Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I am injured therefore I am insane.

If you've had an injury before, you understand what a neurotic mess you turn into. And if you've haven't, I hate you.
First:
*you analyze every training run previous to the injury down to the shoes, speed, and incline.
This is not something you want to repeat therefore finding the root cause is essential in making sure it doesn't happen again. Then, calling yourself an idiot for not seeing it previous is helpful in this process.
*you make immediate plans to keep your cardiovascular shape intact for the glorious day when you can run again. This means you are willing to stuff yourself into a swimming suit, subject yourself to inhumane amounts of chlorine, and shave yourself all over even when it's not summer. It also means you will sit on a hard, triangle shaped torture devise for miles upon miles clipped in and strapped to a fast moving two wheeled contraption while the panic of being hit by a passing car is surpassed by the drive to get your heart pumping and legs moving.
*you start to wonder whether "other activities" are cardiovascular and therefore have additional value. You husband tells you they are. You consider wearing a heart rate monitor and setting your interval timer but decide that would ultimately ruin the mood.
*If you are a woman you worry about your pant size expanding in the weeks that you will go without running. Swimming, weights, and biking do not equal the happiness that running provides and therefore do not burn as many calories.
*You are on an emotional roller coaster that consists of the grieving stages. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Only it doesn't end with acceptance. It just continues to circle around and around. Your family and spouse will suffer right along with you. They may consider institutionalization.
*And finally, when your pain is gone and you are ready to move on... the fear of repeat pain and injury is right around the corner, waiting. Like some horrible creature lurking in the darkness, ready to pounce on you again and laugh at you in some cruel fashion.
*Surely you have something to add to my list, right?

The past few weeks might have been slightly better than I've described, but only just on the outside. On the inside, in the deep recesses of my mind, I have been insane. During the week, I have been able to remain very positive. I am excited to do other activities and keep my cardio up and the push up challenge has been fun and hard. I am excited at the improvements I am seeing. I have found ways to push myself in the pool and on the bike. But it's just not the same as running.
Thursday I woke up and gingerly stepped out of bed. I was surprised to find that I had zero pain. It was glorious. I wanted to dance around the house. But I was cautious. I had only a few twinges of pain that whole day. I had hopes of running on Saturday. It also happened to be the day that my best friend and running partner, Heather found out that she has a stress fracture in her foot. She's been in pain for 8 weeks now. She did get an x-ray earlier that didn't show it. She then was told that it was tendonitis only to have it worked on for 4 weeks and have little improvement. So this was a big blow. She has 3 weeks in a boot and on crutches and then probably another 3 weeks just in the boot. And if that isn't bad enough, her other foot hurts too, but doesn't show a stress fracture, yet. I was really getting ready to go get my foot x-rayed too, just to make sure. And then I had a really good day. Until I went to spinning and it hurt afterwards. Friday was o.k. Slight pain again.
And then Saturday came. I am alway so positive through the week until Saturday comes. I think I figured out why. For the last 2 years I have woken up on Saturday morning and have gone on a long run. Sometimes it's the earliest I wake up all week long. Usually no one else in my house is awake. I run and recharge and when I come home, everyone has done their chores (thanks to my husband) and the rest of the day is just waiting. Now, I eat breakfast and wander around the house wondering what I'm going to do with my day. Sure I could do laundry or clean...but really? So after moping around all day long, my husband MADE me go on a run. I cried. I told him I didn't want to hurt myself further. I cried about not knowing what to do, worrying that it's a stress fracture, it not showing up on an x-ray, and just not knowing what it is or who to go to. He told me to go get dressed and to go on a just a little run to test things out. That way I would know for sure what to do. I did and then had the dilemma of what to wear on my feet. My husband thinks it's the monkey feet causing the problem. He thinks that our feet are not meant to be spread apart like that. And he might be right. So I decided that I would be the lightest and most careful just in my bare feet. It would keep me from going too far. And as crazy as it seems, the harder the surface and the less you have on your feet, the softer you will land. So I took off with my Evo's in hand and went really slow. It was amazing. The slight pain in my foot went away after a little bit and everything loosened up. I've been so worried about my feet getting all soft from that stupid pool, but they actually felt pretty good.
One of my favorite parts about running barefoot is feeling all the different textures and temperatures. I like running through shady parts and feeling the difference from the warm asphalt to the cooler parts. I like the sidewalks and smooth asphalt and pebbly roads and hate, hate, hate the chipped asphalt. I only wore my shoes to cross a busy street and enjoyed the rest of the run barefoot. I did 5 miles and though it was slow, it was like medicine to my soul. It felt easy and relaxed. My foot felt better when I was done than when I set out. My foot did hurt again the next day a little, but not bad. And the last two days have been even better.
Now I have to figure out how to get back into running without hurting myself again and I need to make decisions on upcoming marathons. I still have a road ahead of me and I'm not sure I'm better. I still have a little bit of pain. But at least the neurotic part of my brain was cleared out for a few minutes. And if you ask my husband, I really needed it.
We had spring break this weekend and everyone was home. It was wonderful. I'm so behind on your lives, but I'm going to get caught up now!

