Well, well, I can’t say I’m surprised. I think this is the 4th blog I’ve started and almost the 4th that I quit. But I’m not quitting, not yet. It’s not like I forgot to blog. I thought about it a lot, but it’s hard to blog about running when you are not doing it. I mean who wants to hear me whining about not running? Even my mom doesn’t want to read that*.
So let’s briefly summarize. Coming off a marathon PR at Boston and a solid 50 miler at IAT I was preparing to run Western States. By the end of May I stopped running because of an upper hamstring injury….until about two weeks ago. Okay that’s the simple story, and being injured is actually a lot more work than not being injured (I know this yet I still choose to neglect relatively easy preventative things). I’ve actually been asked about my hamstring injury by several people and I know several more people that have had a similar infliction, so perhaps what I have to say could be useful…to someone…at sometime. Hopefully it won’t be you. I will write in a little more detail about what worked for me in my next post, but for now….
I will talk about the mental aspect of being injured. It sucks. In attempt to deal with it I went on a strict diet of no Strava, avoiding group runs and events at SFRC, and focusing my mental strength to quickly scrolls through those Mt Tam sunrise photos on my instagram and Facebook feeds. I also pretended like I have other hobbies like reading intellectual books, working, or watching sports. I’m amazingly adept at one of those. Still, being injured always results in an uncomfortable conversation that you have with yourself. How much does running define my life? For me, its a lot, and I’m not always sure thats a good thing. Being injured causes me to question many of the fundamental opinions I have about who I am, and it can be a little scary. While, I’m not professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination, I can sympathize with the athletes that have a difficult time redefining themselves after they quit competing. Most of my current social life revolves around friends from high school, college, graduate school, and now in the Bay Area I’ve met through running. Sure many of them don’t run anymore, but I have met so many great people through running. Missing out on that social circle is worse than not running.
Here is where you (the reader) are thinking how pathetic, just move on already. One diagnosis was 6 months, others longer. Don’t get me wrong I love listening to Planet Money and Freakanomics (upside of quitting) and I get that throwing time and energy at something that is not working is not a winning strategy. Still, running enriches my life in so many ways that its hard to imagine any other activity replacing it. When I don’t have it I feel less than whole, no matter how many times I settled into the my chair for some quality reading. So I schemed and dreamt about running again all while I pretended to love the bike and pretended to enjoy free time and find other hobbies. I watched as the running community marched on as normal, my friends continued their successes, traveling to races far and wide, all while I hammered out workouts on the elliptical, stairclimber, mountain bike, and gym in isolation, all too infrequently.
Perhaps my friends will say otherwise, but I think I managed to deal with being injured fairly well. Hiding at home, watching Master Chef marathons while downing pints of ice cream could be worse. But thats over now, anyone want to go for a (slow and short) run?
*actually my mom would read anything I wrote