Saturday, April 28, 2018


My last post was written almost exactly one month ago and was titled enthusiastically about my return to racing after an awesome month of March. Now here I sit at my computer injured. In fact, I have been hurt since about two days after that last post was written. I was in denial at first, and optimistic that it would be short-lived. I thought for sure that I would not miss the April Fool's Run, as I never miss that race. I've been doing it every year since 2012, including last year when I was pregnant. So what was a little injury? I didn't realize how hard I hurt myself until I went to see my physiotherapist and the simple exercises she assigned me to do were so very hard. If I can barely balance on the hurt leg for more than a few seconds, how do I expect to run 10K which is essentially thousands of repetitions of balancing on one leg over and over with no break?

I was in denial because I don't really know what I did to hurt myself. There was no one defining moment where I fell or twisted wrong. I just didn't feel good during a training run but got through it anyway, and the getting through it anyway thing was the worst thing I could have done. My knee stiffened up more and more as the day progressed, and my whole leg got very angry until I could barely move it. Despite this, I decided that it couldn't be a bad injury because I have never hurt my knee. There's a misconception that running is bad for knees and I cringe when people ask me if running so much has ever hurt my knees. Well, it did now, but this is after running for 8+ years and thousands and thousands of miles with zero previous knee pain. I think the combination of relaxin hormone in my system, a body shifting back to normal post pregnancy, yet still hanging onto a few extra pounds, plus shoes that were maybe at the end of their life worn a bit too long, and maybe a few other factors. There was no one defining moment, but rather numerous variables coming together like a perfect injury-inducing storm.

The first few days were the worst because the pain was debilitating. I could barely walk and so taking care of my daughter was really a challenge. Having a baby is physically tiring with all the carrying, lifting, etc., done throughout the day. Holding her in my left arm almost all the time has meant additional stress to that side of the body, likely another factor in the knee injury. So having to continue to care for her with this hurt body hasn't helped recovery. I continue to stress my knee out every time I lift her or hold her on one side of my body while I do things with the other, dominant side of my body, which places me in imbalance over and over again as each day progresses.

But the worst part of being injured is the missing out on everything part. I missed the Fools Run. I missed a weekend getaway to the Sunshine Coast with my family. I missed running with a friend. I have missed sunny day after sunny day this glorious spring where I could be training and wearing shorts! I have missed hiking invitations. I have missed social running opportunities. I have missed out on my favourite exercise and the ability to burn mega calories (which until now had helped me lose some of my baby weight). But also I find that when I run, I crave healthier food and I treat my body better. I am missing that and definitely feeling guilty about not eating super well this last little while. I have also missed out on my "me time" as I usually run solo and as a way to decompress and promote better mental health. I have missed out on something that is so me in so many ways, and I am absolutely itching to get it back.

It isn't forever, but it's been a month, and while I have made progress and can walk comfortably, I know I still have a little way to go yet until I am running well again. I will have lost so much of my fitness and will have to start back ever so slowly as to not risk further injury. I won't be starting with 10Ks and working up to a half marathon. A half marathon this fall might be too ambitious. I will be starting at the beginning all over again, just like I had to returning to running post-partum. Slow, steady, and boring.

So while I am so discouraged, I also know that running will always be there for me. I didn't ruin my knee. I have an injury that I will overcome. And when I can return, it will feel oh so very sweet. I will do all the wonderful things I wish to do as a runner. It just might not be in the timeline I had hoped for. But it will all still happen. Until then, I just need to find other ways to keep myself grounded and better focused on healthy habits. Until then I simply need to keep my chin up and keep working at getting stronger. Eyes on the prize!

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