Hey, guess what? I’m injured. Did you know that? Have I not been shouting it from the mountain tops for the past three-ish months? I would love to say that it’s gotten better, but it clearly hasn’t. Although many people have been great about this injury, at some point you don’t want to hear, “You’ll get better at some point” and instead you want to hear, “Oh, you’re joining me for a twenty mile run? Awesome!”
But that’s not happening anytime soon, as my back still is not my friend. I even made it cookies tonight and that still did not help. In the meantime, I’ve had nagging pain for about three months and injury for about two and a half months. My last speed workout was about nine weeks ago. For the past three weeks, I’ve basically done nothing. I stopped using the elliptical or pretending to take up swimming. (A shame since I bought goggles…) Can’t say I’ve gotten better.
However, in the past month or so, I’ve learned how to be injury. Not how to get injured, but how to be injured. It’s a little bit different than my normal way of life, and it’s took a bit to come around to. I guess this might be how the rest of the world lives, but they probably don’t spend a lot of their extra free time (you know, from not doing ten mile runs…) looking up what marathons they could possibly do when their injuries heal. So here is my current guide to how to be injured.
you start to eat less
I don’t know about you, but when I’m running 40+ miles per week, I eat a lot. I don’t have a tendency to eat all in one sitting, but I eat a lot spread out over time. You have to if you’re hitting 50 mile weeks! However, when you go from full speed to nothing, you don’t need to eat that much. Having been in training for one thing or another for about three years, it wasn’t natural for me to suddenly adjust my eating simply because I immediately stopped running.
Let’s just say that I definitely went through a few weeks where I felt like a whale. I was even convinced I look like one. I don’t own a scale and therefore don’t weigh myself…and I know I’m by no means overweight, but I felt huge. I pay a little bit more attention to what I’m eating now because I’m not running at all. I kind of hate it.
But I finally naturally started to eat less. I went out to dinner and couldn’t finish a meal I easily would have polished off beforehand. Only managed 3/4 of a bagel instead of the whole thing…and still being hungry. Physically full. It’s weird.
you pay less attention to what time it is
I’ve never been much of a partier, but when you don’t have to worry about getting enough sleep before meeting someone for a long run the next day, eating pierogis at 2:30 in the morning because that’s what the birthday girl doesn’t phase you. (Plus I’m in night shift funk and couldn’t fall asleep until 3:30 anyway…) But I’ve been going out and having an extra beer or staying out a little later without thinking about how it might affect my workout the next day. Maybe this is how the other half (tenth?) lives…
you don’t see your friends as much
This may seem somewhat counterintuitive…if you spend less time running, wouldn’t you have more time for your friends? Well, when most of your friends are runners, one of the best way to see them is to go for a run with them. Everyone’s busy, schedules are all over the place, but meeting someone for a few miles is a great way to catch up. Therefore, when you’re not running, you don’t see your friends as much. But that doesn’t meant I don’t miss you all…
some days, you’re totally okay with being injured
I was not a happy camper as a result of this back pain, which I don’t think should be hard for any runner to understand. I wanted to run Boston and chase after some huge goals. In the back of my mind, I thought I’d get better and be able to come back and run Boston, even if it wasn’t at goal pace. While I wasn’t happy when I first got to Boston, I got better as time went on, and once the race was over, I felt much better about the injury. Pressure (self-imposed, of course) was off. This morning I definitely told people that I was okay with the injury and just want to get better. Acceptance is nice.
and then you just want to throw rocks at people
Lauren called it “runner rage.” Hours after I told Betsy that I had come to terms with being injured, I spotted a million tweets and facebook updates about people who ran awesome races this weekend. I love you all, I really do…but it made me want to throw rocks at any runner I saw. Which was a lot since it was really nice out.
I’m jealous of people who are running. I’m jealous of people who can run, but are choosing not to. I’m jealous of people who know what their injury is and therefore might have a timeline on when it will get better. Because I don’t really know what’s wrong and therefore I have no idea when it will get better.
you back out of races
So far I’ve backed out of three races. I’m supposed to do a relay in two weeks, but that clearly isn’t happening. I’m hoping I can at least get back into running time to at least do the half marathon at the San Francisco Marathon, but if I’m not up and running within the next month, I’ll probably have to scratch that too. And I really don’t want to.
It also makes it really hard to sign up for races since I have no idea when I’ll get better and be able to train again. When races sell out months upon months in advance, I have no choice but to sign up and hope for the best. I registered for the NYC Marathon, which was basically $240 (or something?) for the option to run. Money doesn’t grow on trees, in case you were wondering.
Have you been injured? What did you do in your non-running time? Help a girl out..