Being OK with being injured

When I reread some of my past entries about being injured, I think, “Wow, was I really that mad?”

Just as I’m sort of becoming used to the dull knee pain I experience every so often, so is my status as an injured runner.

It’s been nearly 13 months of not running and about 15 months of being injured.

I’ve cried three times (that I can recall) during this whole “injury period.” Once was after one of my doctor appointments. The other two times were actually at races.

Bryce and I were in the Bay Area in May for a friend’s wedding. We spent the weekend in San Francisco and Bryce was in the middle of training for his upcoming 40-mile race. It just so happened that we were in SF the same weekend as Bay to Breakers. Bryce did a recovery Sunday run in Golden Gate Park while I went for a walk. I stopped mid-way through my walk to watch and cheer on the Bay to Breakers runners. It was pretty entertaining with so many people in various costumes and get-ups.

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Then without realizing it, my eyes started welling up. I was overcome by a feeling of sadness that I could not do what all these people were so easily doing. I quickly pulled myself together though. And, focused more on the man dressed up as the Pope who was “blessing” all the runners that went by.

Then, the same thing happened at Bryce’s 40-miler! By no means was I jealous that I couldn’t run a 40-miler. The longest distance I have run is a 50K and I have no desire to do anything longer. So, it was weird that I started producing tears at the start of his race.

We arrived at the race with plenty of time for him to get ready. As most races go, the porta-potty line was long. While Bryce was using the restroom, the race director started making announcements to runners about the course. I walked a little closer to the huddled group of runners to catch anything important to relay to Bryce. As I stood there in the back of the crowd, again that deep feeling of sadness hit me again.

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Emotions can be weird.

Yet, through it all, I have tried to remain calm and positive.

Ask me again tomorrow or in a week, but, I’m OK with being injured.

It’s all part of my narrative.

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What I do after a marathon

What I do after a marathon — Portland Marathon edition.

 

1. Not run.

The aftermath of a marathon

The aftermath of a marathon

 

2. Hang out with Hello Kitty.

Hello, Hello Kitty!

Hello, Hello Kitty!

 

3. Go to happy hour.

Mac and cheese & a whiskey sour

Mac and cheese & a whiskey sour

 

4. Blow glass and make a vase.

No injuries or anything!

No injuries or anything!

 

5. Sign up for another race! (Seattle Half Marathon, specifically. I’m still pondering my next full marathon move).

Running under pink skies and a bright moon

Saying “see you in four weeks” to my physical therapist rather than “next week” like I have been for the past two months was strange.

But, she wants me to get in more miles and keep progressing with my training and see if “all is well” with my body after that.

Because right now, all is pretty well.

I’m on week #2 of my 14-week half-marathon training plan. (My race is in April!)

It’s a little weird because it dawned on me that I have never really trained for a half before. I mainly just “ran consistently” and didn’t have much structure to my days of the week in terms of exercise. “I feel like I will run 5 miles today,” or “This morning I think I’m going to do an hour,” was common.

But, this time I want to ease back in. I need structure. I have a plan.

I don’t want to get injured again.

So, I am taking it one mile at a time.

This weekend I am going for seven miles which will be the longest run I have done since my marathon in October.

It’s nice to be back into a running routine.

I ran 3 miles tonight at 9:24 pace. It felt freeing to finally let myself run a little faster, to not completely limit myself to the 10 min/mile pace I was forcing myself to go the past several weeks.

I saw little flurries of pink from the sun setting.

I saw the big bright moon shining in the dark.

It was a good run.

I may have forgotten to wear my headlamp, but it was a good run.

Restless recovery

In the past month I have gone on six runs. Only one of those runs was more than 30 minutes. (It was 31:22).

And, I’m getting restless.

I’ve been to five physical therapy sessions as of today and I miss running.

My physical therapist has not denied me of my running. She says I can run as long as I don’t go for too long and not too fast. I should not run to the point of aggravating my knee/IT band. And, no hills. I should be running at “recovery run,” pace.

So, that’s what I have been doing.

But, I feel like I am getting weaker. I am losing my muscle (the little that I had). I feel like I am getting fat, heavier. I know that this isn’t true but when I don’t run, I start to feel miserable.

I need to strengthen my glutes, they are weak, my physical therapist says. I also need to work on my core.

I’m getting pretty good at crab-walking.

This afternoon I jogged to my PT appointment. It had been more than a week since my last run/jog/shuffle.

Despite the fact that my feet felt heavy with every step I took, it felt good to be moving. It felt good to actually sweat again. (I can’t remember the last time I worked up a sweat).

I know this time off and this recovery period will be worth it.

Not running now is going to allow me to be healthy and fast come my 2014 races.

But, it doesn’t mean I’m not restless.

 

The forgotten race

I’m registered to race run do a half-marathon in three days. 

I signed up for it in June when I was on my I-PR’d-by-16-minutes-on-my-full-marathon high, thinking that I would just “ride it out” and not have to “train so much” to PR at a half marathon in August.

But then in July I found out that I would have to take Saturday classes for work (i.e. learn how to draw blood!) which meant I would not be able to race the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon.

And then, I also got a little knee/IT band injury two-three weeks ago that had me not running. 

A week ago I found out that with the alternating morning/afternoon class schedule, I will be able to fit in the race after all. About a week ago (or a little more), I also started running without any pain.

So, I guess the race is back on!

I’m still kind of hesitant. 

I plan to “take the race easy” since I do not want to re-injure myself. Plus, I need to make sure I am “healthy enough” to have some stranger attempt to draw my blood after the race. 

Normally I’m nervous race week. I get the butterflies. I focus on staying hydrated and eating well. I’m doing those last two things. 

But, getting all nervous?

Not really. 

Though, ask me Saturday at 6 a.m. and you may get a different answer …