Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Long Road Back from Injury: Frustrating as Hell!

I must have been high or something because when I was given the "go ahead" to run for 2 minutes at a time (2 minutes run/2 minutes walk for 16 minutes and build from there) back at the end of June I thought it would be a piece of cake. After all, the hamstring was healed and running is, like, what I DO! (of course in full disclosure I NEVER did 16 minutes. More like 56 minutes because I don't listen).

Major wake up call. When I ran, I felt as if I had never run before. My leg tired so easily and I honestly could barely even run the 2 minutes. I kept at it, running 4 to 5 miles a day, doing the run/walk thing.

I did that for WEEKS. Do you know how long it takes to run/walk 5 miles? I bet you do. People do it all the time. I am just not a patient person, however. So, averaging 12:30 miles was humbling as hell. And, it wasn't getting any better. I can actually have some patience if I see improvement. But after three weeks of being back to "running" nothing felt better. It might have even felt worse. Sure, I did the relay, but those miles were rough on me. I never got into a groove, I could hardly run for more than 4-5 minutes at a time before walking and my poor leg felt like a huge ham hock that I was dragging behind me.

Trails feel WAY better to me these days than road. I might look "okay" here, but I'm pretty
sure I was hyperventilating.

Fast forward to today and all of the complaining I'm doing to my PT (they must get SO sick of us). I'm a bit shy of three months out from the injury. I'm still struggling. Well, I say that but I can now average a 10:13 mile and that includes some walking. That is definitely progress, but is is really hard not to compare where I was pre-accident.  I am less concerned with pace than I am with how I feel. I'm not sure how/why I still feel so out of running shape. I've had some major drying needling the past few weeks and have done a gait analysis to make sure I'm not doing anything too wonky. I'm not.

So, here I am, just a girl trying to be patient and grateful that I can do anything at all. Blah blah blah.  I just wonder when I'll feel like my old self again. Running is hard enough as it is, but when one minute you are on top of your game and the next minute (literally) you are laying in the street and can't walk, it's discouraging.

And life goes on. I think if the rest of my life felt really in place, maybe all of this wouldn't bug me so much. But it doesn't. I lay awake in the middle of the night last night (as I do most nights between 2am and 3am), knowing that I cannot be the only person who is 51 years old and feels a bit lost. Kids are leaving the nest. My career has been successful but I'm just not sure it's what I want to do anymore - and if it's not what I want to do, what the hell DO I want to do? What the hell am I actually QUALIFIED to do if not what I do now?

I can't believe I'm sharing this; I have no shame. Ken took this of me the other night. Proof that I sleep
really HARD before I am wide awake from 2am to 3am


People tell you you can do and be whatever you want. Not really. You know I'm the first person to chase dreams and big goals, but at 51, there are some things that are a bit out of the question for me now (probably won't be a heart surgeon or the POTUS). Then I start to have regrets about career choices I've made and not made. I basically have made the choices I did because I wanted to be home with my kids. I'm proud of that. But, that meant a job where I could work from home. I've been good at it and the job has been really fulfilling, but I'm just entering a new phase I suppose.

Enough on all that. Just being real here. Then I go to hospice with Heidi today and get some much needed perspective. All of what I love and value is right here in front of me right now. But if I could run normal again, that would be great, yeah thanks.

Seriously. Wouldn't she comfort you? I can't even with this picture.

What's your job? Can you see yourself doing it for years to come?



SUAR

45 comments:

  1. OMG, yes, all of this. I’m struggling with a calf injury that would probably get better if I stopped running. But I took a year off from the marathon last year, and I’m determined to do it this year. I, too, work from home. I’m an epidemiologist...glorified number cruncher. I don’t love it as I approach 50. My oldest baby is about to head off to college. I also ponder these things from 1 am to 3 am most nights. What are we going to do the rest of our lives?! The only thing I know is that it involves running, no matter how slow I get...

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    1. You hit the nail on the head! Glad to hear I'm not alone in my thinking :)

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    2. You know what? Your post reminded me that I enjoy writing. I haven’t posted to my blog in a long time. Today I wrote. Not my best. But it felt so good do do that. Thank you for making me think a bit about what makes me happy!

