Knock On Wood
A short while ago I published an article about running, (you can read it here: About a Runner), and while it was well received, one of my friends mentioned the fact that I did not include the subject of injury. I casually and rather smugly replied that I had never been injured, so therefore I couldn’t really write on the subject. Well, I should have pinched myself harder than she wanted to pinch me. I should have knocked on wood…I should have knocked on every single piece of wood I could find from here to her house in Maryland, because now I’m injured. And it completely sucks.
This past week, I trudged through the five stages of grief over my injury: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And while I have indeed finally accepted the fact that I’m “out of the game” for a while, it doesn’t really help me at all. What do I do now?
I’ve had a serious love-hate relationship with running for about a year, and while I always say that I love to hate it and hate to love it (read my poem on the subject: Rebel Runner), I sure do miss it now that it’s no longer an option for me. Go figure. But, I’ve outlined a seven part plan to follow in order to stay sane while I rehab this dreadful hamstring pull.
Part One ~ I Will Chill Out
I’m going to just chill out and digest the fact that running will still be there for me when I’m ready to run again. It’s not going anywhere. I didn’t run at all for 25 years, so I can certainly take a month off.
Part Two ~ I Will Do What I Can
I’m going to do whatever I can do for the next four weeks. I’m going to swim, I’m going to do a lot of non-weight-bearing exercises, I’m going to stretch, lift weights, walk slowly, and I’m going to ride a bike on a flat surface. But I’m not going to run. I’ve been told repeatedly that running will only aggravate my injury and I will risk a serious re-injury – one that will keep me away from running for months. No thanks. I will heed the advice I’ve been given, and just let it heal completely. In my hour of darkness, I will heed the wise words of Sir Paul McCartney and just Let it Be. Because I actually want to get back to running as soon as possible. Never thought I’d say that, ever, but it’s true.
Part Three ~ I Will Eat Less
I’m going to eat a little bit less for a while. This will be my biggest challenge. I lost a lot of weight, and now my diet is precise most of the time. I’m cautious without going over the top. I’ve come to enjoy a very healthy, stable weight by eating a lot of good food, and maintaining a serious fitness regime. I have to take the fact that I will be exercising a bit less into consideration. I know that I have a good, old-fashioned food/mind battle to look forward to for the next several weeks but I’m up for it. I know what I need to do. I will need to dig deep into the inner strength I’ve built these last two years to make non-emotional, “rational for my situation” food choices. My plan is to stick with vegetable based protein shakes, and a lot of nutrient-rich leafy greens. Basically the same stuff I’m used to eating only I won’t be indulging in any extras. And that’s OK. That’s the reality of my life right now and I’m over it. These are the adjustments one needs to make in order to stay healthy and keep the weight off during rehabilitation.
Part Four ~ I Will Pretend
I will be engaging in what I like to call “pretend” therapy. I think I’m just going to pretend to be on maternity leave for a little while. Or maybe I have the flu for a few weeks. Or maybe my children are in grave danger, and the only way for me to keep them safe is to not run. I could also pretend that my right hamstring strain is a preemie, and it just needs four weeks to get strong before coming home. I wouldn’t run in those situations, right? Right? Let me know if you’ve got any for me. I don’t mind delusion if it helps me get through the next month.
Part Five ~ I Will Pass the Time
I’m going to twiddle my thumbs with my eyes crossed for a good portion of every day.
Part Six ~ I Will Talk About My Hamstring All the Time
I’m going to talk incessantly about my injury to everyone who will listen and everyone who acts like they are listening. In the same way that I reported my running, I’m going to babble about my hamstring. This is sure to be good times for my husband, family, friends, and co-workers. If you would like me to text you updates about my hamstring just let me know. Also, see part five.
Part Seven ~ I Will Look at the Big Picture
Finally, I need to remember that this too shall pass. It really will. It’s not great, but it’s also not the worst thing in the world. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have comforted myself at bit by flipping through various articles about athletes who endured career ending and/or altering injuries. Joe Theismann comes to mind. Tony Conigliaro. Ah, poor Tony. And while depressing, it helps me put into perspective what my injury really means to me and the rest of the world. It means nothing. Not a damn thing. All it means is I that I have to adjust and wait. It means I can’t run for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t mean my running game is over. I have new understanding and full appreciation for anyone who has ever had to “sit it out.” It sucks but it is merely a bump in the road. I was running 4 – 7 miles at a time, about four times a week. One would hardly call me an athlete in the truest sense, but I am an athlete just the same.
What I will say is this: An injury like this one can simply crush a person who fought really hard and long to get to a certain level of physical, spiritual, and mental fitness (read my essay, The Way to Peace here). I can only imagine what it would feel like to be “out for the season”, or “out for the rest of your life”. During my time off I will also try to remember and keep in my prayers the many people who are battling debilitating, life-altering illnesses, and events and atrocities in their immediate space with no end in sight – no end in sight to their suffering. They’re doing this while I whine about my pulled hamstring. It sure puts my problem right into perspective.
Moral of the story? Don’t do a spontaneous split on the dance floor after one too many Jägermeister shots during an epic night of Oktoberfest debauchery and think you will walk off unscathed. Silly Kim! Splits are for kids.