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It HAS Been A Tough Year

This morning I was going through my reading list and Christine over at Love, Life, Surf, had a great post (5 Tips For Overcoming Negative Thoughts and Learning to Fly) that really made me stop and think.

Let’s back-up for a minute

Over the past year, it seems that my running has taken a back seat to recovering from a multitude of injuries.

The residual effects of a partially torn left Achilles tendon and Posterior Tibialis on May 28th of last year (yeah last year).

Take the bad with the good :-)

Take the bad with the good 🙂 My foot in May 2013

Yeah, this is still bothering me a lot more than I let on after more than a year of working on the damn thing.

Even though I went through a long period of physical therapy, tried Graston therapy last month (which only re-aggravated it) and have done a lot of mobilization, stretching, strengthening routines, nothing seems to actually work to get it so that I can run on it pain-free.

I have lost confidence that this injury will ever allow me to train/run at the levels I want now.

However, I can still run on it, though I have to be very aware of the how it feels when I am running faster and slow down if it starts to tighten up too much.

Strained left hamstring on April 30th

This little “pull” has totally screwed up my spring and summer training and racing. Before I did this, I was feeling pretty good and making progress at starting to do more despite my Achilles issues.

Unfortunately, since it happened, my training has been intermittent (at best), actually it sucked and my running fitness levels have gone in the wrong direction. I even went so far as going and paying for a Chiropractor out-of-pocket to see if that helped, it did a little, but I quickly reached a level where the manipulation were not doing anymore good.

Once that happened, I made the choice to just go for it and stop worrying about how the hamstring was going to react – it would either get better or get worse, but I was done with this in between long-term not quite right bullshit.

It seemed like a switch was thrown at that point and my hamstring stopped bothering me as much. Maybe it was a matter of “if I don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!” More likely it was that my hamstring needed a break from all the ART that the Chiro was doing and the self-ART I was doing at home.

Whatever it was, I really do not care, all I know is that I was just about back to running as good as I could for my present fitness level and BOOM!

A half-full of hay double-axle trailer runs over my right foot on July 12th

This is the fully-loaded trailer the day before,

This is the fully-loaded trailer the day before,

Yeah my freaking right foot got run over by a hay wagon when I was helping out a neighbor.

My right foot sure did get a big stress test and definitely got scrunched pretty good. Just a little bruising was visible, I was able to walk on it immediately and have been able to do Bennie’s long walk, which is at least a couple of miles a day and all the other activities around the house with only minor discomfort.

Based what I have experienced in the past, I don’t think anything is completely broke, but due to the discomfort (things got ground together way too much and stretched more than they are meant to be stretched), I have taken it very easy this week and haven’t tried to run a single step and due to the level of discomfort I am experiencing.

Before I start running again, I want to be able to rule-out that I do not have a stress reaction or small stress fracture in my foot, especially around my Tailor’s Bunionette, which the tire went directly over and where I am feeling the most discomfort.

I have a sneaking suspicion it will be another week or two, before I will be running again.

Otherwise

My other injuries are minor, niggling little things that are just inconveniences (IT Band issues, Tailor’s Bunionette, Patella Tendon, tight Hamstring(s), possible Periformis crap) – you know those little things that all runners seem to “run” into at some point. Things that mean I have some issues I should take care of, but never seem to get around to once they start feeling better. After all I just want run and not worry about doing the little things that could make my running a lot more consistent.

So why did Christine’s post strike such a chord with me?

I needed to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.

When she said the following:

As soon as I start to feel a twinge or a potential twinge in my knee/foot/ankle/etc., I start to get worried because I don’t want to be injured again. And it’s a voice in my head that so hard to tune out, let alone turn off.

Over the last few weeks, my body has started to talk back to me…a lot. With each comment from my body, my head fills with negative thoughts and frustration – frustration that my body won’t cooperate and that I appear to be falling apart at 38. And the thoughts and frustration weighs down on me, making my body feel heavy. Each run feels that much harder. On a few runs, I have literally stopped running to shake the negative thoughts out of my head.

Now if someone who is almost 20 years younger than me is feeling this way, I have a feeling that a lot of other runners who have been injured lately are feeling the same way.

While it is nice to know that I am not alone in how I am feeling, now that I know it, what am I going to do about it?

Christines – 5 Tips

Using Christine’s 5 Tips seems like a good start, well at least 4 of them.

  1. Write about it. Post about it. Tweet about it. Maybe I do this a little too much sometimes, but at the same time my running community is so supportive of the injury struggles I have gone through and you all really do not realize how much of a positive difference you make when you take the time to pick me up, say positive things, call me a fool when I need a reality check, when I get down about all these damn injuries that seem to find me. Despite my efforts to avoid them.

    Yes, I really do work hard to avoid them, it just isn’t showing up on the scorecard.

  2. Let it go. If it doesn’t serve you, let it go. It is time to move-on and let go of the negative emotions I have accumulated due to the seemingly endless injuries that have affected my running. They serve no purpose and get in the way of getting back to where I want/need to be.