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  2. Rough patch Beth, I'm sorry. Injury slow to heal on top of it taking away your stress release. Glad you have perspective amidst the frustration and strangeness. (and insomnia not helping...the middle of the night awake phases are tough...I know I've gone through that, think some stress, some health, some menopause stuff) Aging ain't for sissies, as they say.

    I changed careers at age 46. Just hit 6 years in my new job/career, which is much less adrenaline-driven, calmer, and still trying to make things better. Definitely the right move, and I could see myself retiring from this gig.

    I hope you find something you want to do - you're probably more qualified than you think! Make a list of all things you can do and have done (job and otherwise), then the ones you'd like to do, then see where that leads you...and in the meantime you can nail down what you require of a new gig. Could you go part-time in yours and use the free time to try something else? Brainstorm, no idea too crazy, maybe you'll find the seed of what you want to do next.

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    1. Such good advice, thanks for that. You are right, I probably am more qualified than I think. It's just getting others to see and believe it too! Also, it's always been so hard for me to pin down what I REALLY want to do - not just what is "good enough" or a default to what I've always done. Thanks!!

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  3. Occupational therapist here. I turn 50 in 2 weeks and I frequently discuss how being a therapist in rehab is for the young. It’s physically and mentally draining!
    I don’t have any clue what else I could do. Something where I don’t have to deal with people anymore. If stocking shelves in Barnes and Noble paid the same, I would be gone in a minute.
    Is this a midlife crisis?
    xo

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  4. I am living this too. Achilles injury, last kid off to college in two weeks and majorly losing my anchor of a job that I loved and appreciated for years. Wanting a change. Not sure it is possible. I tell my kids to go forth and try things. Then I can’t seem to get it going myself.

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  5. School psychologist here. Not sure I see myself in this forever, but also not sure I don't. I didn't see myself staying in the midwest for more than 3 years for school but 10 years later I'm still here and now a married homeowner. Felt like I needed a change so last year I cut off a foot of my hair and this year I'm moving to middle school from elementary (my first group of kindergarteners is stuck with me til they're teenagers!). When I think about what else I'd like to do, it's kind of a toss-up between what I'm interested in (relationships, always) and what I like to do (drink coffee, run, and knit) and think that some sort of mash-up between them (knitting circle therapist in a yarn/coffee shop situated in the mountains?) might be fun but who knows? I'm also not a mom so I'm not sure how that would impact things although I do sometimes think about fostering.....so I guess all I'm here to say is, whatever you do or don't do with your time, please keep writing about it - I love reading about your experiences, poop and otherwise!

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  6. Have you had a complete physical lately? I only ask because I’ve been trying to get back to running post hip-arthroscopy, and am having a devil of a time. In fact, I trained for a duathlon and did it despite never being able to run more than 3 consecutive miles - needless to say, the race was a bitch. I finally saw my primary doc who did a complete blood work out and it turns out I have Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism). I didn’t have any weight gain so I was surprised by the diagnosis, but it does explain my inability to progress with my running, constantly feeling sluggish and achy, etc. I was just assuming all along that my recovery was super slow, when there was actually an underlying health issue. I know low iron can cause similar symptoms - might be worth it to get a workup if things don’t improve.

    Re: the job front, I totally switched careers when I had kids and went from working in higher education to working with elementary school kids. I’m a school librarian now, but will probably transition back to higher ed. once my youngest (now 12 ) goes to college - summers off are wonderful but all that free time doesn’t exactly help with tuition. Agree that you can’t always do whatever you dream of and the reality of life/work can at times feel like (as my husband says) a cemetery for the soul. But, finding meaning in non-work activities is so valuable - I love that you have Heidi trained as a therapy dog! I’ve long since decided that work probably won’t be my crowning achievement in life, but I’m hoping I can make an impact and find fulfillment in other ways. Hang in there & I hope things improve for you soon.

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  7. I’m a 55 yo physical therapist and was the worst patient/complainer/“winey”(pun intended) baby when I got injured. But then I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had all my lady parts taken out.(All is good now). I have a whole new perspective on issues like injuries, slowing pace/race times, etc.

