Accepting Injury and Moving Forward

 

For those of you who missed it, or are just stopping by for the first time (welcome!), I went roller skating last Thursday and had a bad fall. My tailbone is definitely badly bruised, possibly even broken. I’ve made a conscious decision not to go to a doctor for x-rays to confirm one way or the other, because regardless of the diagnosis of “bruise” vs. “break,” there’s literally nothing they can do for me. A broken tailbone is like a broken toe. You just have to give it time to heal.

As a runner, you may think there’s lots of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth over here. To be sure, my first thought when I fell was, “Crap. Am I going to be able to run tomorrow?” But that concern quickly went by the wayside when I realized how much of an impact this was having on just my day-to-day life. Sitting at work all day hurts. Walking hurts. Standing up from sitting and sitting down from standing hurts. Sneezing hurts. Bending over or reaching for things hurts. So the concern over training has been completely pushed aside by concern over making it through each day without having to confess to everyone I interact with that I have a broken butt.

The pain level has been pretty consistent, and high, since Thursday. I did some quick internet research, and it looks like I’m in for at least four weeks of healing time, and as much as twelve weeks if I actually broke something. There is no shortcut. There is no quick-fix. All I can do is give my body time.

Honor+Your+Body

So last night, I made a decision: I’m going to honor my body and the fact that I’m injured and just rest for as long as I need to. No running. No yoga. No spinning. Just rest. I have accepted that this is where I’m at, and what my body needs, and I’m not freaking out (that much). Yes, I’m concerned about losing fitness. Yes, I’m concerned about weight gain. But what can I do? I don’t want to be in constant pain and afraid of moving any longer than I have to be. Which means resting, for as long as is necessary.

And if I’m going with 100% honesty here, I’m relieved. Not angry or sad that I can’t run; just relieved. This totally takes the pressure off. I was feeling incredibly burned out by the end of marathon training, and then to have such a disappointing end to what was supposed to be my first marathon after such a difficult training cycle really took it out of me. I was feeling a lot of pressure (from myself, not from my friends or family) to get right back at it, come up with a plan, pick a new marathon, and go, go, go, train, train, train! Now, I can just focus on healing. I can spend time with my family and friends. I can do the million projects around our apartment that I’ve been putting off because training has kept me so busy. I can focus on life instead of training.

I’m sure at some point in the next couple of weeks I’ll feel some anger, sadness, or frustration over missing out on weeks of training, but right now, I feel at peace.

As a runner, do you ever find you’re able to make peace with an injury, or do you tend to get angry and sad?

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19 thoughts on “Accepting Injury and Moving Forward

  1. Anna @ Piper's Run says:

    After being injured for 9 months last year – I had to change all my goals…not only for last year but this year too. Sounds like you are making the right decision for you and that’s really what matters at the end of the day. Burn out is hard. Being in pain day to day is harder. My injury wouldn’t allow me to put my daughter in her bed (crib), bend over to tie my shoes etc.
    You are smart. Take it easy.

  2. Heather [is probably running] says:

    How I handle an injury depends where I am in relation to upcoming races. Off season or early in training: No problem, listen to body and rest! Peak training or right before a race: My life is completely over.

    Rest up and you’ll be back running before you know it.

    • Rae says:

      Thank you! Thankfully my next race is about a month away, and it wasn’t really a huge goal race, so I think that’s allowing me to just take it easy and not freak out.

  3. txa1265 says:

    I feel a bit like a broken record, but I think that you have been forced to do something you pretty much knew you had to do anyway: re-evaluate your goals, plans, and overall relationship with running as an activity.

    This will be an unpopular opinion, and is none of my damn business and something I know nothing about – but I think that for many people getting a coach comes with both pros and cons. The pros are help, support, motivation and so on. The cons are … well, I don’t talk about those, but suffice to say that for certain people it can turn into an unhealthy sense of obligation and requirements that especially when done remotely (i.e. unable to look eye-to-eye) can lead to injury. I have seen / read about it too many times to dismiss it.

    My real point is that you need to worry about no one and nothing else other than you and your health. This social media driven world actually had one blogger asking if running injuries were ‘contagious’ … and of COURSE they are – some runners actually *believe* what they read on other runners’ social media and try to push themselves, do the same schedules, and end up injured at the same time.

    Your injury – obviously – is different. But while it is a pain in the butt (I should be ashamed … but I’m not) … it is also an opportunity to push the reset button. On lots of things. This is a totally rambling post … I hope at least a little of it makes sense.

    • Rae says:

      That all makes sense, and has definitely been on my mind lately as well. I don’t think the coaching was really part of the pressure, but definitely having my training be in the public eye, and having so many people following along. It can start to feel like you have an obligation to your audience to follow through and finish even if it might not be what you want anymore. So yes. Pressing reset is exactly what’s happening right now, and I’m pretty ok with it.

  4. SuzLyfe says:

    Any time that I have concluded or been told I have an injury, I have found it relieving (though obviously disappointing). Diagnosis gives us closure, and a plan of action. Up to that point, you are just sitting, waiting, wishing. Now you have a plan. And this will give the rest of you time to heal as well. Good luck, lady. You know I understand injury unfortunately better than most–let me know if you need to talk, ok? Here as coach, but most importantly as a fellow runner and friend.

    • Rae says:

      Thanks, lady. I’m feeling pretty mellow about the whole running/training aspect at the moment, but the day-to-day impact is definitely trying. It would be nice to be able to put on my pants without cringing in pain :/

  5. dgobs says:

    Sounds like you’re in a good place – I’m glad you’re not feeling tortured by this injury’s effect on your training! At least it didn’t happen right before a race or an event you were really looking forward to. I’ve eventually come around to being at peace with injuries, but it took time… and then the problem was getting motivated to get back into it once I got used to lazing around! 🙂

  6. Nora says:

    It’s getting easier as I get older. In 2013 with my stress fracture I was internally throwing a tantrum every time I saw someone else running. Now I try to spin the situation into a positive–ok, x hurts, what can I do using y instead. It’s a good chance to add variety into my life. Losing fitness still scares me but I try to remind myself it’s a lot easier to get it back with a healthy body rather than trying to run through an injury and have it linger on indefinitely, making running miserable.

    • Rae says:

      Well said! I’m struggling a bit right now with finding alternatives just because the tailbone is pretty central to a lot of movements, but I’ll work it out.

      • Nora says:

        That would be a tough one. Is swimming possible? If not I might try lifting weights or push ups. And if everything athletic hurt I’d probably spend my time reading or trying new recipes. I always like to feel like I’m making progress in something.

      • Rae says:

        I’m planning a cleaning and de-cluttering binge for this weekend. If I can’t run, I will do all the cleaning I’ve been ignoring for months!

  7. Kimberley@Black Dog Runs Disney says:

    You know that I know where you’re coming from with this. Your head is in the right place though and I’ve found that the “fitness” part of it comes back quickly the second time around. So don’t get too wrapped up in losing anything. Sometimes the brain needs just as much of a break as the body does. Never underestimate the power of a fresh start. ❤

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