16th, knee willing...

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  7. Great re-post. I don't think it can be said enough. I wasn't training for anything, but fractured my ankle this summer and it set me back just from doing my normal walking and bike riding and cardio class. What it did though, was introduce me to aqua jogging and the pool which I was and am so grateful for and now I swim more than I ever have. Thus the sliver lining..

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  8. Oh man! This made me laugh. I remember this post and I was so happy I wasn't injured last time I read it. But now, I AM!
    This is so perfect. I love it. And please don't tell Jesus or Mary or whoever decides my fate, but it made me kind of happy that I'm not the only one injured right now. Don't get me wrong, I want everyone to be healthy and happy and running their asses off every day of the year, but at least I can't say, "Why meeeee?" because it isn't just me. Clearly, God hates a lot of us.

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    1. Everyone else can run and not get injured. Hell, Dean freaking Karnazes is running https://www.rx247.net across the United States and he never gets injured. This sucks. I don’t deserve this. I pay my taxes, I follow a training plan. I bought the stinking $100 shoes that they told me to buy at that damn store.

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    2. i just stumbled across this as I lie in bed in the depression stage - your entire paragraph is like a quote right out of my own head. I am glad I found this as it did make me smile and gave me some hope. Just pulled out of the race that I was looking forward to next weekend after running the marathon that I probably shouldn't have two weeks ago. Thanks for this - it does help give perspective and comic relief!

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  9. Thanks for this. I'm happy to say I'm in the acceptance phase of my femoral stress fx, but apparently my psyche likes to pretend to be in acceptance for a few weeks and then suddenly go back to denial, then anger. Then some more anger. Then I drink some beer.

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  10. Thanks for this! I suffered a stress fracture six weeks out from what would have been my first marathon (Chicago) last year and am now dealing with a "maybe" injury nine weeks out from Philly. But, with ice and Aleve, I seem to be on the road to recovery (fingers crossed). I remember having all of these feelings, especially thinking "why can everyone else train for a marathon without a problem except for me?" Always good to know you are not alone!

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  11. I LOVE it... DABDA for injuries!

    So true!

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  12. Yes, far too many on the DL right now! I go back and forth between acceptance and depression constantly. Some day I may actually be the one sitting on the other side of injury feeling bad for others. Can't happen soon enough. Thanks for the post.

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  13. I read your blog almost every day. Seriously funny stuff!

    I saw this today, and it reminded me of your blog. Just thought I would share.

    Not a shart, a shat
    http://urlybits.com/2011/09/shats-william-shatner-sponsored-hats/

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  14. Thank you. Yes, not the end of the world, but an end to a crapload of training. It'll pass though. In running and in life, we shall overcome.

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  15. I am running my first half (Denver Rock N Roll on Oct 9th) and woke up with intense back pain on Friday and was supposed to run 10.5 last weekend. I hope it lets up enough so I can at least do a long run this coming weekend but will have to see.

    I am resigned to the fact that I will run as long as I can and then walk when needed for my first half.

    I was very bummed out and still am.

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  16. Thanks, Im terrified my week was too light. I am nursing an inflamed bursa and hope it won't get worse. In is a total mind turd to break training.

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  17. I think I went through all those stages, 400x!! Bleh!

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  18. I needed this today. I have been ping-ponging between depression and acceptance for the past week as I will not be running the Chicago Marathon due to an IT band injury. I'm trying to get all the way to acceptance, but it is definitely hard.

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  20. So....seriously the timing could not be better. That is crazy accurate, every single stage. Huh. Who knew we were all that predictable? Reading that helped but being injured still totally blows. I feel like a big baby.

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  21. I am BAWLING!! I have PF (not too bad but it's there)and my hubby and I are running the Savannah RnR Half Nov. 5th. This was our Anniversary gift to eachother and it will be our 1st RnR event. I am beyond frustrated and I pray I'm 100% soon!

    I've been meaning to tell you that I read your blog EVERY DAY! There's always something you say I can relate to. THANK YOU BUNCHES and thanks for putting a smile on my face daily (while I've been struggling to keep my head above water during my freaking PF issues).

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  22. Thanks for this post - I'm (one of the many it seems) dealing with plantar fasciitis, so I appreciated this. I think every pool has a pussy posse - I think of you EVERY time I go to the pool to run!

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  23. Loving this post and loving the theme(s) of your blog. That's why I keep coming back!

    Also loving that I am at least 90% recovered from my injury. Woot!!!

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  24. Could this post of hit any closer to home for me? I've poured my heart, sweat, tears and blood into running this year. Coming back from having a baby and now am less than a month out from my first marathon and bam, pretty sure my IT band is effed. I'm still in denial right now.

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  25. You've helped another (injured) runner... sigh. I am at acceptance, but still depressed. :(

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  26. My favorite part was, "My acceptance wasn’t just based on knowing I would get better. It was based on knowing I would be okay even if I didn’t."

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  27. Yes, I have been through the stages - with the exact **'s and {expletive deleted}'s.

    Not injured now - but know that it is bound to happen again. I need to bookmark this blog so that I have encouragement when I will really be feeling low.

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  28. Yep, just as good as the first time I read it!

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  29. Great "repost." There's always someone deep in the abyss of injury who needs words of encouragement and a light at the end of that tunnel.

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  30. I've been dealing with a couple of chronic injuries for years. This looks like another summer where I won't be able to everything on my bucket list, but I may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for a great post.

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  31. Thank you for posting this. I'm dealing with runner's knee and am taking the week off in hopes that it'll get better...sooner than later. Okay, I'm sure I'm going thru the stages but I did need to read this. I haven't thrown in the towel on my racing goals for the year but I've had my moments of doubt. Reading this has made me feel better.

    Thanks for posting this. I needed it.

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  32. I love that you have outlined this process! I am six weeks post-op from foot surgery and completely understand your statement: "My acceptance wasn’t just based on knowing I would get better. It was based on knowing I would be okay even if I didn’t." It was tortuous at times getting to this place (from 1.5-2 hrs. running trails daily to ...zilch), but you nailed it. I hope to do a 30k trail run by summer, but if not, I'll be OK. Besides all this downtime made me start a blog...fun stuff.

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    Replies
    1. Oops, I think I did this wrong. I claim the "anonymous" post. I am bossybostwick.wordpress.com

      :)

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  33. Marathon is a great event in which general public are gathers to run and this marathon I also observed that people don't have such energy like old people have and just dropped down after running a few meters. Your post is really awesome describing about this severe issue. Kinesio taping

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  34. can't stop laughing and agreeing… I'm back up to running but I have to say that one of my phases was fear. I was just afraid to go run for fear of getting hurt again ugh,..anyway, I'm back on the road, even if it's only 2-4 miles at a time.

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  35. Just stumbled across this. I realize this is a super old post, but it was just what I needed to read today. Thanks! I am 8 weeks post foot surgery and easing back into running, but still waiver between depression and acceptance on any given day.

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  36. This is the best post one could ever see. Thank you a lot for this post!

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  40. Thank you for helping me through all those tough times in life.

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  41. hey beth, this made me laugh. im reading dean karnazes book. Im injured! Im in stage 2 at the moment, and already starting stage 3. I want to run!! My other half is so supportive. While a lot of my friends and family tell me to stop running. They dont get it!! But you inspire me. You make me think. You make me smile. thank you. look forward to running again :) cheers matt

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