I haven’t posted for a few days because with not being able to run for
a never-ending lifetime the last few weeks, I started to feel like I had nothing to contribute to the running community.
Most runners will have periods in their running lives when they can’t run, due to injury, life changes, medical reasons or otherwise. So not running is actually probably a big thing for runners. I know it certainly is for me.
Not being able to run is a bit like grief. You go through stages…
1. Disbelief / in shock
3. Non-acceptance / denial
Nah, it won’t take that long to heal. Sure, I’ll just take 2 weeks off running, roll it out a lot, do some stretches and employ lots of ice baths. I’ll be grand for all the races I’ve signed up to this summer. S’all fine.
4. Frustration. A combination of an unusual and rarely experienced surplus of energy buzzing around your body, combined with the horrifying prospect of not being able to return to running for an unknown time…as realisation of your injury starts to sink in.
5. Anger. At yourself for not being diligent and disciplined enough to stop running earlier when you first felt a niggle and treat it properly then. At the universe for not making my limbs stronger. At everyone who tells you it’s no big deal and sure you must be sick of running by now anyway. At life for being a big meanie and stripping me of the sole remaining positive, good thing I had left in my teeny world.
6. Uncertainty and Self-reassessment. When something that makes up a large part of your life or who you are changes, it forces you to stop and re-think things. You think about how you feel now, how it makes things different. Am I different now? Am I the same person? So much uncertainty…
When I stopped running first, I was cool with it – I needed to allow time for my foot injuries to heal and this was just something I had to bite down on. Then I rapidly progressed into the above stages and in short, went a little batty.
It wasn’t helped by the realisation that cycling was not aiding the process, nor just being a benign companion alternative activity and had to be stopped immediately. All I was left with was swimming and while I like swimming, I’m finding that twice a week is really my limit. After that, I find I get a bit bored with it, it makes me sneeze a LOT for days afterwards and it’s expensive to pay the use the pool every time.
My week at the moment is 2-3 swims (2km -3.2km each), foot massages with a frozen golf ball, ice baths for the feet, anti-inflammatory gel and ibuprofen. I try to keep walking to a minimum and avoid putting any pressure on the sore parts of my foot whenever possible. I have a date with the physio on Wednesday and hoping for some kind of positive outcome or analysis.
Injury and rehabilitation are part of the running life and are therefore part of what makes a runner, a runner. So talking about this and including it on my blog are as important as writing up a weekly running report or telling you about the latest race I took part in. The feelings of loss and great uncertainty are massive. Far more than I ever would have thought they would be. I don’t know how long my foot will take to heal, I don’t even know if what I’m doing is helping or improving my condition and I have no idea how long it will be before I can start running again, or even cycling.
I am still me. I know this but yet I have that feeling that something is missing. Every day, I feel that there is something I’m not doing, that I’m leaving something out, that I’m forgetting something.
I miss running. I miss cycling. And right now, I’m missing my training cycle for the upcoming Women’s Mini Marathon 10km and for all the summer races I’ve signed up for. I’m working on accepting that I may not be able to run any of these but there’s a lot of resistance and I’m not very good at this awl acceptance malarky.
Alas, I’m still trying to find my feet.