Monday: week 3 push ups, 60 minutes pool running
Tuesday: 60 minute spin class
Wednesday: week 3 push ups, upper body weights and abs, 60 minutes pool running
Thursday: 60 minute spin class
Friday: week 3 push ups, upper body weights and abs
Saturday: 5 mile barefoot run

40 comments:

Julia said...

JEN!!

I am SO happy for you!! what a great run. I related to every single bullet point you listed. Seriously...if I have not spent every moment of the past 2 months analyzing every run in the month of February...then I analyze every ounce of pain I have. Then I go running and my anxiety decreases until I run again...In between runs it is back to worrying all the time again. One long continuous cycle. blah. I am so relieved that you feel similar and that I can relate to your experience...I have tried to explain it to others but feel like I just sound crazy!

Hope this week continues to go well for you and I am excited to hear about your upcoming race plans :)

have a good day!!

Wendy said...

So glad you were able to run!!

Yes, I can totally relate to that list.

misszippy said...

What a great post! I can SO relate to all of your points. Injuries just break us down mentally, don't they?

So glad you seem to be in the clear...keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

Vanessa Kennedy said...

Your list is hilarious! I can definitely relate.

Also, woohoo for running again! Sounds like a nice run!

BeePieRuns said...

So glad you had a good run! And hopefully that foot will continue to heal up. I totally relate to the injury issues - several years ago I had a stress fracture in my hip and it was awful! It was shortly after weaning my daughter and I've always wondered if that was part of the cause. As I am about to start nursing again with baby #3 (if she ever gets here!) I'm already getting nervous about potential injuries.

Britt said...

Coming back from injury is always tough. Keep your head up and your heart strong. You seem to be making good progress, and you can never be too cautious getting back into the swing of things. Hang in there!

Julie said...

Oh boy! The first part of this post had me ROLLIN' ON THE FLOOR!! All that talk of shaving, stuffing and "other activities" and HR monitoring those "activities"...You crack me up :D

TAKE CARE OF YOU!

bobbi said...

Wondering about "other activities" and "your husband tells you they are"...bwahahahaha!!

Can so relate, even while giggling. I'm so glad that things are looking better!

Jogging with Fiction said...

woohoo!!! I'm so excited for you!!

p.s. my husband's a runner, too, but he too is convinced that "other activities" have the same cardio benefits. Imagining a heart rate monitor kills me!

Nelly said...

Wow, this post is literally exactly what my mind has been going through over the past month or so. It's like you took the words out of my mouth. From denial, acceptance, analyzing why it happened, etc. I feel like I'm going crazy emotionally because I can't run. I think mentally I'm at the point where I don't care anymore, so I've started to write off my race goals for this year, until I can actually get back out there and run. I've never really been injured before until now, it is incredibly challenging mentally. All I want is to be able to run again pain free, and I have no idea how long it will be until I can do so. Glad to hear that you were able to go running, I hope that your injury problems go away soon.

Rachelle Wardle said...

Jenn you had me laughing hysterically! You are so cute and so honest and I could completely relate to everything you mentioned.

I am definitely thinking about you and hoping you get to run the races you are signed up for. Best of luck! I'm sure you could go the rest of your life without stepping foot in another stupid chlorine infested pool. :)

marathonmaiden said...

great run and AMEN to the first part of the post. i'm on the verge of being "healed" from my injury and the past 5 weeks have been exactly as you described!

Missy said...

Good job on your run, sometimes you just have to go for it!

One heart and mind said...

oh girlfriend I am so there mentally with everything you said...and no one gets it at my house! Thank goodness I have a friend who gets it.

Sam {fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com} said...

i've totally suggested wearing a heart rate monitor for the "other activities"...my husband looked at me like i was a lunatic!!

Teamarcia said...

Oh gosh I so relate! Yes injuries break us down physically and mentally but then we come clawing, scratching back, even stronger and more determined than before. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Awesome, awesome run! So happy for you!

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

Um, you described my last 7 weeks to perfection. I can't even tell you how alike we are. Between trying to keep my cardio shape, shaving for swimming (which you really hate), the grieving stages and reliving each and every training run......you nailed it. Billy has suffered with me and I feel so bad. POOR HEATHER!!! Stupid X-ray not showing stress fractures earlier on. I am SO Happy that you were able to get out there and run FIVE MILES!! I am praying for you and I am ALWAYS here to talk to. LOVE YOU!!

