Over the past year there have been many ups and downs related to my running and my injury. There have been times when I was very hopeful. Other times I wanted to completely give up. I’ve had to learn to let go of running a bit, and as hard as that has been it was an important lesson for me.
There are a few other things I’ve learned while dealing with this injury. I think it’s important to reflect on the things we learn during hard times, because that’s usually when we grow the most. It’s never easy to see when you’re caught up in it all and feel like you will never come out the other side.
It’s important to note that I still don’t feel like I am fully out of the woods with this yet. I do think I have learned to accept where I am right now (maybe not fully, but much more than before). For most of the past year I would push to increase my mileage as soon as I felt better. Now I am content running a few days a week, 3-5 miles or so.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned this past year:
1. Don’t settle for feeling just “okay”
This was something my Rolfer pointed out to me last week, and it stuck with me. I had been feeling pretty good (but knowing that it could change at any moment) and we talked about if I should continue coming in. She recommended that I at least keep seeing my chiropractor (they work in the same office) and could keep up my sessions with her if I wanted. She reminded me that just because I feel better, but was still pointing out some tight spots, areas that bothered me, etc. and I shouldn’t just accept that. I’m still young (although I feel like I have the body of an 80 year old) and shouldn’t settle for feeling just ok.
I feel like whenever I am in PT I never get fully better but they don’t know what else to do with me so I get discharged. It’s nice to have practitioners who want to continue helping as long as I need it.
2. There may not be one right answer
Over the past year I have seen a chiropractor, Rolfer, 3 PTs (in the same office), a podiatrist, and an orthopedist. Everyone came at my issues from a slightly different angle. I had my Rolfer telling me to walk around barefoot and wear flat shoes. The podiatrist recommended orthotics. The orthopedist wanted me sleeping in a boot. I’m pretty sure my chiropractor thought it was all in my head (just kidding). In PT we focused on my hips because they are the root of all evil when it comes to running injuries. When I told that to my podiatrist he looked at me like I had two heads, because according to him feet are always the problem.
See what I mean? I wonder what would happen if I put all these people in a room together…
3. You can do everything “right” and still not see the results you want
I will be the first to admit that I have made many mistakes over the past year. However, I’ve decided that I can’t blame myself for this. Our bodies are pretty complicated and it’s not like I did anything overly stupid to put myself in this situation. I think that this injury has taken on a life of its own and it’s no longer something simple. At this point, it really could just be all in my head.
4. It’s hard to have a running blog when you’re not really running
Honestly I’m pretty surprised I’ve been able to keep blogging through all of this. Some weeks I wonder what I could possibly come up with to write about. It’s hard to find a balance between being honest about what is going on while also trying to stay positive. No one wants to read about someone who is always complaining. It means so much that so many of you have stuck with me through all of this, so in a way having a blog is really helpful. Having all this support gives me hope and also keeps me accountable for how I’m handling it all.
5. Running is the best
Any of the other workouts I have tried just don’t compare to running. I’m happy to strength train because I know it will help my running and it make me feel strong. Each time I’ve stopped running I don’t feel like myself. Running is the best.
No one wants to go through situations that are challenging, but when we do we might as well try to learn from them. If nothing else, I don’t think I will ever take running for granted after going through this.
You may also like: The Cognitive Dissonance of Being a Chronically Injured Runner
What lessons have you learned from challenging times?
Do you ever feel like different practitioners will all tell you something different about an injury?