While the 3CheapRunners are downing Daiquiris on a Dominican beach, we have asked a few of our blogging buddies to handle our posts for us. Today we have Cori from Olive to Run taking over…Thanks Cori!
I wasn’t always a runner. I started lacing my shoes for purpose rather than for show in February 2009. Before that I despised going any faster than a speed walk, unless I was playing sports. For me, running was part of a sport not A sport in itself. Little did I know, I couldn’t have been more mistaken.
Over the last five years of running I have learned a lot of lessons. I didn’t have a running mentor when I started; I just laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. To break it down, I learned every kind of lesson in the book, from the fact that certain running clothes will result in what is called “chaffing” to if you run in Nike Shox you’re eventually going to get injured. Speaking of injuries- they suck don’t they? But hey, they’re a part of the game… any game you play really. Whether we like it or not, there will come a time in any sport we participate in that we are sidelined.
This happened to me a few times over the years but the hardest hit occurred this last year. My injury wasn’t a huge hit- but the affect it had on me was. I was training for two back to back marathons. The first was the Marine Corps Marathon in October, the second would be three weeks later in Richmond. A few weeks before MCM while I was out for a twenty mile training run I felt a shooting pain go up the back of my leg into my butt. Usually when something like this happens, the individual who experiences it would stop… you know, because pain is not something to mess with. That’s the thing, pain is different from discomfort, pain should be listened to, discomfort should be a challenge, but I am hardheaded. I kept going.
Long story short, it turned into torn muscle fibers in my left hamstring running up to my groin. Now my groin wasn’t pulled but it sure felt like it. Putting on pants was a real chore.
Normally an injury like this would throw me into a state of anger, frustration and sadness. There were injuries that I had in the past that I really let affect my mood… If you’ve ever seen a runner hungry imagine them hungry x 1000 and not being able to run on top of it. We are ugly beasts when you take away our runners high.
“No, this injury is not going to win this time.” was my response when my doctor told me that I wasn’t going to be able to run not just MCM but BOTH marathons. Don’t get me wrong, part of me wanted to curl up into a ball and play the woe is me card but I wasn’t going to let it, not this time. So why? How? What made me stand up and get hardheaded TOWARDS the injury instead of letting it possess my state of mind? Because of the one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, the biggest lesson I have learned over the years of running- how to get through an injury without letting it win.
Think about the last time you experienced an injury that resulted in you being unable to participate in something you loved. What was your initial reaction? Possibly anger, frustration, but then you typically get to a state of sadness and you stay there… why? Because, you have had your ability stripped away from you. But so have so many other individuals and fortunately for you, you are not dead. It sounds silly but the thought and idea of being able to run SOMEDAY, to be able to SWEAT somehow, to be able to exert my ENERGY in some capacity kept me going. That and I knew how to cross train correctly to come back with a BANG. Sure I couldn’t run anymore but that didn’t mean getting up from the couch was the only form of exercise I could do.
I used the elliptical, I swam, I biked, I did yoga, I worked on core work, I strength trained [with modifications for my legs]. The point is- I was determined, I kept working because I knew it was going to work for me…. And it did.
In November I was back to running and within a week I was running eight miles on one run. Some would say that was too much too fast but you know what? You’re always going to get critics. I know my body and I know my abilities… and I trusted my cross training. I knew I was diligent and I used that fire to keep myself healthy. A few weeks ago, on January 18th I ran a half marathon and my time wasn’t too shabby for me either… and I owe it all to my hardheaded nature and the hours I spent cross training.
Don’t underestimate the power of other exercises.
What cross training exercise is your favorite?
Worst sports related injury?
Cori is the author of the blog Olive to Run where she shares her love of all things running and fitness, as well as her experiences as a teacher and wife to the Popeye to her Olive. You can also find her on Twitter, where she tweets constantly, on Facebook where she asks ridiculous questions, on Instagram, where she posts all her workouts and pictures of her dog Axl and on Pinterest, where she pins things she never completes.