So I never knew this was a thing….shows how involved I am in the world of creating hashtags and events termed by hashtags. Regardless, yeah I’ll do it! I just race; I find them as they come, but I can accept a specified challenge. I know I didn’t run 14 races last year (due to being sidelined by my first stress fracture), so I would love to make 2015 my year of races 🙂
So how many of you have actually had a stress fracture? Horrible isn’t it? I can’t even begin to tell you how angry and frustrated I felt from the beginning of September through mid-November. I made it worse all on my own, which I am notorious for doing by the way! Being an athlete and cross country runner, we want to ignore the injury, pretend we don’t actually have it. So what do we do about it? Run through it! Haven’t we all heard that? Just run through it; it’ll make you feel better.
But it didn’t.
Yeah, Coach, not this time. He claimed my shin was just inflamed. So, naturally, I did not stop running on my stress fracture since I thought it was only inflammation. Thus, I prolonged my own injury, running on it until it became excruciatingly unbearable. Running on it until I wanted to cry and at the same time, chop off my own shin. When I get mad at my legs for not working properly…I tend to want to chop them off. I feel as though that’s the best solution, like another shin, or hamstring will grow in its place. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Regardless, we discovered that, oh gee, this isn’t just inflammation at all. I described how it was hurting and where, and Coach realized it was more serious. The pain really felt like it was inside my bone, like I had broken something within it and the two parts were rubbing against each other with each step. Walking became painful. Going down stairs is the worst with a fracture!
So I began cross training…A LOT. Swim, swim, swim. That’s all I can say. Bike, bike, bike. I guess I can say that too. Elliptical made itself available within a few weeks, but we wanted to keep as much pressure off my shin as possible for the bone to heal. This was like my IT band syndrome all over again (which that story is another post, another time). I had to cross train around twice a day, but what was even all the more frustrating was knowing that my fitness would slip. This ate me up entirely; I knew this would backtrack me so much, the thoughts were unbearable. I had just had an incredible summer of races (see my gallery of pics on my sidebar menu) and now I was going to have to rebuild?! Build my base back up?! Come on!! I felt like I was just getting into the swing of things then
BAM! Sidelined again.
But like previous injuries, this one is no different. I learned a lot from it.
- I learned that I need to stay and keep with my freakin strength routines. (runners hate doing strength, we just want to run. Can I get an Amen?) Consistently having and executing a solid strength routine is CRUCIAL. I can’t stress this enough, especially if you’re a skinny, tiny distance runner like me. I have horrible hips. They constantly need strengthening and attention. When I neglect strengthening my key joints, problems happen. Like stress fractures and IT band syndrome. (well that’s overtraining too)
- I learned that I can still be happy for others and their running. Some of my friends were training for their first half, and I’m over here like, gee, isn’t that fantastic. You probably won’t ever have to experience what I have. But I learned to push such very negative thoughts out of my head and focus on being happy for my friends and their new accomplishments. We all have our rain, but we don’t need to rain on those who currently have the sun. Let them have their time to shine.
- Above all, I was humbled again and learned to appreciate every single run. Being injured is one of the most humbling experiences there is. You can’t go and go and go without experiencing road bumps. And because I am a follower of God, I also see injuries as a time when He’s wanting to scream something at me that he’s been trying to say for a while. Running is a gift; it is a tremendous gift. Be grateful for your legs, that they even work properly and you are able to do this. Be grateful for the miles and miles you can go, because there are thousands who are physically unable to go one. I learned to also be grateful for EVERY run, EVEN the slow ones. Again, every run is a gift. Do not take any one of them for granted, even when coming back from an injury.
Isn’t it incredible?
You and I are allowed to come out of an injury and setbacks without detrimental and permanent repercussions (unless you had your leg amputated or something). But the point of the matter is, even when we do have the rain, we still have the sun. Because we can shine again. Because our clouds shift eventually. Because the sun has always been inside of us, waiting for its chance to break through.