Hi all I am Stephanie from Run for Fun (runforfun-stephanie.blogspot.com), Heather was nice enough to allow me to post for you all. Please drop by my blog and say hi anytime. I am currently GIVING AWAY a pair of Brooks Glycerins. Anyway, enjoy:
If you are a runner, you have likely, at some point, dealt with some type of injury (but if you have not lucky you, I need to take a number from your book!). As a runner, dealing with injuries is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it is one of the hardest things we have to do. Run a marathon sure, no problem. Sit on the sidelines while everyone else runs a marathon because you have planta facitis or IT band pain, unthinkable. But we have all been there. In my running career, of only three years, I have dealt with FOUR, yes I said four, nagging injuries (apparently this has been due to inappropriate foot wear which I am now working to correct). Anyway, one day while at PT, I came across an article discussing the 5 Stages of Grief for Injured Runners. Runner’s World also has a similar article: http://www.active.com/running/Articles/5-Stages-of-Injury-Grief.htm.
Here is my version of the well known stages of grieving – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And as a constantly injured runner, I know them well. I would like to say I am getting through them quicker, but I keep getting stuck at denial and anger, what can I say – it is that Type A personality maybe?
1) Denial – I am fine, I just need a rest day or it is just not my day. I am sure we have all been here. It is the first day something hurts, whether it is your knee, foot, butt (hey it happens), hip…whatever. Something is just off. So as “smart runners,” what do we do? Well, if you were like me the first time I got injured, we ignore it. Of course, right? It will go away, no? In fact, I ignored my pain into an injury. One day I went out to run 10 miles, at mile 5 I was in so much pain. I called EVERYONE I knew to pick me up, but no one could. It was cold and I got that cold sweaty lovely feeling, so what did I do – ran back. What did that equal – about 5 months off from running and doing physical therapy. I learned my lesson, take this one to heart runners!
Pain, no not me!
2) Anger – Why did this happen to me? It is not fair! The world is against me. So after you can’t deny the truth anymore comes anger. We are pissed. We are born to run and now we can’t. Everyone else is out enjoying the Spring after you labored through the winter and where are you, on the couch pouting. Even during today’s run, I exclaimed “I have an amazing base” “I am a fast runner” as I pouted along at about a ten minute mile, far from my 7:25 mile of five weeks ago – maybe I am in the denial/angry phase about my current foot pain…
3) Bargaining – What if I only go a few miles and at a slower pace? I will take more rest days. How about cross training? When we can’t get what we want, we bargain. Swim, bike, elliptical, ride a camel, wait what?. Anything to please get our heart rate up. When I was first injured, I remember my PT telling me I could not do ANYTHING on non-PT days, I responded by what about Pilates or Abs or anything. His response RELAX, sleep in, enjoy the weather. Hmph I said.
What do you think I meant when I said ride a camel?
4) Depression – Tears and Sadness. What else is there to be said really? I have probably shed one too many tears over running, it is JUST running right…eh, if I only believed this. The summer I was injured, I remember sleeping a ton. If I could not run, at least I could catch up on sleep. Why not? I remember watching other runners from my car window and a little part of me would ache. It is not fun when you are told you can’t do when you love.
5) Acceptance – Ok, I am injured, how do I get better. When I finally gave into injury, I found the best PT possible and stuck to his game plan like a hawk. If he said jump, I’d say how high. If he said 1 mile, 1 mile it was, not .99 or 1.01, 1 mile! And slowly I did come back and faster!
Back at it, with my PT!
Ultimately, being injured is not easy and it is NOT fun. But it is a fact of life. If we want to be athletes it is in the job description. So when you are on the down and out, try to enjoy all the other parts of life that you miss when you are running – late nights out with friends, sleeping late, fun road trips, free days, flexible schedules, and less luggage. Just rest up, enjoy, and know that you will be back at there before you know it! Wishing everyone the best, injury free summer and training season!