08 August 2014

Running: Being Injured Sucks

I love running.

It's something I do that's truly for me –– my health, my mind. It's my meditation time, when I'm doing a run on my own. It's a constant source of tangible achievement and improvement, going farther and/or faster than the last time. It's being part of an incredibly motivating and inclusive community.

I started running regularly, as a habit, around four years ago. Then I found myself doing my first 10k race. Then it was my first half-marathon. Then, in October 2013, I did my first full marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (or, the "Scotia full," as some of us say here in Toronto).

What a rush that day was. Definitely one of the most amazing days of my life.

In the finish area after the race.

Since that day, however, I've not been able to run very much, and not at all from January to March. I'd developed a stress fracture (and bursitis) in my right knee, likely during training for the marathon, and which was, of course, exacerbated by the race.

Physiotherapy, massage, the stationary bike, the elliptical, stretching and strengthening exercises: all of it helped me return to running at the end of March. The process was slow and careful, with several weeks mixing running and walking until I could run for 30 minutes continuously without any discomfort.

My goal this year was to race the Scotia half in October. I started full training in mid-June. Everything felt good. Running again was such a joy. It was also great to be out for long runs and speed work/hills with my running group at The Runners Shop.

Cue another injury. Actually, injuries. This time, shin splints in the right leg and something as-yet-undetermined in my left knee (though some bursitis for sure). I shut things down for two weeks.

Being injured sucks.

It's taken away something that's become a big part of my life, individually and socially.

Yet this time it's also brought me really to reflect upon what's next.

I love running. I want to keep doing it and improving at it. I don't want to be injured anymore –– at least, I want to reduce my chances of another injury.

So, I decided to get a 1-year membership at a gym, and I've started working with a personal trainer. She's a runner, too. I figure she'll know what I need to do for good, proper maintenance and cross training. I also figure she gets it, about (the crazy obsession that is) running.

Running, I've discovered over the past year especially, is always teaching you about yourself. I value this part of running just as much as the fitness benefits it brings.

Now, I'm re-energised, and I'm excited to see what I'll learn from my personal trainer, excited to be getting out for runs again.

I may not do a PB in October. At this moment, that doesn't matter. I'm aiming for making it to the start line and then finishing. Anything more will be sweet, delicious, chocolatey dessert.

What's been your experience with injury?

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