The other day on Dailymile the #dailymission was: What is the one bit of advice you wish someone shared with you when you started running/biking/swimming/etc.?
And someone answered: “There is nothing like the depression that comes from being injured.”
Sing it sister.
I’ve been injured before but none of those past injuries prepared me for what I have gone through since being diagnosed with a stress fracture. Sure I've taken a week off here and there for ITB issues, leg gremlins, etc... but none of those compare to this. None of those prevented me from walking on both of my legs. None of those stopped me from xtraining or took me away from running for who knows how long. I have never had to face starting over from zero on all fronts; pace, mileage, endurance... This is the biggest obstacle I have ever had to overcome since I began running.
"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans"
The more I thought of this the more I thought it'd make a great post; write honestly about injury. I think everyone who’s ever worked through an injury can relate when I say that when you’re injured you try to keep a brave face on for the world to see and do your best to stay focused, positive, and determined. But the fact of the matter is there are a lot of dark moments that we don’t necessarily like to talk about because we either don’t want to acknowledge those moments or we don’t want anyone to see that we really are human and feel weak, frustrated, angry, etc…
"Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face..."
So here it is, the truth about being injured, or the truth as it applies to me since this is my blog and I’m writing it;
When you are injured you will have good days and bad days.
Good days are spent xtraining like a good little injured runner and believing that you really will come back stronger from all of this. You troop through your day and only think about how much your situation sucks a fraction of the time you would if it were a bad day. You don't cry at the drop of a dime and you don't think forlornly about what might have been when you think of the races that weren't.
Then there's the bad days, where your day includes but is not limited to:
Feeling like giving up.
no any reason.
Feeling disappointed, angry, frustrated, and mad.
There will be days you will hate running and everyone that can.
You will feel the need to consume massive amounts of cookies/cupcakes/alcohol.
There will be days you question whether you will ever be able to run as fast or as far again.
There will be times when all the encouragement and support from those around you will make you want to scream.
When someone complains about a bad run you will want to remind them that at least they can and/or you will want to punch them.
Progress, no matter how great or small will never be enough. You will always want more because in your heart you know you shouldn’t be injured at all.
You will spend significant time trying to figure out if you somehow caused your injury and you will have to remind yourself that injuries happen to everyone.
A bright sunny day will loose it's luster and you will notice every. single. person. running and it will break your poor injured heart to not be out there running too.
You will feel like you are left out of the "cool kids" club as you watch, as if behind a pane of glass, everyone running and training for goal races that you can not be a part of.
You will feel like an old timer when you discuss running, reliving your "glory runs" pre-injury, because they are all that you have and no one cares about your elliptical workout.
You will feel sorry for yourself but remember that there is always someone that has it worse than you. The reality is you will be back running, some people will never know that joy at all.
There will be days you won't be able to visit Dailymile, will need to "mark all as read" in your reader, and disconnect from all things social to escape the over-share that is your normal running related life.
Some days, it will be all you can do to just make it through the day without crying, throwing your crutches through a window because they've fallen for the umpteenth time, or physically assaulting someone that gives you a look of pity.
When someone says to you “I know how you feel…” you will want to scream, “NO YOU DON’T!” You might also want to punch them, especially if they are trying to compare a past injury of theirs that is significantly minor in comparison, to yours.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” - Helen Keller
But fear not... eventually all these feelings start to subside. Things get easier with each passing day, you learn to make the most of your situation, and the good days start overtaking the bad. You pick up the pieces, remember to believe in yourself, and eventually you accept all that has happened so you can start moving on. You will look for inspiration in others that have made the most of a worse situation and were able to make it to the other side.
For what it's worth I am definitely still working through the motions and I hope this post helps those of you out there that are going through the same thing. Did I leave anything out? Weigh in, in the comments. Thanks for listening and as always, for your encouragement and support. (Even on the days I want to punch people.)