Joanne said...

Good job on the come back. You made it. Now run, carefully, but run!

Elle said...

Way to go on the 5 mile run. So happy you are feeling better. And barefoot!

Karl said...

My stress fracture didn't show up on the X-ray so luckily my doc ordered an MRI & it showed up there.

Like the others said, this post is right on the money & hilarious!

Penny said...

Great post Jen. I think alot of us can so relate to what you are going threw. It is so fustrating. So happy for you to get 5 miles in . Just take it slow and easy.

Mallory said...

Jen! I wanna know more about that barefoot run!

Holley @ Lunges and Lashes said...

amen to everything you just said! i haven't been running for 1 1/2 weeks now and every single one of those thoughts has been going through my mind too! ah! why are we so nuts! hang in there, i am glad to hear it is getting better!

Danielle said...

I can totally relate to all of this right now. Stupid broke foot.
SO glad you got to run!!!

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

I am the same way on saturday mornings. But I am so glad you got in a run, slow but steady!

Pam said...

WAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOVE your list! It rings so very true.

Michael said...

Jen; I've attached a paragraph from my last post about "embracing the suck". I feel for you; no doubt about it, injuries suck!

This is where the race begins to suck and defeatist thoughts creep into the brain.

...."embracing the suck". Yes, your body hurts. Yes, it would be nice to stop. Yes, life sucks here and now. The power in embracing the suck is to use all this negativity is a way that will help and not hinder. Thus, embrace the suck. Use it to propel yourself forward. Embrace it. Accept it. Understand that it's part of the life force of running a marathon.

Stay positive Jen. You are a strong runner!

M

Mel said...

That really sucks! I'm so sorry... hope you are back to running long again soon:)

Audrey said...

Just what I needed to read. I completely understand and agree 100% - my IT Band is flaring up - BOO! Which means lots of swimming and biking. Or short 2 mile runs which don't even seem to count. I've been analyzing everything too. I'm so glad your foot is doing better and I hope it stays that way!

Alma said...

I'm so glad you got to run! Totally understand the neuroses and hope you don't have to go back there

Stephanie said...

I'm sooo glad you got that run in! I hope it just keeps getting better and better. :)

B.o.B. said...

i'm glad you got out there. nothing really is like the run though is it? it's a shame b/c of injury when we have to sit one out. i'm not sure what monkey feet are but i hope you are on the road to recovery.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Oh gosh, I bet your post hits home for so many runners out there--I am trying to learn from you and others on prevention.

I see that 5 mile barefoot run scheduld for this weekend!!!! YAY!!! ENJOY beautiful jen!!

Amanda@runninghood said...

I can so relate to so many of the points you listed. I was so depressed with my hamstring tear. It hurt all night and day and I was so obsessive with my thinking. I was willing to swim constantly so that I didn't lose my fitness. Uggh, i hate getting in cold pools. It was definitely so hard. I am so glad that you are getting back into it. Good for you for going slow. Gosh, you paint such a beautiful picture of barefoot running. Makes me want to try it out. :) Oh, and thanks for saying I'm not a Muffy. :)

runs with boxers said...

Can you imagine a place where all injured runners are institutionalized until they heal and can run again? It would be ridiculous! Glad you're able to get back out there, keep your head up!

Scallywag said...

I can relate to this SO much. I hated being laid off with shin splints and spent my time wondering how much swimming it took to have 'done' a six miler, how fat I was getting, how frustrated I was at being stuck in and not allowed to run in the rain (which I love). I also got annoyed that I wasn't getting muscle stiffness cause I felt that I hadn't worked hard enough in alt cardio!

We runners are mad :P

Also the bit about 'other activities' cracked me up!

ashley & sundance said...

It was SOOO good seeing you again today! It had been WAY too long! I'm so glad your feet are feeling better! I really hope things continue to go well so we can run Ogden together! :) :) :)

Chels said...

Awesome run girl! You really hit the nail on the board with injury. I recently overtrained for a race pretty hardcore, I too am slowly trying to get back into running the right way so I dont overtrain again. My Saturdays were alaways consumed with getting up early and getting my endorphine high, I am not used to just taking an hour of my day for my workout and calling it good.

keri and taylor said...

Love reading your blog! It's so crazy how us runners feel like it's the only good workout. I go crazy if I can't run! It's the only way to stay in shape right?!? When I'm injured I feel like I am going to put on 20lbs even though I probably workout more to compensate :) Hope you heal quickly!

Christy said...

I am loving your blog.