From injured to beyond angry

I skipped my swim today.

I was so mad, so angry about not being able to run that swimming — my “substitute” to running — just felt like a slap in the face.

When a family member suggests that you “not run any more marathons” in the future, how are you supposed to receive that? I’m injured. I have a stress fracture that is healing at a snail’s pace. Sure, I think about running all the time but I am in no manner thinking about when my next marathon will be. And, of course I have had flickering thoughts about whether or not I will even decide to run a marathon again.

I know I’m not the only injured runner in the world. I know there are people who have experienced far worse set-backs in their life.

But, in my little world, it’s all a big deal.

I have a second opinion scheduled for next month — the soonest I could be seen, of course — and this appointment is now my one glimmer of hope.

I still do have hope somewhere deep inside.

(Even if I feel broken, frustrated and beyond angry).

Injured runner: I’m having a hard time with my weight

I wouldn’t say I was ever a person who had “body issues.” I ate whatever I wanted to when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. Because I exercised regularly — and let’s be real, I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater — I was pretty content with my weight and how I looked.

But, I’m having a hard time right now.

As an adult runner who is pretty in tune with her body, this is the third time I have had one of these “I’m having a hard time with my weight” moments.

Four-and-a-half years ago, I lost a noticeable amount of weight (without meaning to), and it freaked me out.

And then a year-and-a-half ago, I gained some weight and was having trouble accepting it. I eventually returned back to my “normal” weight but my issue now is that since I’ve stopped running in August, I have gained approximately ~8 pounds.

Being an injured runner is hard enough but now I have to deal with weight issues too??

When I went in for a doctor’s appointment at the beginning of the year, I stepped on the scale and when the nurse marked 136, my stomach sunk. It was validation for what I had been fearing for the past several months: I’ve gained a significant amount of weight.

My “normal” weight is typically around 127/128.

Some of my pants are tighter than they used to be. Some shirts are a little more fitted than I want them to be. The worst part is that I do not feel good about myself. 

My stomach area feels huge. And I have been exercising daily, but it’s all just not the same as running.

I’ve brought this up with a few friends and their responses are pretty similar: I’ll lose the weight when I start running again … I look the same, I have nothing to worry about …

But, I do not feel the same. 

And, I’m trying to take the steps to feel better. (It started with stopping calling myself fat). It’s also continuing with not stepping on a scale until I feel better with myself. 

Because really, the number on the scale isn’t so much what is bumming me out. It’s how I feel that is.

Injured runner: I’m having a hard time swimming

Things OK to do while on the mend:

  • Walking
  • Elliptical-ing
  • Biking/spinning
  • Core and strength training
  • Swimming

Things not OK to do well on the mend:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Bearing weight on my knee (so like, table top/cat/cow position in yoga would all be a big fat no!)

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of consistently doing all but the swimming on my first list. I stopped going to yoga altogether after I talked to my doctor about a month ago to get specifics on what I can and cannot do while I let my stress fracture heal. I know I can still go to yoga but that I wouldn’t be able to do all the moves everyone else is. (So far, I haven’t gotten the courage to go back).

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So, why is swimming so hard? I’ve done it before.

But, my doctor had also told me to avoid breast stroke when I swim — too much kicking of the leg/knee out that could cause aggravation to the injury. Um, as a runner where swimming is not my forte, breast stroke was my saving grace! Now that I have to do the crawl the entire time, swimming is way more stressful and tiring and time consuming.

Right now, I only have the lung capacity to do two laps (so out-and-back twice) of the crawl. After two laps I am winded. I am gasping for air and my heart is beating pretty quickly. I hate having to pause/take a break, especially if there are other swimmers in the lane — it just messes up with the whole flow!

So, what do I do? Just keep going to the pool and get better? The last two times I went to the pool, I spent a majority of my time using the kick board. I wouldn’t mind doing backstroke either, but this takes skill if you have to share the lane with others …

It’s also hard to get better at swimming when I only go once a week. But, the lap swim schedule and my work schedule and how crowded the pool gets on Saturdays leaves me with just Sunday swim days.

Maybe I’ll try aqua jogging. That doesn’t take being in the lap lane. I keep running into my old high school cross country coach at the pool and he’s been telling me to aqua jog instead of doing mindless laps back and forth if I hate it so much.

Maybe I don’t need to get any better at swimming. Maybe I’ll just stay in the slow lane and kick board the entire time.

But, it would be nice for my workout to not take an hour plus …

Injured runner: What’s next?

OK OK, so I’ve been really bad at blogging while injured. But, let’s be real. Who wants to read about a runner who whines about not being able to run? I guess my fellow injured runners?

I haven’t been feeling well the past few days — caught a darn head cold — so I don’t really want to delve too much into things right now since I don’t think I can concentrate for much longer but here are a few notable things:

  • I spent more days in February at the gym than not at the gym.
  • I’m having a hard time swimming (more on this in detail later).
  • I’m having a hard time with my weight (more on this later).

As I type this my knee is hurting … which is frustrating since I haven’t exercised in four days (due to the cold!) **insert crying emoji**

For now, I’m going to focus on recovering from this cold. Then, I’ll get back to all those IOU blog posts I mentioned above.

Let’s hope March blogging is more frequent than January and February combined!