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    1. I bet. Something like that would really make you stop whining about all the small stuff. Glad you are doing ok

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  8. I'm a technology exec and going through a lot of the same things you are - 13 days out from arthroscopic surgery so I haven't run properly / enough since probably the end of January and I know I am going to suck wind when I get back out there. My youngest is heading into high school and I am thinking seriously about making a big change career wise but debating between a few different possible options and noodling on what I want my life to look like the next 5-10 years. Maybe this is our mid-life crisis? But as others have pointed out, we really are lucky to have choices and hopefully patience will pay off in all aspects of our lives...

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  9. Blog reader forever but not a regular commenter...49 in a few weeks and having a career “swerve”-much needed cause I can’t keep doing what i’m doing (hard physical labor and bad hours),so looking forward to a change.I didn’t think I was qualified to do anything else either but turns out I was wrong!
    I have one kid leaving for college too so I can relate,and I’ve sure had my share of injuries(um,chronic hamstring problems so I get it)
    Anyway-I don’t have answers either but do know that others are in your same boat(and enjoy reading about your life.Good to know we are not alone!,

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  10. 56 yr old Administrative Asst. Was in the entertainment industry in L A but was laid off at 50. Grabbed the first job offers me and landed in health care. I’m able to work a few days from home know and appreciate it but am getting tired of this role. Don’t know what else to do though.

    As far as running I’ve gotten lazy and uninspired in the Los Angeles heat. If I do 3-4 miles it’s a miracle.

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  11. I'm 51 and I also work from home. I have a high school freshman and senior. I freak out on a daily basis about what I'm going to do with my life as an empty nester. I am constantly having anxiety about my career. Too close to retirement to try something new, and what would that be anyway?? I also panic about stuff I haven't done with my life (traveling, mainly). Anyway, I think it is a mid-life menopause-induced crisis. I totally get what you are going through. Combined with a nagging injury must make it much worse.

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  12. For a while my job was being retired. Then I got lured out of retirement by a buddy to do some data migration stuff. "It'll be fun," she said. Well, it mostly has been. But what I really want to be doing is working on my books and photography.
    And since you asked so nice, my running has been crap. I haven't run for months. Finally decided to let my legs de-cranky themselves, and it's finally starting to work.

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  13. I’m also sidelined with an injury, pushing 50 and wondering whether I will stick with my current job for another 15 years. We should all start a book club! To make things worse, I just reconnected with a Canadian friend who is retiring next year from her teaching career just as her son is entering college, tuition free. Maybe we should all become free-college activists so at least our kids won’t have to pay for college for our grandkids?

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  14. I made a career change...from Mental Health Counselor to Special Ed teacher.... I’m 35 and just starting my second year of teaching and finally feel like I’m in the right job :) Career changes are hard but if I can do it anyone can (seriously!!) Love reading your stories....wishing you the best on your recovery!! You got this... xoxo

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    1. Good for you making the change. What a great feeling it must be to know you've found the right thing!

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  15. 54, didn't start running until I was just shy of 49. Last year I managed a 22:55 5k. My best half-marathon just below 1:43: and some change. Your blog helped inspire me to run. Don't stop running until you die. Shut up and run.

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  16. I don't have an injury but I can relate to this. I added up the days until I can reasonably retire and it was over two thousand. Don't do this. I'd like to do something different as well. I noticed a lot of us work from home. Maybe we all need a change of scenery.

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  17. If you knew how slow I am, how much I walk during EVERY DAMN MILE, and how high my HR escalates to like 170 at 3 minutes in at a 11:00 min/mile pace, you'd never would have guessed a couple years ago I did what I did. My body has shut down. My foot has a torn plantar plate. Running will never be the same for me - ever. And it's depressing as hell. But I still get out there and over the past 2 years, I'm becoming at peace with just being able to get out there. At 55, it's not easy. But we're doing it, right? I think you'll see vast improvements here soon.

    Oh, and I hate all my jobs.

    xo

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    1. Ahhhh....Jill!! Sorry to hear this, but I see how much you get out there and soak in the beauty of where we live. That's what it's about right? lol that you hate all your jobs. Maybe we should go into biz together??

