Respecting the Injury Without Punking Out

limitsThe last thing I want to write about is being injured. Nobody wants to read about it really. It’s like that scene in Days of Thunder (yes, I just went there. I LOVE that movie – don’t judge) when Harry Hogge, played by the wonderful Robert Duvall says to Dr. Lewicki, played by Keith Urban’s wife (my feminist friends love it when I do that!)

Drivers can’t stand to be reminded of what can happen to them in a race car. They, they don’t go to hospitals, they don’t go to funerals. You get a driver to a funeral before he’s actually dead, you’ve made history, darlin’.

Same thing with runners. We just hate talking about injuries. Unless we are injured. Then we want EVERYBODY to talk about them in the faintest hope that somebody, somewhere had the exact same thing, found the magic bullet, and it will work for us too.

I also don’t care to write about it as it typically means it is top of mind because I am injured. I am.

I took a fall this weekend and the bump to my head has me out of commission just a bit. I don’t think it will be too long. Probably another day or so. But I missed an epic weekend of running with some of my best run family. And I missed my freaking training goal. Again. And the Oreos…crap the Oreos.

But this is not my first injury. Hell, it isn’t even my second. And it is certainly not my worst.

I fractured my right heel September 1, 2012 during my long training run for my first marathon…that was 6 weeks away.

Then I tore my left calf muscle on December 13, 2012 during a light jog during an interview for a local news station. Dawn wanted to talk about my first Ultra…that was 4 weeks away.

I ran both races. One I finished amazingly well – better than I could have hoped for. The other? Well, let’s just say I left plenty of room for a PR on the next 50k.

On the surface, it may seem like I rushed both injuries. I don’t think I did. What I do think I have successfully accomplished when dealing with injuries, is learning how to respect the injury without punking out.

The first time was pretty hard. I didn’t really respect the injury. In fact it took almost a week to even admit that I had one. I had no frame of reference for dealing with such a setback. That resulted in some serious confrontations with depression.

The second time was easier. Respecting it was not an issue – I couldn’t walk at all. But, I had been here before. I knew it would get better and I knew I would run again. But this injury hurt – a lot. And that was scary. I was timid getting back into it. I listened to folks, while well intentioned, tell me that I couldn’t do it. I completely punked out on myself from time of injury until about mile 15. At that point it was good enough to finish, but not soon enough to perform well.

This third time I am fortunate. The injury is minor at best and really has nothing to do with my running mechanics. It is enough of a hurt to put me out but not so much so that I can justify being out for too long – easy respect/punk balance. And I have gotten into a pretty good routine of injury management. (PS ~ I am not a doctor. I do not play one of TV. I have less than no medical training unless you count that time I spent on WebMd. This is just my anecdotal thoughts on recovery)

  1. Seriously consider the need for a professional. It is no secret I don’t believe every booboo needs an labcoat. I never saw one for my calf. I had crutches, I monitored the swelling and the bruising, I lived and breathed RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). But my heel was undoubtedly improved by a trip to Ledesma Sport Medicine. I am in the process of making a chiropractic appointment to make sure the fall didn’t knock me outta whack now. I know it isn’t cheap. I know it isn’t convenient. But if we can make the time to run for 3 hours on a Saturday, we can find the time to drop into a free injury clinic that are offer by bunches of run stores. Just call one.
  2. Diet, diet, diet. Food is as important, if not more so, during recovery than during your actual races. Your body is consuming huge amounts of resources to fix what is broken. You can either give it what it needs so it can get about its business, or, you can keep shoveling food like products and just wait until the resources are there.
  3. Don’t neglect what you can do. In the beginning, that may be complete rest. THIS IS DOING SOMETHING. Rest is like food – your body needs it. However, none of my injuries required complete rest for an extended period of time. It is important to do something. Walk, lift weights, swim, stretch. Just don’t stop asking your body to do things. It will get lazy and lazy punks easy.
  4. WarriorListen to folks with a filter – even me right now. There is tons of good recovery information out there. Take that in, see how it works for you, and appreciate the input. But, not all advice is good advice. Additionally, no one knows your body better than you. Some will push you too hard. Most will pull you too far back. Grain of salt is a good rule of thumb here. **Bonus – my favorite phrase in this instance is “I am so glad that works for you.”
  5. Stay in the game. Be supportive of others. Stay on top of the going ons. Don’t seclude yourself. Injuries are depressing enough without recoiling into a self made hole. If you can run yourself, this is the best time to pitch in on the other side of the tape. In all honesty, you will probably learn more helping others with their training than you ever did focusing on yours.
  6. Don’t be a punk. You were a warrior before the injury. You are a warrior with an injury. You will be a warrior after the injury. Period.

All that being said…my goal completion for last week sucked…and it was looking so good… But, what good is accountability if I am not going to be accountable? So here it is.

Week of May 6, 2013 Results

Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
– 16.5 miles with 1 speed work session

3 Cross Training Workouts
– yeah…none

15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
– 3 stretch days…no Yoga

Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation
– 3 of 7 days

Week of May 13, 2013

  1. Log +30 run week
  2. 2 Cross Training Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
  4. Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation


**Photo Credits

The Fitness Fashionista
Daily Fitness
Chamomile Green

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