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.

 

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.

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.

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!

Injured runner: V1 to the orthopedic doc

I ran 4 out of the 5 miles home on Monday. It was my first run home since May.

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Too hot. 

I went to physical therapy on Tuesday.

I swam on Wednesday.

And, on Thursday I went in for my first visit with the orthopedic doctor.

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At least the patient rooms have a view.

I guess I was hoping for some magical answer even though the level-headed part of my brain knew that I wouldn’t be magically healed after one visit. I knew that I would probably need some imaging done, like an MRI.

And, that’s what the doc says. He did an exam and told me my injury could be one of three things.

  1. IT band
  2. Lateral meniscus
  3. Articular cartilage
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A visual for you. 

Getting an MRI done would tell us what exactly is going on. At this point, I guess I hope it is #1 (IT band injury still). We didn’t get into details and into “what ifs” because there’s no sense crying over unspilled milk, right?

Of course the endless fears and thoughts are spiraling in my brain.

What if it is a serious tear? What if this off-and-on running I have been doing has been causing more harm to the injury? What if I need surgery? (Followed by: My mom is going to kill me if I have to get surgery. For sure she will “ban me” from ever running again!) What if I can never run a marathon again? Will I be able to run the Ragnar trail race in September that I have organized with my friends?

OK, I’ll stop with the overreacting.

This may be a longer recovery and healing process than I first thought.

Or, it may not.

For now though, the doc strongly encouraged me to not run until we have sorted out exactly what is going on (i.e. after we go over MRI results).

So, I guess I may as well get some house cleaning done this weekend and finish reading The Cursed Child. 

And, think endless positive thoughts.