Wednesday, March 27, 2019

If You're Injured, You MUST Read This (or even if you're not...you will be one day so read it anyway)

Almost 11 months ago I was literally crying in my chardonnay.

The dirtiest word in the running dictionary had become my reality. I was injured. Not just "Oh-I-feel-a-niggle-I-better-take-a-day-off" injured, but the real deal.

Not to bore you if you know the story, but I was in the final three weeks of training for a 50k and fell on a very simple short run about 1/4 mile from my house. The result was a full tear of my left hamstring. The result was also that not only was I out of my 50k, I was likely out for the entire summer. And, it all happened in the blink of an eye.

That hurt
Even when I'm injured I'm reading about running
It was comfortable sitting on the toilet.

Therapy dog to the rescue

If you've been running long enough you've been there too. To a non-runner this scenario seems disappointing, but not devastating. But, for a runner, being injured is complex and heartbreaking (to be slightly dramatic) - it's not nearly as much about the physical pain as the mental/emotional anguish. Why is this the case?

  • We identify as runners and if we can't run, well, who the hell are we? 
  • We think we will never recover, or if we do we will have lost all of our fitness.
  • We have tremendous and unrelenting FOMO.

Being injured is time consuming and expensive. Physical therapists, sports med doctors, massages, dry needling, MRIs, blah, blah, blah.

Then.. we need to find something else to do outside of running to stay in shape. Don't make me throw up and tell me to run in the pool or get on the elliptical. I will punch you in the face then puke on your running shoes.

But, I'm not here to be a PITA and tell you what you already know. I'm here to give you hope.

Yes, after my injury I missed several races and countless gorgeous trail runs. Yes, I spent time in the pool and on the bike. No, the recovery process was not linear. I would feel better than worse again. When I started re-started running I felt like I had never run a mile in my life. I cried. A lot.

But, I kept showing up and never gave up.

About four months post injury, things started to feel just a bit better. I did my first race post-hamstring tear (10k). Probably my slowest 10k of my life, but  I was out there and I was ecstatic as hell.. Little by little I clawed my way back

And NOW...NOW...

I am fully healed. I feel fit and strong. Those months of no running don't really matter now and are just a blip on my memory screen. I am up to 40+ miles per week, and did my longest run since May last Saturday (15 miles of trails with 1,200 feet of vertical). I am signed up to the do the 50k I had to DNS last year.



I don't say this to brag, but I do say it to give you hope. When I am injured I NEED faith that I will be back out there, that I will regain my strength. I plead with anyone and everyone to give it to me.

Well, I am giving it to you right now. You are a runner, injured or not, and you will heal. You will be back to your frequent training runs and races. You will feel strong and pain free again. It's going to happen. Trust me. I have been here enough times to be able to say that with full confidence.

But...you have to do the work. Take care of yourself. Eat well, do your fucking PT exercises, get in the pool or on the bike. Get your rest. Then...when you get cleared to run again, be kind to yourself and be patient. It will not happen overnight and you will be pissed and frustrated. But, it will happen.

Trust me.

Are you injured now?

What has been the worst injury you've had?

SUAR

22 comments:

  1. I'm not injured but this f--king RA is really cramping my running style. Altho it's not technically an injury, so I can keep running, right? Begging my doctor for steroids as we speak...

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    1. That really does suck and I admire how you have perservered and stayed so active. It is tough b/c while injuries are typically temporary, RA clearly is not!! Keep at it girl.

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  2. I love your posts!!! You are the best writing the feelings about running. My favorite part of this post is: "Don't make me throw up and tell me to run in the pool or get on the elliptical. I will punch you in the face then puke on your running shoes" Haha. I hate when people or doctors said that to me, especially swimming (that I hate), but I was in the pool and elliptical for several months several times during the last two years. IT Band, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, etc. But I'm returning again because I love running. This time I won't skip my cross training and cool down. We will see what happens. Good luck with your coming back runnings and next races. I wish you the best.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for reading and the nice comment! I guess we all keep learning as we go. I know that if I'm going to keep running for a long time I'm going to have to do what it takes in terms of x-training and recovery...it's just part of it!