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  18. I am 46 and was a SAHM for 15 years. I ran a MLM business for a couple of years in there but in April I decided to re-enter the workforce. My degree is in chemistry (I worked in my field for 8 years before having babies) and that’s a hard job to do from home. They tend to frown on you having a lab in your basement. So, I started exploring my options. Right now I work part-time at a coffee shop and I JUST completed my testing for my real estate license. It’s crazy scary and has been insanely busy but I’m excited right now. Check back in a year and see if I still feel the same. ;)
    Running, for me, has gotten much slower but I’m still getting the miles down and, frankly, I don’t care about pace. I’m glad you’re back at it. I’m sure it will get better for you!

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    1. Good for you switching up your career and finding something new that you like!!

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  19. Hi Beth. I just couldn't reach you by email. I wanted to include your thoughts in my expert roundup but couldn't reach you. The expert roundup is live and you can still be included if you're interested. Here's the link: https://steadyfoot.com/eat-race-day-breakfast/

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    1. Sure, I'd love to be included.

      My race day breakfast (for half marathon or marathon) is pretty minimal as I don't like a lot in my stomach when I run. I keep it bland and basic - usually a plain bagel with some jelly and a banana. I find this sits well and leaves room for me to easily take in gels/GUs while running. I'm also careful to start hydrating right when I get up so I start the race in pretty good shape. For a 5K or 10K might just have a banana before the gun goes off.

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  20. I can relate to this entire post. I sprained my ankle while trail running on April 4th. I'm still struggling to make it back. The ankle is finally okay, but now my shin and inside of my ankle hurt when I run. I "ran" five miles last week for the first time. It took forever. I am able to ride my bike without pain, so at least I'm able to move every day.

    I also made some life choices just before turning 50. My husband took a job with a company based in Hawaii. We kept our California home so we split our time there - I know, #FWP. 5 1/2 years later, we're still doing it. It was more important to live with my husband than to continue with the part time and volunteer work I had been doing. I tried keeping it up for a while, but our schedule is unpredictable, and I felt like I was letting too many people down. At the end of the day, our marriage is more important, so I do what I can, wherever I am. Life is all about trade offs.

    On being awake from 2-3 am, that comes and goes for me. I still haven't found an answer.

    Thanks for always keeping ii real here!

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  21. Nurse Aide, home hospice. Was a stay at home parent. Almost 41 and deciding to get bachelor's finished, Strengthening and Developing Families emphasis. I also run with athletes with disablities. I cannot be a Nurse Aide forever, it is very challenging. I had IT band issues after my first marathon last summer, the dry needling helped, the comeback involved the elliptical. I DID comeback. You will too.

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  22. I'm 35 and have loved my career choice since I made it (another epidemiologist) but it took 6 years in the workforce before I found a job I love. I can only describe it as hardest job I've ever had - and I do believe that is the crux of it, rather than it being epidemiology. I see myself doing this job until I reach a plateau and then I'll look for something else. I get the sense that you are missing this from most of your day to day lately, which would certainly make me question everything, too. So, perhaps time to see out a different challenge?

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  23. I'm a disciple of John Bingham (a back of the packer). I love running slow, I really enjoy the scenery and race. I quit running with certain peeps in my running club because all they do is bitch! They run a great race yet throw a temper tantrum like a child because they are x seconds off..... REALLY...????

    Ok your injured, sorry about that, But at this second someone is dying, getting chemotherapy, or whatever. If you wake up on the top side of the grass today is a good day.

    PS: I thought males only have mid-life crisis... YIKES!

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  24. I am about your age & seriously went through these same things with unfulfilling career for a couple of years...I hired a company called Purple Ink who did a very thorough assessment along with some consulting to help me figure out my life. :) I started a new job in April in somewhat the same area but a different role & with much more flexibility & it has been such a blessing for me! I would be happy to share the info for this company & the person I worked with if you'd like. Its all done on line & over the phone. Truly worth the $350 cost.

