I apologize if any of you were unable to access my blog this morning. It was down until around noon. My tech guru did his monthly updates and security checks late last night and apparently one of the WordPress plugin updates made my blog crash. He had to troubleshoot by going in one-by-one and activating plugins to see which was the guilty party. And I have 33 of them. If that a) sounds like a foreign language to you or b) sounds a little tedious and not very fun then you’ll understand why hiring Web Symphonies to run the back end of my blog has been one of the best business decisions and investments that I have ever made. Isaac, the owner, is so super responsive, knowledgeable and right here in Charlotte. I am grateful.
Packing has been a wee bit painful but not so bad. I cleared my calendar this week of any social commitments or meetings so that I could be sure to feel that I had time for packing, work and self-care. All is calm so far. I took Zoey for a run on Tuesday, which was awesome. (Although every time I take her my heart absolutely breaks for Sullie that she can’t come with us.)
It was one of those runs where I didn’t really feel like going but I kind of did. I had no idea what to expect from it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it felt easy and good, which was not the case for my recovery runs last week after the half. We covered 5 miles at an 8:26 pace. It was 50 degrees and cloudy which I think makes for perfect running weather. As long as I can run in shorts, I’m a happy girl. (And for the record I have an appt to see Ariana to wax my brows tomorrow. They’re a little cray-cray right now! So glad she’s back in town. Comment or message me if you want her info!)
Let’s segue into talking about running injuries.
Over the last six months or so I feel like I’ve been all roses and rainbows about running. I’ve received quite a few emails and Instagram messages lately from readers who are injured, sad and frustrated seeking advice on how to deal with injuries, not just physically but emotionally.
Here’s an example…
I wanted to ask more specifically about how you healed from the injuries you accumulated over years of distance running. The posts you’ve written on the topic have been really helpful, as I’m currently struggling with a hamstring injury that has been ongoing for over a year now (and has now gone down into my calf/behind the knee). I’m in my second round of physical therapy and, at this point, have pretty much not done any exercise for over a month and am having pain just walking around the house. I’m going to try to get a referral for an MRI to figure out what exactly is going on, but am very frustrated and starting to lose hope.
I know a huge thing for you was turning to yoga, but that has actually been aggravating for my injury (downward dog is pretty painful). Is there anything else you did to recover that you found helpful? More importantly–can you elaborate on how you mentally accepted not being able to run? I find it really inspiring to see that you’ve now returned to running with a renewed passion and a stronger body, and am hoping you have some advice for someone who’s at the other end of the healing process.
And lastly, if you have any ideas for forms of exercise that would that would get my heart rate up without irritating my leg I am all ears. I’ve tried biking, jump roping, etc. and they all cause pain. Really finding it hard to keep my spirits up without any exercise endorphins.
First, I just want to remind you guys that my background with running was injury city. Running in my 20s can be labeled as, “trial and error, had no idea what she was doing, did not listen to her body, tried everything everyone else was doing.” I never successfully trained for a marathon without getting injured. It was incredibly frustrating. It was so heartbreaking that I ended up quitting distance running all together and claiming that it wasn’t for me. Did you know that I didn’t run one single half marathon distance race or longer between December 2010 and November 2015? I still ran regularly but rarely more than 3 miles at a time. I actually had people question me and ask if I was going to change my blog name because I wasn’t much of a runner anymore. I was so confused and lost about running and my body. I knew I loved it but I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it the way I wanted to.
During my distance hiatus I got really into yoga, started exploring CrossFit and worked on building not only strength and flexibility but a deep love and acceptance for my body. I emerged in my 30s a totally different and stronger runner. The three pillars of what’s different about running for me these days are simple but take a long time to cultivate and appreciate.
- Yoga, flexibility, mobility and bodywork.
- Strength and a focus on addressing and owning imbalances and weaknesses.
- Listening to my body.
I’m so much more relaxed about my running these days. It remains my #1 go-to choice for exercise and the best therapy for my head and my heart but I don’t put so many expectations on it. I know it works for some people to run 5-6 days a week and 40+ miles per week. I know now that it’s not for me and I accept that. I run to feel good, not to prove anything to myself or others. And that’s a huge shift for me.
I know that when you’re in the injury cycle that it can be discouraging and frustrating. I’ve been there. I encourage you guys to use it as a chance for information gathering. There is NOTHING wrong with you but your body is trying to tell you that something you’re doing isn’t working. STOP DOING WHAT ISN’T WORKING. Don’t run through pain.It’s the worst thing you can do.
This doesn’t mean you can never run again but maybe you need to take a step back, evaluate and approach it differently. I look at every run like a gift, not a chore. I am so grateful that my body can do it. When you can’t run, focus on the things that you can do. Try yoga, cycling, strength training and I can’t recommend swimming enough. In the past I have found it to be extremely therapeutic. And please prioritize body work and strength.
I promise that I’m not trying to sound preachy. It’s taken me years to get to this place with running and it’s a good place to be. I can’t say that I’ll never be injured again (I’m sure I will be) but I want to give you guys hope because I spent so many sad years thinking my distance running days were over. You will get through this and you will learn from it…even if it takes 5 years.
I’d love to hear your experiences with running injuries and how you’ve stayed motivated and positive through them. Or how you’ve struggled with them.