Training for Tuesday: Riding the Injury Train (and a Call for Help!)


Average monthly mileage in 2015: 93 miles

January 2016: 118 miles

February 2016: 136 miles

March 2016: 77 miles

April 2016: 3 miles

Yes, friends, I ran THREE miles in the entire month of April. And three more miles than I really expected to run, to be honest. You may not know this since I've been so secretive about it, but...I injured my foot in March. This is only the 3rd time in my 5-year running career that I've had a serious injury, which is pretty good by some standards, but the 3rd time was most definitely not the charm in this case. With the other two, I took some time off (7 weeks for shin splints in 2012, 2.5 weeks for piriformis syndrome in 2013), and although I had to ease back in when I did start running again, I more or less picked up where I had left off with no problems.

This time has been a little lot different. I didn't run at all for 4 weeks, then tried a couple little runs (1-2 miles) over the next couple weeks, then I didn't run for 2 weeks. When it first happened I was prepared to (and, if I'm being honest, maybe even looking forward to) taking a bit of time off. At the time I was in the middle of training for the Big Sur Marathon and hitting mental walls at every turn, spending every waking hour (and many when I should have been sleeping) finishing school and working on my senior design project, while also trying to prepare to move my family and my life to a new city. While there were absolutely days when dealing with everything I had going on stressed me out so much that all I wanted to do was go for a run, there were also more days than not when I really, really couldn't have stolen away for a 45-minute run even if I had been physically able to. And in a weird way, it was a bit of a relief that during these past couple months, which were hands-down the most stressful of my entire life, running wasn't yet another stressor.

This injury was also the catalyst I needed to get a jumpstart on my triathlon training. I couldn't run, but I could swim and bike just like normal, and I could use the elliptical as a temporary substitute for my running training. And after the mental struggles I had during Big Sur training, this injury and non-running period really made me realize that I am a triathlete at heart. After B2B I really thought that having only running to focus on would be a welcome break from juggling 3 sports, and for a while it was...until it wasn't anymore. I used this time away from running to get back to swimming earlier than I would have, and spend more time in the saddle than I probably would have. I finally got the new road bike I've been wanting for ages, made some improvements to my tri bike, and I even finished my first century (100 mile) ride a few weeks ago!

So, between school and moving and tri training I definitely had enough to keep me occupied that I really didn't miss running. Even on those first few nice days of spring when every runner in town came out of the woodwork. Even when I watched thousands of runners, including two of my best girls, take off for a 10-miler through my new city. The pangs of jealousy I expected to feel just weren't there (and for that, I am especially grateful!). But still, the fact remained that I have big, big goals this year that include running 26.2 miles, and I needed to get back on the running train eventually. I went to 3 appointments with 2 different doctors who gave me wildly different diagnoses and advice. After seeing the last one, I ultimately decided (with her approval) to stop waiting for the day when I would wake up and magically feel 100% healed and back to normal. That day may or may not be coming, but after 6 weeks of progress stalling, waiting didn't seem to be making it come any faster.

I started back up again (per doctor's orders!) about 2.5 weeks ago and have, amazingly, been able to run about 18 miles total in that timeframe (longest run = 5.7 miles), but it hasn't felt at all like picking up where I left off. I no longer have the pain that I felt a couple months ago when this all started, but my foot doesn't feel even close to 100% normal. It's hard to describe the feeling, especially since it's present more on some runs than others, but I always have some degree of...awareness of that foot. At best, I just don't have a running on clouds kind of feeling (even if my right foot feels that way). At worst, I get an achey soreness on the bottom of my foot, kind of like what you get when you walk around in bad sandals all day. Except I'm in running shoes and it happens from the first few steps of my run, not after a long time. It's not painful, per se, at least not like the shooting pain I used to get in my arch every time I made a running motion with my foot, so that's huge progress, but it doesn't feel good either. It doesn't feel right.