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    1. Wow, that's a really neat concept. I just might take you up on that

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  25. I feel your pain. When you identify as a runner, and can't run "normal", it affects your entire life. I am 56 and I love my job. But it would be very hard to change careers at this point in life, because I would rather retire!! I had shoulder surgery 6 months ago today, and still recovering. They say it takes a year to get back to normal, but that is a long time. It's been a dark couple of months. In trying to motivate myself, I've recently joined several volunteer organizations that I am passionate about, and don't take the time of a full-time job. Just keep writing your blog, because I love reading it!!

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  26. I'm 44 and the poster child for getting antsy/bored with my career, which explains the 2 Master's degrees and multiple positions in education (I've taught English, worked as a school counselor at the high school and elementary level, served as an academic advisor at a university, and now run a multi-faceted senior year program at a private school designed to transition them to college). My oldest goes to college this year and my younger two will both launch in the next 3-4 years (yes, I had 3 in 4 years) and I'm already thinking about what I want to do next when the youngest graduates in 4 years and I am not necessarily tied to my current school (where my kids attend). I get it. You're not alone.

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  27. Thank you for being honest! I’m 32 mom of 2 a 6 year old and a one year old. Right before getting pregnant I was the fastest I’ve ever been. Running half’s at about a 7:15/mile pace. Now I can barely find time to run and when I do I’m discouraged cause I’m running just a couple miles at 10min pace and it feels like I’m running much faster. I’m trying to remember this is just a season of my life that is different than before.

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  28. I know exactly how you feel darlin. To quote Armstrong, "At least you're not fat."

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  29. You are not alone! I don't have an injury I'm recovering from but I did stop running for 3 years and getting back into it has been pretty hard. As for not knowing what you want to do career-wise, I get that. I'm 46 and I went back to school 3 years ago(when I stopped running due to no time, life, you get it...) because I've had enough of my job which has never been a career but I've been at for far too many years.

    So yes, you can do *most* anything you want, it just takes you wanting it bad enough or, even knowing what you want. It's all a challenge!

    You WILL get your running stride back too!

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  30. After working almost 25 years full time (except for one year of maternity leave, I’m currently a stay at home mom and homemaker. Never thought I’d see myself suddenly not working...but when your hubby takes on a 2 year work assignment elsewhere you go along with it. Especially if it’s Switzerland.

    I’m only 3 months into and of course I love it. Did not realize how much I needed a break from work; more importantly, didn’t realize how disorganized our home life is....I’m glad to have this time to connect more with my daughter, organize our home life...and reflect on life and on myself.

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  31. Getting older is not for the wimpy. I have no doubt that you figure all this out in your irreverent way. I'm along for the ride, my friend. We got this.

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  32. I am also in the same boat. I'm at the top of my career, the kids are gone (well mostly gone) and we have already downsized. I should be "living the dream" but I am completely at loose ends and totally unsettled. I realized that I never had put together what my dream of retirement or being old would be like. I am running way too much because it is the only thing that I know I like. I don't want to fill my time with stuff just to pass the time. (I even tried knitting and threw the whole thing out.) So good luck and let us know how you has it out!

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  33. The 50's are hard. I'm glad that my son has been grown and gone for several years now, so I don't have that life change to mix in with a shitty and unwanted separation. I'm thankful to be injury free. Being a deputy and a runner does not mix well with injury. I can see myself doing my job for the 3 years I have left, so that's a solid thing in my life. I'm trying to figure out my retirement now since the goals my ex and I had are now not happening. Who knew getting older would be so difficult?? I think my next life goal will be to get a job at a winery!

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  34. Beth, I have been where you are now, when I was recovering from my 9 month rehab stress fracture on my left leg. You may not want to hear it but lower your expectations. Please keep at it, take your gains in small increments...it is better than not running. You will come back, we all know you will because we all read your blog because of the advice you give us. Keep moving forward....one foot at a time!

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  35. Heidi’s face! ��.

    Hang in there, Beth.

    I’m in IT and have been for 38 years. It’s been a stellar career for me. I’ve raised two kids by myself, and my career has supported us beautifully. I am grateful for that. I now see the retirement light at the end of the tunnel (126 weeks but who’s counting). Bring it on!

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  36. Hmmm this post makes me feel like I'm an early bloomer. I've been having this job angst for the last 5 years and I turn 45 this year. See, I'm early. Good luck with the search!

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