“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.

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.

Knowing your strengths

I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs personality test a few times but always took it with a grain of salt. After all, depending on my mood, I swing between getting an “I” or “E” (so, introverted or extroverted).

Recently at work we took the Clifton Strengths assessment. I’d never heard of the test before but it was pretty eye-opening. Based on many questions answered, it assesses your greatest strengths. (They call them “themes” and there are more than 30 themes to be placed into!)

In a workplace, knowing one another’s strengths helps with building better teams and thus producing better, timely work.

My top five strengths include: responsibility, individualization, analytical, strategic and achiever.

The “individualization” one first caught me by surprise because I thought it meant that I preferred to work as an individual and (essentially didn’t want to be around other people). It’s actually not that at all. When it comes to Clifton Strengths, individualization means you are intrigued by the unique qualities each person has. You don’t like to group people into “types” but would rather know how each person is special and different.

I definitely have a “get it done” attitude which is where the “responsibility” and “achiever” themes come from. I don’t always associate myself as a super analytical and strategic person but I guess those must come from my journalistic upbringing. I learned that you need facts to prove things. You need to write/report based off of known knowledge, not just what people may say.

Knowing these strengths goes beyond being helpful in a work setting. They can be applied to your personal life and goals as well.

We don’t always know exactly what our strengths are. Or, is everyone just way more self-aware than I am?

Something non-running and non-not running-related to talk about for once 🙂

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!

(Blog) check – 1, 2, 3 … Is this thing on?

What can I say, I’ve been so busy not running that I haven’t had time to write!

Let me provide an update on those new year resolutions I talked about last month.

  1. Do at least 20 minutes of strength and core each day – I’ve altered this goal. Because, see below.
  2. Join the YMCA before February – YES! I am now an official member which has become so convenient because I live right in the middle between two Y locations so I feel like I have a lot of options. I’ve become a slave to the elliptical and have gone to quite a few yoga classes. Today I went to my first Pilates class and hopefully I will make my way back to the pool again. (The pool has been so crowded so I haven’t quite figured out an ideal time to workout there). So, on days when I go to the gym, I do not adhere to my “20 minutes of strength/core” rule. If I don’t go to the gym, I definitely do a workout at home for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Continue journaling – Check!
  4. Read one book a month – Shocking but (so far) I am on top of this goal. What am I reading? January’s book was Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I can and currently I am reading Hidden Figures. Yes, so far I am only reading books that have been a movie or has been written by someone who stars in movies and TV … but, books are books are books, right??

So, a month-and-a-half into the year and things are going well! (Or, as well as they can be while you are sidelined from running).

New year resolutions for the injured runner

New year resolutions seem good in theory but I don’t know if I really stick to them. I usually come up with a list of a few goals at the start of each year, but I also change the goals throughout the year as the months change and the shape of my year also changes.

Here are my current goals. Note, that at this time, I know I won’t be running again for another four months or so.

  1. Do at least 20 minutes of strength and core each day — Yes, you read that correctly. Every day. I gave up on my walking goal since Seattle has gotten so freaking cold! I started this new goal on Jan. 9 and have so far stuck to it. What honestly helps me do this is following along with random YouTube videos. I just do a search for “core workouts” and do whatever comes up. If you have any specific video recommendations, please send them my way!
  2. Join the YMCA before February — Regardless of when I can run again, I need to continue working out and cross train. Swimming is my “substitute” to running. And, once I am running again, I will continue to swim as cross training days. (Something I never did regularly before and will help in my plans to never be injured from running again!)
  3. Continue journaling — I used to keep a “dear diary” type of journal. No, I did not write “dear diary” but I had been keeping journals since I was in sixth grade. I’d just write about what happened that day and my feelings. I didn’t write daily but was very consistent with it. About a year ago (so even prior to getting injured) I stopped for some reason. I guess I just got too busy. I was tired of always writing “I’m feeling tired” countless times in my journals. Now my plan is to not write the details and all my feelings of the days, but to just write one sentence (or more if I feel like it) to describe one positive thing that happened that day.
  4. Read one book a month — This is really hard for me. Bryce always jokes that I never read. But, I guess it’s true so it’s not a joke? I enjoy reading but always say I don’t have time. I’m going to make a habit of reading before bed or instead of those minutes where I am aimlessly scrolling through social media on my phone while I sit at home, I will pick up a book instead! This is honestly going to be my hardest goal of them all.

I know I’m late to the game in establishing my new year goals. But hey, better now then never, right?