Guest Post from my wife, Adriana!
Check on your fellow injured runners. And when I say check, that doesn’t mean only when you run into them at the grocery store. Call them, text them, invite them to have coffee and just listen to them. Chances are they are deeply depressed. Running becomes such a huge part of who we are that they probably feel very lost and alone. Luckily, I had a few friends that were my saving grace during this whole ordeal. You all know who you are……THANK YOU!
Be careful of what you say to them. Some of the most insensitive things said to me during my injury were from fellow running pals. If you have to start your sentence with, “I don’t mean to be discouraging but….” I would probably refrain from saying it. My mind was my own worst enemy and I certainly didn’t need anyone else to pour salt into the wound. And unless you’ve been seriously injured (not just aches and pains) it’s difficult to understand the severity of what they are feeling.
Get a second opinion, or a third option or hell, even a fourth. If the doctor that’s treating you tells you that since you never ran in high school, getting injured, “was just a matter of time” you need to run far, far away. (Pardon the pun) If they start talking about surgery, run again (unless of course it really is medically necessary). If what they are doing to help you makes your symptoms worse, stop seeing them.
Throughout my injury I saw two orthopedic doctors, one chiropractor, and a physical therapist. It was like a guessing game every time I went. Not one of them could tell me why I got injured or how to fix it. It was frustrating and made me feel like running was going to be a thing I once did, but would never be able to do again.
Finally after 3 months I found a doctor that pinpointed exactly how I got injured and gave me the tools to fix it. Funny thing, I asked a previous doctor if my injury could be related to the very diagnosis I was given and that’s when she told me that getting inured was just a “matter of time. “ Do not settle for those kinds of answers!
Funny thing is that my injury was not even directly running related. The injuries were actually more attributable to years of sitting on my butt, which led to weak glute muscles!
Lesson learned: Be proactive. If you aren’t getting the treatment you think you need find a different doctor. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t good doctors or therapists it simply means that they aren’t the right doctor to help you.
You will get back into shape. I was in the best shape of my life when I got injured having just completed the Chicago marathon (my first) and running several personal best half marathons. This little knee thing couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Find things that you enjoy and will help keep you fit. For me it was a lot of strength training, the rowing machine, and the bike. Of course it’s not the same, as running but it will keep you sane. Every day I would worry about how much fitness I was loosing but being able to do something did keep me semi sane.
It would have been very easy for me to mope around and feel sorry for myself every day, but I choose to try and take the negative and turn it into a positive by making me stronger. Although there were many days that I cried and felt sorry for myself, there were also many days that I didn’t.
Lesson Learned: More than likely an injury will won’t last forever and you’ll be back out there again feeling as fit as you were pre-injury.
Don’t compare yourself to the runner you were before you got injured. This is a difficult one for me and I’m sure many others. It’s completely unfair and unrealistic to think that I’m just going to be able to go out there and run the half marathon pace I did just three months ago. At this point, I can only come close to my long run pace I was running before I got injured (and believe me I’m winded doing it) but I’m choosing to be ok with the numbers on my Garmin. I’m just excited to be out there again and really that’s all that matters. Lesson Learned: Don’t look back. You are where you are not where you were. Instead look at how much further you can go.
Many of you know about my faith in God but let me tell you there were many moments I doubted Him thought out this ordeal. I was reminded each day how much running gives my life meaning and structure. I always used running as a way to let off steam and deal with stress. Not being able to run was the most stressful thing in my world. Though I worked hard to not let running define who I was God showed me that, that was not in fact the case.
I let running become an idol. So many times I found myself wandering around the house asking God, “when will you take this from me Lord?” “How much longer Lord?” “Why is this happening?” I felt very abandoned and distanced from God. It was hard to find Him during those very low days. God gave me subtle reminders that He was there and that He would never abandon his child. Sometimes it was through the voice of my husband, or a friend, and even my co-workers.
I also found some comfort in a few thoughts too. One of them is that as angry as my knee made me it was very good to me and took me on some incredible journey’s. God also made me recognize how fortunate I was to have two working legs and knees that did allow me to run. Not only did I run but I completed a marathon! Yes, me probably the most unfit person ever for most of my life completed a marathon! Not everyone has the gift of working legs and so many times I took that for granted. He’s pretty darn amazing that way. God loved me too much to leave me where I was. I only needed to find him in the storm.