Monday, March 26, 2012

Frownie Face

Friends, Mormons, and Fellow Nutjobs.... I haven't been running in a month.


Being injured was somewhat fun for the first two weeks. I took it easy, I shellacked and chilled.  I was pleasant and patient, then patient and pleasant.  But then, when the two weeks were up, and I went out for a casual stroll, I was stopped in my tracks after one very short, very slow mile, then had to walk home.  I cried real tears. (But don't tell anyone 'cause, like, no one really knows about my giant inner-baby.)

After a good cry, I vowed to take yet another week off.  This week was different, however, because I had plans to add some Physical Therapy to the mix.  Some heat, some ultrasound, some astym, some stretching. Last Thursday, the therapist gave strict instructions: Run one half mile.  Only one half mile.  No more.  Even if you feel good.  I made it an entire 1/2 mile without any pain.  Things were looking up!

Today, the plan was to up it a mile, for a total of 1.5.  Let's just ease into this running thing, shall we?  Okay!  This morning, I jumped on a dreadmill, with high-1.5-mile hopes – hopes that would be smashed into oblivion after exactly .49 of a mile.  A globule of pain lodged itself on the inner side of my left soleus, drew itself into a ball of NO WAY! and gave the achilles a nice, solid tug.

And now I'm back to the square I was at four weeks ago.  Yay.  I'm turning into a giant nay-saying ninny.  I'm wondering if I'll ever run again.  I'm wondering if my favorite tool for managing the game of "life" is going away for good.  I'm trying to stay positive.  Honest.  But it's just... it just... it's just... heart breaking.

Today, I had physical therapy planned.  He asked how things were going.  I became a begging mess... "Please!"  I said, "Give me a stress fracture instead! I can do a stress fracture. I cannot do this!"

So, here I am, in a new position where I must reinvent all sorts of things.

I have to reinvent exercise. The elliptical is a bad, bad, boring thing, cross-country skiing is wonderful, but, like I have three hours a day to do that.  Biking is great too, but again, a time sucker.

I have to reinvent my social life.  I haven't seen most of my running buddies in a month.  We meet early in the morning... that was the only time we had together.  Now that I can't keep up, my social life is missing in action.

I have to reinvent fun.  Good grief how will I do that?  Take up scrapbooking?  Again?  Please say it won't happen.  PLEASE!  Also, cleaning the house is not an option, so don't tell me about how my house can get clean now because I'm going to use all that extra energy cleaning it.

I have to reinvent passion.  I'm all sorts of passionate about running.  I love to feel my heart beat and my lungs breath.  I am soothed by the sound of my feet pounding pavement.  What, pray tell, will replace this passion?

I have to reinvent my self concept.  I like food.  A lot.  There is no other exercise around that will allow me to eat the way I want and still fit into my current attire. Perhaps it's time I become acquainted with, and like, more of me?

Do you see the trouble with this reinvention stuff?  I'm no inventor.  I test software for crying-out-loud.  I point out engineering problems and say, "You better fix this before a customer comes hollering."  

I do, however, take comfort in the fact that I have some great friends.  Friends who understand.  Like today, Megan added some consolation in an e-mail.  "Oh, and you not being able to run? For a month? Are we at war with Canada yet? 'Cause that's some serious shit."

I also take comfort in the fact that, sometimes, I get to come up with solutions at work; solutions that will keep the hollering customer to a minimum.  It's not true reinvention, but creating a solution can be a close second.

I also, also take comfort in the fact that no one reads this blog any more. For here lies extra proof that I'm a pathetic mess!

Today I shall wallow in my own self-pity.  After today it will stop. Tomorrow I shall be grateful 'n stuff, and will find some solutions.  Just watch. 

(If you feel up to it, you could provide some of your own solutions, solutions you might have discovered when you found yourself in a similar injury-laden boat.)


Jessica said...

I read your blog. Which proves you aren't a pathetic mess? Well, I think that's what it proves.

Here's hoping tomorrow is better. The sun'll come out and junk.

Tia said...

I, too, read your blog, like on a regular basis. It's one of those things I can count on, like taxes and the passage of time. Today's blog is truly distressing, for I had not totally pieced together the fact that you have been down and out for a month. A month! Yikes -- that's when one must hide the artillery from me, for running is my coping mechanism (as I am certain you can relate). It's all that you said and more. It's physical, social, mental, and spiritual all rolled up into one nice little activity. It's healthy, invigorating, rewarding, and exhausting. I don't need to reiterate these facts because you wrote the book on running, my friend who went to great lengths by sending ME a care package that lifted my spirits to the high heavens. Listen to me. You cannot lose hope. You're allowed to be discouraged, but you must always, ALWAYS hold out hope for a better tomorrow. Trust me when I say I KNOW HOW YOU'RE FEELING. Been there. This "down time" will just make you appreciate every step more which you have heretofore possibly taken for granted. When you're back and have achieved that first full mile pain-free, a marathon will seem like a miracle. Heck -- a 5K will even seem like a pot of gold. So do not despair, AA. There is purpose in all this. Hindsight will give you a different perspective. Hang in there. This too shall pass.

