As I begin my 5th week of not running, it’s become clear that my little “niggle” was just my body’s code for “get ready to endure a really bad f—king injury”. It sucks. I try to be optimistic, but the consecutive weeks of effort has worn me down. Mostly I’m just grumpy and feeling defeated. This is my third injury of the year, and by far my worst. The first two were muscular and the longest I wasn’t running was 2 weeks. I’m still in the process of getting diagnosed, but my physio believes I have a stress fracture.
Earlier this year when the first two injuries happened, I continued cheering at races, helping friends by supporting them at races (or dog sitting!) and trying to stay active within the running community. This time around, I spend most days trying to pretend that running doesn’t exist. It’s like breaking up with your partner and conveniently removing all evidence that they exist until you’ve grown up and over it. I need a vacation from the world of running.
I’ve not logged on Strava in weeks. I’ve barely been on Instagram. I’m happily trolling Twitter because my “network” is small there, and of course, I occasionally blog about year old trips that no one but me is interested in reading about. You know, standard stuff.
After trying too hard to put a positive spin on my injury to a wise friend, she said to me: “look, Alison. It’s okay to say you’re not okay”. I’m not okay right now. It’s annoying and I’m upset that I got here in the first place when I thought I was being smart about my training. But having the choice to run, vs. being physically incapable of running, however temporary, sucks. It was also a great joy and one of the best things I got to do for myself.
Here’s what else I know, though. Running is just a hobby. There are other wonderful things in love aside from running. Of course I know I will get over this. Of course I know that there are many other things in this world aside from running. I just need to keep myself busy and let time do the rest. I’ve been slowly getting back into yoga which has helped a lot, even though it’s not quite bringing me the joy that running did. It’s a start. One of my coworkers practically stood beside me at my desk yesterday and made me sign up for a spin class.
On a positive note, this injury has shown me that some of my running friends happen to be awesome all-around friends. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Whether it’s meeting me for coffees, sunset beach dinners, non-running workouts or surprising me with flowers… I know some really awesome people here in Vancouver. My poor husband has been enduring the most of all my mood swings. He’s my rock.
These little things make an incredible difference and I would probably be curled up in a ball, crying out of frustration without these kind gestures. I need to remember to reciprocate. Always. Friendship is two-sided.
Oh, injuries. I’ve been here before – majorly injured and forced to take a few months off. Fortunately, while it took a while to find my love for running again, I eventually did and came back better than ever. I need to remember that.