As with every training season, I got injured again this time. It was 4 weeks prior to marathon day and man, I was on it. I was hitting 7:45 pace for my 22 mile runs. I was peaking; at the top of my game. I was looking at another BQ for 2015 and a PR in the marathon. Then I fell and hurt my ribs. This is the type of injury you can’t just bounce back from. You can’t put ice on it and hope for the best. It took me fully out of commission for awhile. And I hated it. As each day went by, I realized that the likelihood of me seeing the starting line on 10/27 was not good. It took me a bit before I finally gave in and cancelled my hotel room. I’ll admit, I help out hope that I would wake up one day and feel 100% and be able to go out and do one last long run. But that day didn’t come. I felt as if I let everyone down, but most of all myself. The next few days I had to come to grips with not being able to compete this fall. My friends heard about it and they are saints to put up with me.
As marathon day came and went, I found myself reflecting on the past few weeks and how I wish I would’ve handled things differently. Here’s what I learned from this experience:
1. There will always be another race. It may not be the race you envisioned or the one all of your friends are doing; but there will be others, I promise.
2. Your life will not end because you can’t race. Get some fro-yo and slap on a smile.
3. Look at the down time as a time to refocus and pick up a new hobby; perhaps coin collecting (only a few injuries a year from that hobby).
4. Focus on making others a priority instead of running. I focused on others racing and how I can help them. I focused on making my friendships stronger, being a better girlfriend, sister, and daughter.
I feel for all runners who are on the injured list. I know what it’s like; it’s not pretty. It’s gonna be hard but you’re strong and you’ll get through this.
I’m really bad at recovering. It’s one of those things that you don’t do until you have to. I should know by now that I need to focus more on things like recovering, stretching, and healing. I recently started to spend time each week on aiding my body in recovering from long runs and tough runs like tempos or sprints. I’m at the point in my training where I start to get injured and I want to have just one successful training period without an injury. So I’m doing what I can to take care of my body after beating it up.
When I get home each night, I have my compression socks and foam roller waiting for me. I have to keep them right next to my bed or else I won’t use them. I’ve recently started running my long runs with compression socks on as well. I’m not sure if it helps during the run but I figure with my blood clotting history and the stress I’m inflicting on my legs, it can’t hurt.
I also started taking notice of what ailments and aches I have during my runs. Usually, if I feel a pulled muscle or a knee pain, it tends to pass after a few miles. But now, I’m taking note of it and dealing with it post run. That little knee pain can become much more a few weeks later. I’ve also started planning my recovery days better. I use to push through and my runs would be all over the place. After reading about how to properly let your legs recover, I know I need to work my rest days into my schedule as a mandatory training day.
I’ve had too many regrets about not recovering properly after a run. It’s now becoming part of my workout rather than an afterthought.
How do you recover?
I never seem to think about manners as it pertains to racing until the first few miles of a race. Off days, practice runs, even group runs….the thought never crosses my mind. It’s not until those first few miles of a race that I always think I need to write these rules down so that everyone knows what is appropriate and best for the racing field. So here is my take on proper racing etiquette.
1. Don’t jump corrals.
Corrals are set up for a reason. They have a purpose. And you should be honest when submitting your anticipated finish time. By jumping corrals or putting a faster finish time than you can do; you are hurting those runners that worked hard to get into that corral. You will slow the race field down. The beginning of a race is crowded to begin with so it makes it more difficult to have to navigate around slower runners.
2. Don’t spit in the crowds.
Yes, I have felt spit on me on more than one occasion. Despite what you think of your accuracy, there is always a wind or crowd factor. If you need to spit, move to the edge and spit on sidewalk and ensure no one else is coming up next to you.
3. Watch the elbows.
Why people run with really wide elbows I’ll never know. But they do. In that case, be cautious of the people around you. Don’t try to pass a herd of tightly packed runners with wide elbows. Yeah, it hurts to get hit in the chest with your bony elbow.