When I first started this blog, I knew this post was inevitable. When I first started this blog, I was recovering from an injury and just returning to running. When I first started this blog, I was so mad at my injury that I decided to run a marathon.
That was nearly 3 years ago. Surprisingly, not much has changed since then. I’ve been injured for 33 days and haven’t run since my last race, 30 days ago. (Yes, I ran that race injured. Yes, running that race injured made my injury worse. Yes, I’m an idiot.) And recently, I signed up for another marathon.
So if you were wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately, that’s why. Injuries are stupid. Injuries are depressing. Injuries take you 50 trazilmilbillion steps back in your training process. But, injuries also give you a break when you need it, teach you that you aren’t made of steel, and remind you of all the things you take for granted while healthy.
I’m one of those types of people who get sick, injured, and have to go through emergency surgery WAY more often than a normal person. In the past few years, I’ve suffered from pneumonia, pinched nerves, had to have my gall bladder removed, and got umpteen colds/flus/random bouts of sickness at least once a month, usually right before a race. I’m soooooo lucky like that.
Run-of-the-mill illness that keeps me away from working out/running for a few days, I can totally handle. However, when I am told by my doctor, “Don’t plan on running for the next few months” it’s like a knife to the heart. Those words literally hurt my soul. And I leave the doctor’s office feeling super pissed off and very, very upset.
The first time I was injured, it was due to overuse. I was training for the Oakland half marathon 2011 and running way too much just because I didn’t know any better then and because… well… I love running! Just weeks before the race, I was unable to run even one measly mile without sheer, intense pain along the outside of my left leg, from knee to hip. I was diagnosed with ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome), a very common running injury.
First time I’ve had to drop out of a race. I burned the race shirt.
In this current case, I’m embarrassed to admit, my injury is due to being a drunken dummy on my birthday.
It was my birthday okay, I have no other excuse. Multiple tequila shots resulted in me literally running around the streets of Oakland like a total fool in heels (I’m calling that the Hot Mess 1K) and then falling onto my back, onto the pavement several times. 2 days later, I wasn’t able to move, laugh, cough, or even yell at my kids without EXCRUCIATING pain in my left side. I thought the hangover was bad enough, but WOW painful painy pain.
One trip to the doctor and some x-rays later and yours truly gave herself a fractured rib. Happy freaking birthday to me.
Doctor: No exercising or running for 4 to 8 weeks.
Me: Hahaha, you’re funny.
Doctor: I’m not kidding, Laura, you have to take this seriously. There is nothing I can do for this rib, but you have to make sure you rest as much as possible.
Me: I don’t rest. I’m not really good at that. Look, you made me cry.
Doctor: Well, if you want to get back to running sooner than later then you have to rest.
Me: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING TO ME? Seriously, this makes no sense.
Doctor: You. Must. REST!!!!!
Me: FINE. Grrrrrrrrr… (yes, I growled at my doctor and followed that up with a really nice stink-eye. Best patient ever.)
So getting an injury that is running-related is one thing; getting an injury that isn’t running related but then keeps you from running is another…The first weekend following my diagnosis, hubby graciously took the kids away for the weekend so I could focus on all the resting. I woke up Saturday morning, looked around the house and thought, “Hmmmm… what’s missing? Isn’t there something I’m supposed to be doing right now?”
And then I realized what it was- for the first time, in a very long time, I didn’t have to charge my Garmin or iPod, and I definitely didn’t need to lay out a sports bra, tech tee, capris, socks, hat, shoes, water belt, water bottle, electrolytes, body glide, sunscreen, and favorite Gu. So, guess what? I rested.
Despite the fact that that I deeply miss running now with a month off, I honestly am enjoying being free of all the details of endurance running, knowing full well that I will be right back at it in a couple weeks. This injury also coincided with a 2 week trip to Europe and with no pressure to run, I took a TON of pleasure in relaxing, not working out, walking for hours, and eating all the things.
I worked out yesterday and again today and am feeling good. I’m a tad fearful to start running again but am going to give it a go for 3 miles on Thursday just to see how it feels… laces crossed I’ll find the happy, pain-free place within my pace! Wish me luck!
How about you, how do you handle injury? How do you cope with this thing they call “rest” and not running for months on end? How do you get back on track with your training? Has anyone ever felt like a stronger runner after successfully recovering from an injury? And, do you drink tequila? If so, you can officially have alllllllll of mine.