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Humbled and Just a Little Scared

cropped-miles-for-mills2.jpgOkay this is one of those posts, where I am going talk about one of my greatest fears in running. And no, I am not whining or complaining this time, I don’t need Karma to be such a Bitch.

It is something that all athletes (no matter how great or humble) face at some point in their athletic careers.

Think of the many athletes (whether they are 30, 40, 50 or older), have an injury and they just are not the same afterwards.

Now I am not my any stretch of my imagination or any thing else all that a great runner, but I am still competitive, if only in my own mind and with myself. Okay, once in a while in my own age group too.

Right now I am scared to death, that I will not be able to return to running at the same or even close to the level of running that I was able to do, just a couple of months ago.

Yeah we all have our highs and lows, when we rehabbing from an injury, but this time it feels different.

Before this damn hamstring strain or whatever to hell I did to it, I was was starting to do quality speed workouts on the treadmill, at some pretty quick paces. While I was frustrated with my race performances prior to the injury, I believed that I was on my way to getting back in shape and looking forward to having a great spring racing season.

Needless to say it didn’t happen.

Since April, I have done my mobility, strengthening and stretching routines better than I ever have, but unfortunately to this point, there is minimal progress with my hamstring — at best.

Is the injury that finally takes away the one thing that I have always taken for granted, but never really done as much with as I could or should have.

My ability to run faster.

Have age and injury finally taken their toll?

I can hear many out there now, saying “What in the hell are you whining about Harold? You just ran two weeks of 30+ miles and this week you are more than likely going to hit 40+ miles – isn’t that great for your age and this “soon” after a serious injury?”

Yeah and the ever popular “it just needs more time to heal” and old “the older you get the slower things heal.”

I know all this stuff and maybe it might even be true that I should be happy with what I can do or that my hamstring just needs more time, (hell I hope so), but the the truth is I do not believe it and

No.

No, it isn’t.

Although I am running, it is because I will run, not because it is easy to run.

You know that old “if you don’t mind, it don’t matter” mentality.

I am scared.

I am scared that…

because my leg just doesn’t feel right when I run, it hurts more than it should at this point in the rehab process and it is almost as though the communication to the leg from the brain has been garbled or scrambled to a different frequency and no matter, how I try to adjust, strengthen, stretch, twist, probe, strum, push, rest or use it, nothing really changes.

I am pretty sure there is not anything structurally wrong with the muscles or tendons, otherwise my Chiro would have told me when I have asked him what the real problem is in there. However, while things have gotten marginally better, they are no where near, where I was before this injury and no it is not something that is just “in my head”.

Have I reached that point, where a seemingly minor injury is going to change the rest of my athletic life, my running goals, dreams and all that other nonsense that so many of us secretly carry around with us as runners.

Possibly?

That scares me.

The reality is that

Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill and if I am patient, sometime in August or September I will look back and ask myself WTF was I all worked up about. At least that is what I want to believe.

I guess what I am scared of is that…

I really am getting old.

At some point in everyone’s life, we no longer want to admit we are getting older and that aging does affect us more than we want to admit.

Oh, I have kidded around, talking about what an old fart or bastid that I am, but I never really felt that way until now.

I have always felt younger than my years and been able to do things that many people much younger than I am could not, especially when it comes to running. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been seeing a pattern and it is a very humbling experience, “those younger people are now doing things that I cannot”.

Does this mean I am I going to wimp out and stop trying or use this injury and getting older as acceptable excuses to not work as hard – no.  However…what happens if no matter how hard I work, things do not get better?

What do I do then?

I guess that is what my blog is all about, the story of an aging runner and my continuing efforts to put one foot in front of the other as fast and as far as I can, while confronting my fears, limitations and other wonderful things that Father Time will give to me as I continue to get older and keep running.

What do you think?

Have you ever felt this way?

Are we all one injury away from having to change everything about how you participate and view the sport that we love?

Thank you listening or actually reading about an old fart talk about his fears and worries. 🙂

Yeah I have been humbled and yes I am just a little scared about the changes that are happening lately.

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4 Comments »

  1. I read this on my phone while we were shopping Saturday, and keep thinking about it … and I agree with what you are saying. It IS a scary thought that you have crested the ‘speed curve’, the fitness curve or whatever and are now at the point where you will always be slower and able to run less than before, and also that your ability to ‘bounce’ has greatly diminished. I feel like part of me is either actively or passively moderating my activity – I don’t want to push it too much because I fear an injury that will negatively impact my running future.

    I just hope you are wrong and things are coming back a bit slower than expected.

    • Yeah I have reached that point already and I know it – I will always be slower than I was, but once I get past this hamstring thing, I know that I can get enough back to make a run at a sub 20:00 minute 5K. Everything else feels strong and I ran fairly well in yesterday’s 5K despite the hamstring, so I am optimistic today.

      What I believe is going on is that I am in the middle of Rehab Madness – One run you feel like it is the end of the world and the next optimism is the operative word and it alternates in random order and levels of delirium. There is no rhyme or reasoning with a runner in the middle of Rehab Madness, all you can do is let them blather on and sooner or later, they heal up and shut-up about being injured. 🙂

      At least that is the plan ;-).

  2. A friend of mine had a hip fracture a few years ago and had the same worries. Would he be able to run again, would he be able to get it back and improve his running if/when he did. He said that it made him wonder if running was over for him.
    He is back running but taking it easy. The key is to be patient with yourself. None of us like to hold back or cut back ,but sometimes that is all you can do.
    I think that if you give this injury the time it needs, you will be good enough to build back and go after those times that you seek.
    Andy

    • Thanks Andy – It isn’t that I won’t be able to run again that I am worried about, because I know I will run – that is a given. What bothers me if this is the injury that changes things, that I will have to accept running at a different level than I see it now and that is hard for an old fart like me to do. The other part is that I know that I am in the Rehab Madness part of getting healthy. Where there are 2 steps forward 3 steps back and then reverse it, so I don’t know what direction I am going most of the time and it is driving me nuts.

      Patience is not one of my virtues and that is why my blog is appropriately named Ramshackle Runnah, I am trying to be good, but… well you know 😉

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