A runner who isn’t running

It’s been 11 months since my last injury-free run.

It’s been nine months since my last run.

As each day passes, I feel less and less like a runner. I try not to think about running or not running since it just puts me in a bad/sad mood.

But, it has been nice when others make comments to me, treating me like the runner they knew before I got my stress fracture.

One friend who is currently training for an IRONMAN, recently messaged me on Facebook asking for running advice. She asked me for any nearby hilly running route recommendations because she needs to do more hill training in preparation for her race.

I was touched that she reached out to me and responded with a few of my go-to routes. (Yes, Discovery Park, you obviously made the list!)

And then I was chatting with a colleague who used to work on my team and she asked me if I was running again yet. When I told her that I wasn’t and that I have still been experiencing off-and-on knee pain, her response was something along the lines of, “Wow, that must be really hard for you. After all, several of us on the team ran but you were the only real runner among us.”

I was beaming on the inside that she called me a real runner.

We’ve been having a few sun breaks in Seattle in the midst of all the dumping-rain spells. I do still gauge the temperature based on whether it would be running-shorts-weather or not.

So, some runner instincts still cannot be erased.

 

Injured runner: The best workout of my year

There are a lot of things I miss about running.

Alone time. Being able to take myself on my own two feet home for five miles after work rather than drive or take a (delayed again!) bus. Spending time with friends. The sound my feet make as they hit the pavement. The freeing feeling. The stillness when on the trails. Not being afraid of the rain.

The endorphins.

I can’t say I received that same runner’s high at my friend’s spin class on Sunday, but I sure had the best workout of the year (so far!)

I’ve been very good about going to the gym at least six days a week, if not daily. I alternate between spinning on the stationary bike and using the elliptical. I try to push myself to a good pace where I’m sweating. But, in all honestly, most times I don’t feel that tired after my workout. I do add on strength and core exercises after time on the cardio machines and always feel like doing multiple forms of plank is way more tiring than an hour on the elliptical!

What I’m trying to say is that the spin class was a nice change of pace. It really had me pushing myself. And, even though I couldn’t do everything that everyone else in the class was doing — like standing while on the bike while doing our “hill repeats” — I felt a sense of real exercise accomplishment at the end of the class.

I even felt like taking a nap in the afternoon, which felt akin to wanting to nap after a nice long run during my marathon training days.

It was good to have that familiar tired feeling again.

Spring things

It’s mid-April but I keep forgetting it’s spring.

While I’m not wearing it daily, I’m still wearing my puffy-down jacket in rotation because the mornings and evenings are still cold.

Oddly enough, I usually rely heavily on Claritin because my allergies really flair up during this time of year but so far, nothing! I know, I know, this is a really good thing! But, a part of me makes me wonder if maybe my allergies aren’t bad since I’m not spending as much time outside since I’m not running.

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I have enjoyed the sun breaks we have seen. I have enjoyed the return of baseball and cheering on the Seattle Mariners and having hope since well, it’s the start of a new season 🙂

I’m looking forward to warmer weather and outdoor BBQs. I’m looking forward to next month when the neighborhood outdoor pool will open and I’ll be able to swim outside in the sun! I’m looking forward to putting my boots away and wearing my Birkenstock sandals.

Ok, so maybe those above items are more summer-related for Seattle.

Spring, are you really here?

Status: Did Not Start

DNS.

Is it ironic that my second DNS (did-not-start) race was a 10K? (A 10K that was the same course even though a different race!)

I decided not to walk the Tenacious Ten 10K on Saturday. I decided not to volunteer at the race and cheer on my friends and teammates.

For me, being around runners who are pushing their limits, setting PRs and finishing races with smiles on their faces isn’t the sound of a fun morning for me in my current state.

I do support them. I just choose to do so from afar and through social media.

Because, I’ve been having a lot of ups and downs in terms of “being OK” being injured.

Instead of doing anything related to the race, I went with Phyllis to a journal meet-up at a coffee shop with other like-minded crafty people. Phyllis encouraged me to buy a Traveler’s notebook last fall and I have been using it as another hobby since I can’t currently run. She’s tried to convince me to go to these journal meet-ups with her in the past but I always (kindly) declined. This time I went though.