For the love of running

You’ve been with me during my highest of highs. You’ve been with me during my lowest of lows. You’ve caused me heart ache time and time again.

You’ve taught me to work hard. You’ve taught me that I can reach above what I think I’m capable of achieving. You’ve taught me to eat properly and get at least eight hours of sleep a night. You’ve taught me patience.

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And, above all, you’ve brought me to some of my most valuable people in life and have helped strengthen our relationships. You introduced me to my BFF. You helped bring a childhood friend and I closer together as adults. You’ve kept my high school (cross-country) friends together after all these years. You have given B and I some of the most greatest adventures together.

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All because of my love for running.

But, the love story’s a little different now.

I haven’t been running for now six-and-a-half months. (Darn you, stress fracture of the knee!) Since I wasn’t diagnosed right away, my last good, pain-free run was the last weekend of May. That seems like forever ago.

I’ve always thought that the hardest part about running was back when I ran the Chicago Marathon with an IT band injury. Or, when I missed breaking 4 hours at the Eugene Marathon by one minute and 19 seconds.

Nope.

The hardest part about running is now, when I’m physically unable to run.

I know I’ll eventually be back at it again. But, it’s hard to be sidelined for so long. Running makes me feel strong and calm and happy and alive all at the same time.

Will it remember me when I’m healed? Will it give me that same feeling? Will I want to achieve the same running goals again?

I don’t know.

But, I do know that my love for running goes deep — we have 15 years of history — so I’m not giving up on you now.

 

 

 

 

Yes, I’m still injured. But, I’m not broken.

As soon as I got back into my car after seeing my orthopedic doc, the tears started streaming down my face. I didn’t even know I was going to cry. But, cars always make you feel safe enough to just let it all out, right?

I don’t need surgery. (Yay!)

I still have a solid three to four months to allow my stress fracture to heal. (Boo!)

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The weather during my appointment reflected how I felt at the time. 

Going into the appointment I knew I would be getting some answers, some clarity on my knee injury. After all, I have been an obedient injured runner and have not run since the beginning of August — OK, OK, except for one bout in the fall when I literally ran for like five minutes and it wasn’t even continuous.

My knee pain comes and goes.

But, all I can do now is just give it more time.

I’ve been so quiet about my injury lately that people have forgotten about it. A colleague texted me a link to an upcoming trail race the other day. Others ask me when my next race will be. I just politely smile and say I still cannot run.

It’s frustrating.

I’m just glad that I mentally prepared before the holidays and told myself I would not be running any marathons in 2017. Now with the news that I must wait longer to be fully recovered, I know that at best I will begin to ease into jogging sometime during the summer.

Summer feels so far away.

And, what about the two races I have already registered for? What I thought would be my “comeback race” in April will now either be a DNS (Did Not Start) or I will have to just walk the 10K — if there is no time cutoff. I’m still holding out hope for Ragnar Rainier in August …

It’s frustrating.

A friend told me that my several more months of rest will be worth the wait. I have my whole lifetime ahead to keep running, she said. (“And, you’re so young — thank goodness you don’t need to start on the surgery route!” she chimed in.)

I know she’s right. I’m still injured, but I’m not broken.

New year, same injury?

I know, I know, it’s the 15th day into the new year and you haven’t heard a single peep from me! Where have I been? How am I feeling? What are my new year resolutions? What’s up with my running injury?

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I rang in the new year with my family in Japan and came back home last week. We visited my grandma and it was a nice, relaxing vacation. So, that’s why there has been no blogging from yours truly.

And, of course when you are away from home for more than a week, there is always all the laundry and grocery shopping that needs to be done upon your return. Not to mention, the added jet lag when coming back from Japan!

So, here I am, trying to catch up on my life.

I went in for my MRI — this time with contrast — last Thursday morning. Getting the injection for the contrast into my knee was a little more uncomfortable than I expected it to be. My hands were sweating profusely as I waited for the doctor to prepare. But, it was over quickly and I guess it didn’t hurt that much now looking back on it.

The MRI part was the same as back when I had my first one in August. This time I was smart and decided to listen to music when the tech offered. I opted for classical music because it seemed like the type of music they would play in the movies when the lead actor is going in for a medical procedure — and yes, I understand that mine wasn’t “a procedure” but a mere MRI, but I run this show here!

I felt more relaxed this time (probably because of the calming music!) and know so because my quads were not sore the next day like they were after the first MRI!

I’m scheduled to see my doctor Tuesday to go over the results from this MRI. I really hope I have concrete answers that are along the lines of, “Kristin, it looks like your stress fracture will take one more month to heal. The pain you have been experiencing is just phantom pain. In another month, you can ease into jogging and then running again.”

That one month I threw out is just arbitrary. I’d like to be able to run sooner but my whole desire at this point is that I want a concrete timeline. If I know it will be one month or even three months until I can run again, at least I will know and can mentally plan and prepare for what’s next.

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However, if I am given news that the stress fracture is worse than we thought and that I have to have surgery, well, I’m not sure how I will handle that news. So, I’m not going to worry and stress about that until I absolutely must.

It’s a new year and I’m hoping with all my heart that my injury is a thing of the past. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed. 2017, give me something good to talk about!