Injuries… Everything has a reason.
So late June of this year, I re”tweaked” my hamstring and hip. In fact, it wasn’t really a tweak. It was a full blown shit show. I thought maybe a week of extra stretching to “release” it would work. Or, maybe backing off mileage even to 50% may help. But no- by the end of summer, I hadn’t run a huge amount going into Nationals and didn’t even know if I could even finish the race because of my run segment. That sucked. (I did finish, thanks to a massive helping or two of anti inflammatory prescription).
I finished the season and I knew I was DONE. In fact, I had been planning on being done. In a way, I couldn’t wait on “being done.” I hurt so bad.
I couldn’t drive 5 minutes down the road without being in major pain in the car. From sitting. I couldn’t move around in LIFE without pain, and frankly was SO DAMN SICK OF PAIN. I have become all too familiar with physical pain, and how it wreaks havoc on every aspect of life: your tolerance for other annoyances, unexpected things coming in at you, the ability to breathe fully. Good grief.
In addition to the pain level, before my running backed off, I had been having some time on my runs where I frankly just “CRAVED” stopping and walking. How luxurious it felt, peaceful, calm, nurturing to my body, heart and soul. So, all in all…. (especially with the addition of two puppies much in need of walking), I was ready for my time off/ time to heal starting mid to late August. I committed to : no running, no biking, only walking, swimming only with a pull buoy after warm up and nothing to aggravate hamstring.
9-10 weeks later, here I am.
I have begun running in the past 2 weeks- JUST JOGGING, low intensity. Low intensity and OMG SLOWER than I possibly have ever run. But I am SO thankful to be moving. Some runs, I jog the entire time thinking “I am probably causing further damage because after 8 weeks of nothing, my hamstring is barely better.” Other times—two times recently after some active release with a new dr. I have begun working with, I cannot help but SMILE and feel ultimate joy in being able to move decently. I see a GLIMMER OF HOPE, and for that I am so thankful. I am not healed, I am not “back.” But I am MOVING a little bit!!!!!!
5 things about being injured that I have learned.. well, “re-learned”:
1. Everything does happen for a reason. The “universe” speaks. Earlier this year, I was wanting to walk on runs as if it was some sense of peacefulness I was craving and not finding any longer while running. I would be out running, yet thinking about being done with the session, back at work, doing the next thing. Not fully present. Not fully invested in what I was doing with my time. And most of all, not finding a full enjoyment from the heart, not being able to pull that sense of fulfillment, peace, connection with nature from my running. I was tired of running. UNTIL I COULDN’T, haha. Ahhh the power of wanting what you cannot have. I believe I was forced into taking this “break” after numerous signals that I didn’t hear, or actually heard and completely ignored.
2. Our bodies are smart. I had the opportunity last winter to have a comprehensive blood test/ in depth hormonal check done. I was desperate to find out the results…. Which frankly, I already knew. There was something very wrong and off with me. I would come home from even a small workout SPENT. I was actually spent before I went. I was flat, dull, pale in both face and heart. Just not myself. All I wanted was to sleep, lie down, and had no feeling of “oomph” in me. I knew I was going through a spell of depression and trying to swim my way back to the top of the water, but I also knew it was a bit more because my physical body just had some other issues not making sense. When I had the blood test, I couldn’t wait for the results because I already KNEW there was a result that needed to be seen. I basically had zero T (testosterone) and ridiculously high cortisol (stress), and that ratio is a common one for endurance athletes to struggle with. Because of the extreme low and high, my ratio was ridiculously small. Every single symptom of this, I had. I knew I should address it with some sort of “plan” however some events happened that further pushed me into a hole and I just tried to carry on, making it through. First race of the season, I ended up just walking off the course- a clear picture of how I had felt for months. Just flat affect/ didn’t have my heart attached. Without this injury, I would have just kept at it.
3. We all get injured, get over yourself. If you are an athlete, there will be injuries. I’ve never met an athlete who has had NO injuries. I have been super lucky over the years. 20 years of triathlons. My back has had major trouble in the past 5 years and I am constantly working to keep that managed. I tore my calf 3 years ago. However: prior to that, I Have been very lucky to have managed joints and muscles well. being injured sucks. It hurts, and I’ve been in major pain- a literal pain in the ass! It sucks even more not being able to sit, do normal daily things. BUT, I remind myself- it is not like I’ve been going through chemotherapy for 4 months. Perspective. I am thankful to have used the past few months to try to learn how to have some “down time”!! seriously😊 And it has been good for me to learn to walk without running, be without reaching for something, to get some extra time for some of the other things I love to do in life, I’ve added a bunch of work in while the opportunity has presented with extra hours. So while I’ve been annoyed to not run, I know it is part of the overall plan and to be patient.
4. There is nothing like having a passion in life, and for that I am so grateful. Long story short: when I was growing up as a gymnast, I vividly recall being in the car with my mom and her asking me, “don’t you get sick of flipping around/ being in the gym all the time?” I thought that was frankly the dumbest question I had ever heard. Of course not. There was never ENOUGH time for me. This past weekend, I was recalling these conversations because by the end of the weekend, if I had to be on the sidelines of a volleyball court for another minute, I thought I might die. I asked Phoebe if she was getting tired of volleyball after the hours she had been there. She was not. I smiled, knowing exactly how she felt, and I was so happy for her. Likewise, that is the “old” feeling I have had for triathlon- hours and hours and too many hours (I’m giving you the eye Ironman Lake Placid) on the bike and run (not necessarily pool!!). And all done with a pure love for the sport. Not always easy, of course- bad days are a part of the process of the passion, disappointments come. But the JOURNEY IS MY PASSION. I love training, I love planning, I love making things happen. I love attacking daily goals. I cannot imagine life without being a passionate person.
5. I LOVE RUNNING> In the past two weeks, being out jogging again has been a major HAPPY! I have oddly been seen just jogging (at a snails pace right now) with a goofy grin BECAUSE I AM RUNNING THROUGH NATURE! I have gone to some of my favorite roads, had that peaceful time of just me, footsteps, breath, and the beauty of the world. Leaves falling down, landing on me. I have a glimpse of hope that I will be fully running again! Big Sur Marathon 2019- cannot wait to meet you!