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  3. Thanks for the great post! i'm not injured right now but I have been, plenty of times (would be hard to pick a "worst" one) and everything you're saying is spot on. Looking forward to hearing all about the 50k!

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  4. I am just finally getting back to running pain-free after battling a hip injury (or rather, permanent condition, after the sports med doc told me my problem is shallow hip sockets aka hip displaysia) and it was frustrating AF. Thanks for the glimmer of hope! :)

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  5. As we speak I just got back from a run where I think I pulled my hamstring and am now sitting here icing it. Not nearly as bad as you (holy crap, those pictures!! It looks like your leg almost detached from your body. OUCH). But I'm really hoping it just "goes away" and I can run again after a few days. Not likely but I hope so!

    What you said about "now this is just a memory" no matter how torturous it was at the time is so true. The fact that I was injured and out for 7 months of 2017 is now just a memory in the past, as awful as it was at the time. Perhaps it was all the self-medicating wine I was administering during that time.

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  6. I really get your happiness. I tore 2 tendons from my heel. Oh yea. Plus it took forever for a correct diagnosis because when a runner says heel pain, the automatic response is Plantaar Fascitis. Anyway to be back running is the best feeling ever. Welcome back!

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  7. Very timely for me. I'm on forced "walk only" due to spinal fusion/facetectomy surgery. It'll be September till I can do anything but walk. :( I need to remember "just a blip on the radar" in the grand scheme of things!

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  8. It really is good to hear of stories where runners got injured and got back at it after a period of time. I am so glad you are back to running!

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  9. "But, I kept showing up and never gave up."

    A very valuable lesson for all. As a great space hero says, "never give up. never surrnender".


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  10. Thanks for this - I am out of the game trying to heal my stuffed knee (bursar, ruptured cyst behind knee and irritated patella cartilage). I'm doing endless physio exercises every second day, swimming when I could be bothered and cycling on the turbo occasionally. I miss running so much!!

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  11. When I fractured my fibula last October, I was devastated. It came out of nowhere, during a run, and 2 weeks after my 50k. I thought all hope was lost too, but now I am training for the Leadville marathon, and feel great!This year, I am also being a smart runner, and I am crosstraining!

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    1. Get it girl!! I know how strong you are. Leadville is probably my favorite marathon ever. And Kara Goucher will be there (beat her!)

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  12. Thanks so much for the encouragement! Battling with a chronich inflammation of the Achilles tendon. I've been out since January and missed to halfmarathons in Spain. Can't wait to join the running crew again.

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  13. bookmarked!!, I like your website!

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  14. OMFG You make me laugh, especially about the part I will throw up on your running shoes...I would of said in them but it made me chuckle!!!!! Glad your BACK !!!!! run on Trail SISTAH!!!!

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  15. Thanks for the encouragement!!! I was seen last March (2018) for ITB. It got better. BUT...after a couple of months running on the treadmill at an incline per PT, I now have bilateral runner's knee. I feel like it is never going to get better. and it is exactly as you describe. Some days it feels better and other days it makes me feel like my running days are over. I haven't been able to run in months and I am feeling like nobody can help me. Im trying to be patient but it is so hard. So thanks for a much needed boost today!!

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  16. I needed this!! I had knee surgery in December to cleaned out some floating cartilage in my knee. Recovery has taken twice as long due to slipping on ice and jumping in my sleep (don't ask, super embarrassing). I did IMWI in September and was training for IMFL when my knee stopped me dead in my tracks. For 6 months I've been suffering with FOMO and self-pity. Now I finally got clearance to run 1 min/walk 4 min intervals and its HARD!! How the mighty have fallen but you give me hop I will rise again. Love your posts!!

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    1. Well that just sucks. Hopefully with some time and patience, you will be running steady again. I HAVE to hear what the hell jumping in your sleep is.

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  17. Thank you so much for this post! I feel like I have been battling injuries this year. Nothing as bad as what you're dealing with, but a series of minor injuries that could blossom if not nurtured. I've had ITB issues, calf pain, plantar fasciitis, and a stress fracture in my foot. It is sooo frustrating when all you want to do is RUN!!
    So glad you are feeling better and able to get out there! Love your posts!

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