It’s been almost 7 weeks since I injured myself during a long run the last weekend in February. I had to physically get out a calendar to count, which is probably a good sign. That means I’ve stopped complaining about it long enough that I actually forgot how long it’s been.
This is my first true injury since I started running back in 2010. I’ve been pretty lucky, but it’s also largely because I’ve never trained as strictly. I’ve ran 7 half-marathons, but never truly trained for any of them. I always start with good intentions, but because I never used a formal training plan, life would get in the way and I would fall off the wagon. I basically ran when I felt like it, for however long I wanted, at whatever pace I wanted to run. I never finished terrible. I usually finished in a little over 2 hours (which isn’t great either), but it could have been worse considering my lack of training.
This time I registered for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon at the end of December and started the Hanson’s Half-Marathon Method. In short, this training plan is based on the concept you should run a BUTT TON of miles. Within the first couple weeks I was running on average 40+ miles per week. I was running more miles, and faster miles than ever before. I was actually doing speed work and strength runs, and I stuck to the schedule pretty diligently.
Fast forward to the end of February. I was on a 10 mile run and my ankle started to hurt. It wasn’t getting any better, but I decided to ‘push through’ and keep running…for 8 miles. By the time I finally quit, I was limping and could hardly put any pressure on my right foot. I finally got an x-ray, which showed no sign of a fracture, but they gave me a prescription of steroids and highly recommend I get an MRI if was still bothering me in 2 weeks. That would have been 3 weeks ago and I still haven’t gone. Instead, I tried to start running again this week. It’s been pretty painful and I fear I’m doing more harm then good. This injury is most likely a result of over-training (too much, too fast). I need to take a lesson from my own book by having some patience and taking it slow.
Well, patience is a bitch. This injury has sent me through every stage of grief. There was anger, denial, depression and bargaining. I think acceptance is suppose to show up somewhere along the way, but I haven’t met her yet.
The thing about running is, it’s about so much more than the physical act of running. To be a runner, you have to really have your shit together. I had to get up at 5am everyday to get my run in before work. I needed to actually plan my days – even my weeks – months! It forced me to eat right, and go to bed early. Somehow running manages keeps the rest of your life in order, because if it’s not, your running suffers. It turned me into a ‘type A’ personality, and I loved it. I’m not sure how to get back to that person without running.
Oh, and before you tell me to, “Try something new, like swimming!”…SHUT UP.
I’ve finally faced facts that I will not be running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon on May 7th. This is a real bummer because I was actually on track to complete it at an 8:30 pace – which would have been a huge new PR for me. It’s hard to think of all the work I put in and know I’m going to have to start from square one again. I’m registered for my first full marathon in September, so right now the focus is on getting healthy so I can start my training plan in May. In the mean time, any advice on patience and positive vibes will be well accepted. 🙂
At the end of the day, I know that injuries suck but they’re not the end of the world. Getting my mind in the right place is half the battle. It will also make starting my training over much more enjoyable once I do get back on my feet.