Sending lots of love and powerful positive energy your way.


Jenn said...

Oh, my. This post made my tummy hurt.

I need to give this a little think, after which, I will return with great words of wisdom, surely. I think. Maybe. Or I'll just come back and have a good cry with you.

Hold, please.

Jenn said...

Pups and I ruminated on this for our entire walk, and I’m afraid we aren’t much help. Jordan thinks you should take long, slow walks and eat everything you see, whether or not it’s food. Barkley thinks you should take long, even slower walks, but with bursts of chasing things with intent to kill, whether or not they are in fact alive.

As for me, smack in the middle of spring cycling training, this is like one junkie advising another…all I can think to suggest is a replacement drug. Cycling or hiking would have a similar social aspect, but you’ve already mentioned the time-suckage, not to mentioned the hassle of converting all your current friends. Plus, let’s face it, running is your drug of choice and any replacement is going to leaving you jones-ing to some degree.

My best advice? Wallow for a few days, but then settle on a replacement and give it your all. And here’s the non-junkie in me talking: in a healthy relationship, one doesn’t get, or even expect to get, 100% of their needs met by their partner. That’s why one has friends, hobbies, etc. Perhaps it’s time for your inner-runner to spread her wings a bit. (Says the girl who would curl into an inconsolable {fat} ball of grief if you took away her bicycle.)

Keep us posted, please? I genuinely feel for you.


whitneyingram said...

I find myself being truly sad for you right now. Like real sorrow. May running be apart of you life sooner than later.

Having said that, have you tried swimming???

danalynn said...

Amber, I am feeling your pain, literally. Why is it that what we love can cause us so much pain and grief? Running is everything to me and to have something tell me that I have to stop and for who knows how long is killing me! I am praying for miracles for both of us and hoping we both hit the road again soon.

Julia said...

I have surely had my share of time on injury road and it is definitely a lonely and miserable place. I can relate to being patient for 2 weeks, but beyond that feels like an eternity. One thing I had to do was take a step back and stop watching the calendar and worrying about the time ticking away. Your body absolutely will heal and you will run again, and very fast. I have no doubts. Keep your heart and lungs healthy with some alternate cardio and keep up the PT. If I were you, I'd probably start going to a spinning class at Gold's and just try to enjoy it. I bet you will be back to running in a couple more weeks. Hang in there girl.

radracer said...

Oh, Dear. I forget that you're a week ahead of me on this no running thing. I pretty well had my base back when I kicked a dumb desk and ended up with a broken bone and related issues.

I have three more weeks before the standard 6 weeks of bone healing time is up. Hopefully the related issues will be resolved by then too, as the toe is still a bit enlarged and painful. If it isn't making good progress in two more weeks, I'll visit the podiatrist again and see what he thinks. In the meantime, I'll keep doing contrast soaks.

If you figure out how to eliminate a stubborn soleus knot, please let me know. I have one that I would like to send away. Overnight shipping, preferably.

You're right about the elliptical. It's a good work-around for about a week, maybe two. After that, it stinks. Fortunately, it is getting to be biking tolerable temperature in the morning. I'm surviving on a few rides here and there, generally alone. I'm not getting an adequate friend fix from the gym time

I'm trying to use this as a time to relax, work out all the minor kinks that running creates, and build some strength in the uninjured parts. This plan has been moderately successful, but I am growing weary of it. I'm grateful for friends with wheels. I need to hook up with these friends for the next few Saturdays. Are you in?

megan said...

man how did I miss the stuff in between the "icing" post and this???
I live in fear of this post :(
Try Crossfit - it's like totally the "in" thing to do - didn't you know?? he. he.
Lucky for you the sun has started to come out again and hopefully it will hang around for awhile - but the missing friends at 4:30am thing I totally get - we get sad when a homie doesn't show...

Aubrey said...

Time and time again you teach the persistent about being persistent, and following through. I KNOW you will run again, and you will have more depth to your already grateful soul. Hang in there. I can provide humor if needed. Call any time.

Hang in there! Stay strong.

AND! I had no idea that you were this bummed about it, so you have, in fact, stayed positive.