The ” i ” word in this blog isn’t ice cream. That means if your sweet tooth is acting up, then sorry, this might just be the wrong blog for you. Today the focus is on the less sweet and decadent world … of injuries.
Like I was talking about in one of my last posts, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself anything close to an “expert” or even “intermediate” runner. I’ve been running for about 3 years and consider myself a rookie runner. Each day I’m out running I see or come across something new. The other day I learned the challenges that come with doing fartlek when there’s like 4 different telephone poles on the side of the road that you’re trying to keep track of. Phew! Through running, I’ve had the good fortune of only being injured twice. The first time was my own fault and I bounced back super fast, whereas the second, and my most recent injury, was one that came at a much greater cost.
Last track season, almost a year ago, I was at practice and doing a cooldown after a run and some strides. I thought I would show-off and jump one of the hurdles, seeing as I had done hurdles once at a meet nearly two years before, and as I thought I would safely make it over the hurdle only to enjoy an ego boost as my team mates applauded at my spectacular feat. Well, that’s what I was hoping to happen at least. Landing on my ankle and watching it swell like a balloon? Not exactly what I pictured. I should’ve at least won an Academy Award for my performance though, because as soon as I landed … BOOM! Crying while believing that I had arrived at the end of the world, the first thoughts that passed through my mind were 1) I would be out for the rest of my season, and in my dramatic state 2) that I would never run again. After a few roles of athletic tape, gallons upon gallons of ice, and a long wallow in my own self-pity … I was back up and running only three days later. I had luckily managed to only give myself a minor ankle sprain. I kept it taped and iced for the next few weeks, but was able to finish my season without any further hurdles (haha) to overcome. Since that fateful jump I’ve vowed never to attempt hurdles again … But while two of the track coaches are teachers at my school, I still am given a hard time about it. Tragic then, but I’m able to laugh at it now!
After never have sprained or broken anything before, I got off lucky from my first injury. This past fall though, I wasn’t so lucky. Over the summer, I started running two-a-days and ended up logging in about 400 some miles over a span of 3 months. On top of that, I also developed a plantar’s wart which (as they’re verypainful!) made me compensate by running on the outside of my foot. These factors combined to make running extremely painful for me, and going into the beginning of my sophomore season
of cross country, I decided to get it checked out by a doctor. Originally going in to get my plantar’s warts checked out, I left the office wearing a boot with the order that I couldn’t run for at least 6 weeks. At that point, I was devestated, ruined, hopeless, and a total basket-case. The phone call to my coach was horrible, I couldn’t even talk without choking up. After all my hard work over the summer and the goals I had set for the upcoming season, I knew they were now on hold. I had been diagnosed with a stress fracture on the top of my left foot. Now that was an actual injury, nevermind tripping over a hurdle. That day at school (which I’m not sure why I decided to go) as soon as I walked into my classes, my team mates and friends were shocked. They just looked at my boot, and automatically realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to run. Practice was quiet that day too, no one offered any support. I suppose they didn’t want to say anything that would upset me. As the weeks wore away, I became more comfortable with my situation and challenged myself to overcome my injury with the hope that I might be able to race at
the end of the season. I cross trained everyday by working out on the bike in our weight room, swimming twice a week, going on walks when I could, and intense circuit training. I went to every meet and practice to support my team and while some days it was hard to watch them run, I found motivation in their hard work for each grueling day on the bike in the hope that I would be released. Looking back on it now, I’m amazed by how I made it through. Some days were easier than others, but I knew that there was nothing that I could do seeing that the only thing that would heal my foot was time. As districts approached, the doctor (kind of) released me. My foot wasn’t totally healed, but I decided that the fracture couldn’t get any worse and decided to run. If I hadn’t raced at districts, my team wouldn’t have beat out the 7 year reigning champs for the district title. For the first time in 15 some years, BOTH the girls and boys’ cross country teams were district champions. The girls’ team beat out second place by one point. I went on to race at state as well, even though in both races I was in intemse pain because of my foot, and as the season came to an end, could finally relax and focus only on healing. I took another 3 weeks off before being officially released to run. The first few runs were only on the grass for an alloted time, but it made me realize how much running meant to me and how my injury made me stronger both physically and mentally. I can now understand the price that getting injured has, and how if affects others besides just you. As tough as it is during, you just have to hold onto that hope that you’ll get better and never let go to that no matter what happens. If you do, there’s no way you can get better. Sometimes, you really just have to believe and ignore the negative thoughts that say you can’t do it. You CAN make it through, and when you do? You’ll realize how strong you really have become.
Going through my stress fracture was tough, and I lost a cross country season out of it. Going into my track season right now, I have bigger goals and a much more focused idea of what I want. I didn’t have a season to show what I can do, and coming out of my injury mentally stronger, this is my time to do that. So no jumping hurdles for this girl, I’m on a mission to have a kick butt season and show people what they missed. Watch out.
Until next time,