    As important, maybe more importantly I need to let go of thinking that I am going to just start running again, when my foot, my hamstring, my Achilles or whatever else hurts, starts to feel better – it doesn’t work that way. I need to have a plan that I will follow, to not over-do my return to running this time. Running a progression to get back to the levels I want is better than this boom, then break cycle that I am presently in.

  3. Remember what you have accomplished. I am not afraid of the hard work that becoming a better runner entails and have done it before, so I know what I have to do once I get healthy.

    I have overcome so much since 2011, I am no longer obese, my knee doesn’t ache when I walk or run, I have run with some amazing people, I am still pretty competitive locally in my age group (even on only one good leg) in smaller races and can run fairly well for an old fart – no I am not bragging, but stating how far I have come.

  4. A good coach helps too. Due to cost factors, I probably will never have a coach, but I have enough experience to know what I have to do to be successful as a runner, although I will not have the accountability that having a coach brings to the table.

    A big part of what I have to do is continue the mobilization and stretching routines that I have developed over the last few months and more importantly start to really work on strengthening my weak areas that are the underlying reasons for many of my problems. No I am not too concerned about where my foot hits, when I properly strengthen my core, hips, hamstrings and calves that will take care of itself.

    I was so impressed with Kinetic Revolution’s 30 Day Challenge that I enrolled in Jame’s 6-week course and will start it when my foot is ready and use it as the basis of my return to running plan – instead of just going ahead and trying to get back to 30-40 miles a week as soon as possible. I do plan to start doing the strengthening exercises that do not bother my foot, while waiting for it to get ready to run again.

  5. Believe you can fly. I know that I WILL run the way that I know I can again in the near future. I just have to be patient (not that I am real good at that 😉 ), let my body heal and believe in myself.

    Then go do the work. That being able to and then doing the work thing is the key ingredient isn’t it.

    Also one thing that I do not underestimate is the support that my online friends give me. Without your help, I would not be the runner I have become and will become.

    I am ever thankful that I have you all here supporting my efforts to do more than this old fart ever thought he could.

The reality is

It is not always easy to stay positive when things seem like they just are not working for you, then the negative thoughts begin to overwhelm you if you start to believe them. Christine’s post reminded me of that, made me stop/think about what I was doing to myself and got me off the pity-party path I was starting down the past couple of days.

Yes, shit happens and we all have bad stretches, then we have a choice

  • to keep our heads up and keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if they are teenie, tiny steps forward.
  • go sit on the couch or go lay in bed, pull the covers over my head, whine, piss and moan about how unfair it is and how everything and everyone sucks and give up

Just because I have had a bad stretch when it comes to my running, does not mean that I am done as a runner!

It does mean that I have to be patient, do what I can to properly rehab all of my injuries, suck it up when I have to, but most of all keep smiling, because I know deep down that I will run the way that I want to run at some point…

as long as I do not give up.

I know that I will not give up.

Christine – thank you for your post this morning, it was there when I needed it most.

5 Comments »

  1. Incredible post Harold – I smiled and nodded through the whole thing.

    To me it points to why removing ‘ramshackle’ was so important … because it turned the focus back to injuries and negativity, directly in conflict to #2 and #3! I think you are so correct in thinking about things in terms of moving forward rather than focusing on how the past impacts the present and future.

    I always like the mind over matter analogy … and as you note, when you said ENOUGH and just got back to it things were progressing well. Well, until the hay truck … but that wasn’t a ‘running injury’ (well, I guess neither was jumping from the flat bed … ).

    I agree that Christine’s post was great – and I have just added a new blog to my roll 🙂

  2. Thank you Mike, it felt good to write this one and it got me out the funk that I was headed towards. I agree with you about the Ramshackle, it just made me focus so much on the negative that it had begun to affect my outlook towards running. I am now much more focused on moving forward,instead of dwelling on crap I cannot control.

    Freak injuries happen (at least to me it seems), but if collect most of them it is saving someone else from being grabbed by the injury bug. However, after this past year, I think it is time for my magnetic personality to dip in my injury grabbing power and let it go by without affecting me for a at least a couple of decades ;-).

    I have read Christine’s blog for a long time (2-3 of years) and she is one of the good ones – like you :-).

  3. Harold – this post, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear that my words resonated and that you found something helpful from them. I’m so sorry that the injuries seem to come one after the other (ohmygosh your foot!!!). I have often thought that I would just like to feel good and healthy for one month! Then I realized that I was so fixated on not feeling well and thinking ahead about what I thought I wouldn’t be able to do in the future that it was truly affecting my attitude. Like you, I need to remember how far I’ve come in the past few years from my injuries and to continue to do my PT exercises even when I feel good 🙂 Thank you so much for this post.

    • Christine – your post made a difference and pre-empted the pity-party path I was getting ready to head down. Just a bad stretch, I know that it will stop, but I will be glad when it does. Our attitude toward the injuries/aches/pains we have make a difference in how we react to it. We have come a long ways int past few years and we will keep going further 🙂

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