Runner Implosion

I was registered for my first Ultra in June. I developed tendinitis in my knee in May. The Ultra didn’t happen. What did happen was a lot of time wasting, moping and struggling because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I always kind of implode when I get injured before a race. If it’s short, I do it anyway. Like the Peachtree Roadrace, I can run/walk/hobble 6 miles, then complain about the pain while feeling satisfied that I still did the race. I can not hobble along on an injured knee for 30 miles.

I spent a lot of time frustrated that I couldn’t figure out a good work around. Running wasn’t the only banned activity. I couldn’t cycle, row, squat, lunge, jump. Even aqua jogging aggravated my knee. Anything that required repeated bending and/or pushing off. Swimming was my only real option for cardio, and my weight lifting was limited to upper body only. My shoulder started acting up (old injury) after a couple weeks of this new upper body focus, and I had to back off of both of those things, too.

I usually eat really well when I’m training because I can feel it in my performance when I don’t. Very often, the difference between a good run and a bad run is how I choose to fuel my body. When I’m not training, there is no rhyme or reason to my eating habits. It’s all mostly based on convenience, and the fact that I don’t care because I’m unhappy I can’t run.

Unspent energy, bad eating habits, gained weight and a horrible attitude combine to create an implosion that would rival the death of a star. I kind of suck everything and everyone into my black hole. I don’t write. I don’t read. I don’t talk (unless I absolutely have to). I don’t really interact with people. I just binge watch Netflix until I’m needed for something I can’t pass off, like laundry or meals (although, there has been a lot more takeout than I want to admit this summer), driving my kids to all the camps and activities they are doing, or walking my dog.

I like walking my dog. She doesn’t care that I’m injured. She still needs her exercise, and since my husband rarely walks her and my kids aren’t capable of handling her if a habit or a squirrel crosses their path, it’s on me. We’ve been walking 3-5 miles a day (two separate walks) throughout the summer. I’m waking up at 6am to get her out before the pavement heats up, and then taking her back out right around sunset after the pavement has had a chance to cool off. Some mornings I mumble and tumble out of bed regretting getting a dog with so much energy, or I grumble and whine, exhausted from the day wishing she would just sleep through our walk time. I’m usually a nicer person when I come back, though, and obviously, she’s a happier dog when she’s getting her exercise. That makes for a nice Netflix snuggle buddy in between walks and crazy teen/preteen boy fights.

I’ve recently started running again. Nothing fast or long, just little bits here and there, and my knee is holding up, with a brace. I wear the brace for walking, too. I’m optimistic about returning to training, and I’ve been looking for an end of the year marathon to shoot for. I can see the end of the black hole, and I’m looking forward to getting back to my level, easy going runner personality.

I keep thinking, there has to be a way to get through an injury without an implosion. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. Until then, I’m just hoping I can get through a few races before the next injury hits. Fingers crossed.

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