So, this is where I am right now. This is my reality: I am able to run. I do not push my pace but instead let my body dictate how fast I go - and it seems my body remembers most of the mechanics because my pace is more or less what I was used to pre-injury, and slowing down seems to hurt more than help. I have achey feet and running doesn't not physically feel the way it used to, but I am able to do it. It doesn't feel the way it used to mentally either, because I always have one finger on the pulse of my injury, checking in subconsciously, but I am able to do it. And I have been doing it and will continue to do it - cautiously and carefully - because I have a date with an Ironman finish line in just under five months and am determined to get to hear Mike Reilly call my name before midnight on October 22 whether I have to run, walk, or crawl to get there. I don't know what will or won't change over the next 144 days that will or won't allow me aim higher than merely finishing, but that's just not my concern right now. I ran 5.7 miles this weekend and that may have actually been a little more than I should have because I have some residual soreness today, but I ran 5.7 miles this weekend and two months ago I wasn't sure when or if I'd ever be able to say that again. This is reality. This is survival mode.

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And finally, on another note - Alyssa and I need your help! We have been running this linkup since September 2014 (yes, that long! Crazy, right?!) and have been thrilled and overjoyed with the participation and community of goal-chasers that has developed over that time period. We started it because, while there is no shortage of fitness linkups out there, we wanted our own space to promote and celebrate every fitness and health goal. We wanted to create a community where no dream was too big or too small, no goal too safe or too unrealistic. We're proud of all of you who have joined us any or every month over the last 15 months, but honestly, after all that time...we're not sure where to go from here. We've tossed around the idea of keeping things as they are, switching to monthly themes, or scrapping this linkup altogether. We're open to any and all suggestions - feel free to take the anonymous poll below and/or sound off in the comments!

What should happen to T4T?

6 comments :

  1. Oh man, I hate injuries. They just need to NOT happen. Our bodies just need to listen up & get with the program.
    Oh man, I never even realized you did a link up like this (Or I forgot - I do kinda remember) but I usually do a Training Tuesday post myself & would have loved to linked up. So if you keep it going, I'll keep my eye out for it to join in.

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  2. I totally get it. It doesn't really hurt, and you can run without it getting worse, but you're constantly aware of it just not feeling quite right. So annoying! Hopefully it's more of a mental thing and you'll be able to forget it soon!

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  3. i love your link up! i would understand if you wanted to scrap it though. a monthly theme sounds fun, and sometimes i definitely need a little guidance.
    i'm sorry that your injury happened, obviously, but i'm glad you got the time off and that you were able to focus on other things and realise that you were a triathlete at heart. i do hope it goes somewhat back to normal soon though, not hurting is good, but normal is better lol.

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  4. Yay for getting some miles in again! I'm so glad you went to see the other doctor and got a second opinion or different advice, and obviously more glad that your foot is no longer bothering you like it was before. Like you said, it's amazing you were still able to get in so much training of other kinds, and I'm still so anxious to read about your 100-mile ride!

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  5. I'll just breeze past the fact that your average monthly mileage is like double mine with the exception of when I was in marathon training because I've already recognized that you are indeed a superwoman and I am not. Now, moving on.
    I know the few weeks where everything was coming down on you and the sky was falling were NOT fun for you, but I'm glad you've come around it seems to seeing the temporary forced rest as a blessing in disguise. And I told you -- didn't I tell you?! -- that you'd be back to your butt-kicking self before you knew it. And if your insta post today is any indication, you are that times 10. Rock on, because I've already got that weekend in October blocked off on my calendar :)

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  6. i am terrified of getting injured so the second i feel a weird tweak, i switch gears and do something else. that's what happened after one drill - after 30 straight kicks on my left side, my right knee felt weird so i told him to stop and switch sides. ain't nobody got time for injuries!

    i get that you want to change up your linkup. we decided to switch our wed linkup to a monthly thing...gives more time for those to get their shizz together and also because i've been so busy with work that my co-host has been flying solo with it which is a dick move on my part.

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