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It was fun seeing how other people use their journals and the different supplies — and washi tapes! — they own. It makes me want to focus more on getting the pages of my journal to be more aesthetically pleasing rather than focus on my bum knee.

My running budget (new kicks, clothes and race entries) may quickly all go towards purchasing expensive crafting materials.

We’ll see.

“To race” or not “to race”

When being overly optimistic fails you.

I signed up for this 10K six months ahead of race day. At the time, I was two months into a recovery of “somewhere between six weeks and six months” and figured that if anything, I would be able to walk-jog the course.

Not the case, at all.

I’m definitely nowhere near walk-jogging seeing that I still have knee pain every once in a while from doing whatever random task it may be (standing, sitting, walking or during exercise …)

The race is this weekend.

I’m not even upset about the wasted race entry money. About a month ago I came to terms that I would just walk the race since the 10K is open to both runners and walkers.

But, now I am reconsidering.

There will be a lot of friends and teammates and people I know at this race. I don’t really want to be walking 6 miles while designated “cheer stations” have to encourage me and keep me in high spirits. I really don’t want to have to tell my injury story again to folks I haven’t seen in a while.

Being injured makes you feel like the black sheep.

Am I being childish? Should I just get over it?

Talk to me when you’ve been a lifelong runner who has been sidelined from running for eight months and injured for almost a year.

Instead of “racing” the race, I’m considering volunteering at the race since I saw an email from the race director seeking additional volunteers. Or, maybe I’ll go to the March for Science. Or, a journal meet-up that a friend has invited me to. Or, maybe I’ll just keep my distance from people all together and enjoy a walk on my on time for Earth Day.

There’s a lot of possibilities and options for my Saturday morning plans.

Running is not one of them.

When you no longer feel like a runner

I’m realizing that it’s quite difficult to maintain a (mostly) running blog when you’re not running.

It’s tiring to write over and over again about how I still can’t run.

When I get together with friends who I haven’t seen in a while, their reactions are always the same: Wait, you are still injured? But, it’s been so long!

I had back-to-back activities during a recent weekend so I had planned to go straight to the gym after helping with a friend’s bridal shower hosted at my parents’ house. When my mom saw me in my running clothes, her reaction was: Oh, good! You’re going to go enjoy the sun and go for a run! 

For some reason she forgot that I’m still injured. Probably because I try not to talk about it anymore.

I’m tired of talking about how I am injured.

The other week I ran into a former Team In Training teammate who was training for the Alaska Half Marathon last year when I was training for the Alaska Full. She works at my organization but in a completely different department so our paths hardly ever cross. She was shocked to hear that my stress fracture is still healing — now eight months since I stopped running.

As I started telling her the story of how I got my first MRI and then the pain came back and then I got a second MRI (this time with contrast), I kept thinking, why am I sharing this story? I hate this story. I’m tired of telling this story.

It was memorial day weekend of last year when I first experienced pain in my left knee. Maybe at the one-year mark it will all be over?

I really hope my injury-story will end soon and that I’ll have a new story to share.

A comeback story.

Be the match

[Note: I wrote this post at the end of December and with the holidays and going out of the country, I never published it. But, this is something important to me, so I am sharing it now.]

Natalie never made it to the point of being healthy enough for a bone marrow transplant.

I’d like to think that if she had, there would have been a match waiting for her.

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Because, not all blood cancer patients who require a bone marrow transplant for treatment have a family match. This means they need a donor — someone who is not related to them who happens to be a match.

Somewhere in between working in health care field for four years and the impact Natalie has had on my life, I’ve known I wanted to join the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. It’s “just a cheek swab” to join the registry. If you’re matched with a patient in need, then, well, it’s a little more than that.

“Doesn’t it hurt?” people have asked upon learning I finally joined the registry.

Yes, drawing liquid marrow out of the back of your pelvic bone with a needle doesn’t sound fun. But, it could save someone’s life.

Natalie was 17 years old when she passed away. My friends and I were 17 mourning the death of our dear friend. Kids shouldn’t have to mourn the death of their friends. At 17, we were all still just kids.

So, I’m just doing all that I can do, while I can, to help others who need it.

I know that Natalie would do the same.