Let's start with the highs:
1. Hands-down, the best thing that came out of this was the extra time I got to spend with family and friends. I tend to constantly be in training mode and get in an inflexible and rigid schedule with tunnel eye vision always ahead to my next race. I have my set schedule and don't like to stray from it. This means I tend to be in bed early on the weekends and say no to social engagements that will keep me up too late. In other words, I can be pretty lame. Without having a run on tap every morning before the sun shines, I found myself saying yes to more things. Yes to evening engagements with Dan and friends. Yes to Happy Hour. Yes to live music that starts when I'm normally going to bed.
|YES to Happy Hour at Gloria's!|
|YES to hanging out with this guy. He's sexy and he knows it.|
(This picture is payback for something I'm sure)
(This is my shirt BTW)
|YES to cuddling with my favorite basset, Flash|
|YES to spending extra time with sweet Lulu|
3. A Greater Appreciation of Running and Life in General. Hurting my leg brought many challenges I had never expected to face. Knowing I couldn't run for several weeks was a difficult cross to bear. For me, 2-3 weeks seemed like a life time. It not only made me sad, but it also made me angry. I felt cheated because I lost something that I loved, and I simply had to wait to get it back. However, my leg injury has pushed me to grow. During this injury, a friend of ours passed away unexpectedly. While I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself for not being able to run, his family would give anything just to have him back. I can't run? Boo hoo. At least I'm here, alive and otherwise healthy. My problems and sadness are minuscule in comparison. Not only have I discovered a greater appreciation for my life and what I still have, but also I can still see how running impacts my life. The injury has boosted my appreciation for running. I missed running so badly that I now feel ready to train and race with a renewed passion.
4. Being a Triathlete. Being a triathlete (or, a runner who does triathlons as I like to refer to myself) I was lucky to have swimming and biking to fall back on. I could swim my little heart out. I was blessed during this period not only to know how to swim, but to have 2 pools at my disposal to use free of charge. Had I not had these options available, even though they might not be my first choice for workouts, I would have been in a lot worse of a mood.
5. Trying New Things. I did something during my injury I had never before: I swam a 5k. As Jay-z says (yes, I am quoting Jay-Z): "That shit cray." No desire to do that again, but happy to say I've done it.
And Now for the Lows1. Runner's High. People who don't run don't understand the state of euphoria most of us receive while running. I missed starting my day with the runner's high. While I stayed active, other sports just don't provide the same type of high as running does.
2. Diet. Despite my best efforts (okay, maybe not my best efforts), I suck at portion control and tracking every single thing that goes into my pie hole. I did great for a few days before I got annoyed with measuring the amount of cheese and salad dressing I put on my salad. Having more free time also meant more likeliness for us to go out to eat (could have taken that time to learn how to cook but missed the boat on that one). Plus, I find I eat a lot out of habit - 8 pm = dessert time, but the more I focused on not having that dessert at 8 pm, the more I wanted it. I refuse to become to become a slave to calories and numbers (did too much of that in college, which is why I no longer even own a scale and have no idea what I weigh). While I'm certain I gained a few pounds, my pants still fit so game on.
3. Mood. As much as I tried to not feel sorry for myself, there were days when I was just downright bitchy and pissed off because I couldn't go for a run. When work got crazy busy the last few weeks, all I wanted to do was go for a run to relieve the stress - a swim just wasn't going to cut it. I think the most important skill you can develop is that of coping with the emotional effects of forced downtime. Most running injuries don’t hurt all day long or compromise your ability to function outside of running. But they sure can make you frustrated and depressed all day long. I would like to formally apologize to my husband, co-workers and friends who may have encountered me on one of my (many) bitchy day(s!). Nothing personal; just non-running bitterness.
4. Loss of speed. This part sucks donkey balls. I can't say I expected to take a few weeks off and come back to running at the same speed I was pre-injury. I haven't done speed work in about a month, and if you don't use it, you lose it. And, I am seriously just excited to be back running whether it be at 9 min pace or 7 min pace. But, I won't lie and say it's not somewhat frustrating for a pace that was once easy to now be somewhat uncomfortable. I know my speed will come back. Patience Young Grasshopper.
5. Boston training/Re-evaluating Goals. Obviously, I haven't been able to follow my Boston training plan that I was banking on leading me to a sub-3:10 marathon. This week's plan calls for 66 miles. Obviously that is not going to happen either. I know getting back into training, I have to be smart about it. After my recovery, I can't attempt to start back at the same level of running as before the injury. This has led to some re-evaluation of my marathon goals which I will go into in another post. In a nutshell, I am not going to be chasing down numbers this Spring. I don't need that stress or pressure on myself right now. I need to go back to what I did when I initially got into this sport: running for the pure enjoyment of running.
So, there you have it: my highs and lows of my first forced break from running!