The stages of grief (as seen through the eyes of an injured runner).

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve talked about it on the blog but if you know me in person, my stupid running injury has consumed quite a bit of my thoughts, my tears, and my patience. And if you deal with me on a daily basis, well god bless your little soul. It’s been about 7 weeks since this all started and I honestly didn’t think it would take this long to heal. For something that seemed relatively minor, I figured a couple weeks off and I’d be good to go. This is where the “newbie runner” sign gets plastered on my forehead again, because clearly I had no idea.

Stage 1: Denial
Obviously in those first few days I woke up every morning praying that it had just been a dream, or that the pain I had been feeling magically gone away overnight, or that maybe I had just made it up. When I was finally forced to make the appointment with an Orthopedic – shit got real.

Stage 2: Anger
Unfortunately, I do anger well. I have a horrible flaw of using it when I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling. I got angry with my body, with my gait, my balance, my shoes. I got angry with my damn hips that no matter how much weight I’ve lost never seem to shrink and NOW they’re the reason I can’t run. I was angry that I took a break, angry that maybe I came back from it a little over zealous. I was angry with my job, with bootcamp, even with my beloved trainer. Angry when I would get my hopes up with a run… only to wake up the next morning in pain again. I just wanted someone or something to blame and the fact that I didn’t made it even more frustrating.

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Wine, bath bombs & Runners World soothe the injured runner’s soul (for the moment anyway).

Stage 3: Bargaining
Bargaining mostly took place with my “patience of a saint” trainer. From the moment I came back with my doctor’s note and a face full of snotty tears she had plans A-Z on how to get me back to healthy and running. And while I put my full faith in her knowledge and plans… it doesn’t mean I didn’t try to bargain my way back to running (and running further) as fast as possible. I promised extra stretching, incredibly slow miles and while I always knew the answer in the back of my head- you bet I still tried my best. Looking back, it’s amazing she hasn’t killed me (yet).

Stage 4: Depression
I guess since running can give you such a high, it shouldn’t have surprised me just how low it can also bring you. Just as soon as I started to feel like I had control of the situation some new thought would enter my mind and I would lose it again. The fact that days and weeks were slipping by and I was losing the endurance I had built up was incredibly defeating, and I often wondered if this was my body’s way of telling me I am just not meant to be a runner. Maybe Shakira had it right all along- hips don’t lie.

Shakira-hips

Stage 5: Acceptance
Acceptance is a hard one when you’re as stubborn as I am, because acceptance means that you have given up control. If there’s anything I’ve learned about running it’s that there are always going to be elements out of your control. Becoming a better runner means learning how to deal with the curveballs and rework your plans. When I realized I had no other options to resort to, I gave in to acceptance. I accepted that I was injured, and that coming off a running injury takes time and patience. I accepted that had to trust my trainer and her plans A-Z. I accepted that training for this half marathon isn’t going to be what I thought it was going to be, and that there’s a chance I may not even make it to the starting line. I accepted that the real goal here isn’t to get me to my next 5K as quick as possible, but to make sure that I have a long, healthy and happy life as a runner. Acceptance didn’t happen overnight, and sometimes it disappeared as quickly as it came. But in the end I knew the only was I was ever going to make it through this was if I just sucked it up and accepted.

I can’t say that I’m completely in the clear yet, but there is definitely a light at the end of my injury tunnel. My pain levels have been decreasing, my runs increasing. Last weekend was the big test where I was allowed to run a local 10K – slowly, no racing. It may not have been my fastest race, but crossing that finish line without any pain was the absolute win of the day. Slowly, but surely… I am coming back.

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In pure shock that I just finished a 10K after not running 6 miles since January. And pure determination to keep going.

8 responses to “The stages of grief (as seen through the eyes of an injured runner).

  1. Welcome back doll! Great job on your come back!

  2. I bet the new fancy pants helped! ;)

  3. I know the stages of grief (over a running injury) all too well. I feel for you! So glad to see that you are back at it. Take it easy for a while. You don’t want to end up re-injuring yourself!

    • Oh absolutely- I’m being overly cautious and going through my routine of stretching, foam rolling, and icing consistently. Happy, healthy runner is the goal here!

  4. I am going through the exact same thing right now! It sucks, but congrats on being on the road to recovery!

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