Category Archives: Injuries

Progress

I keep going back and forth on subjects to blog about. One day, I’ll be convinced I’m never going to run fast again and then want to vent all my boo-hoo frustrations to the internet. Other days, I’m so gracious to have (most of) my health back and to be capable of running at all that I want to shout tear-filled gratitude from the rooftops.

Basically, I’m in a state of limbo; wavering between discouragement and encouragement, frustration and optimism.

However, no matter what mood I may fall into on a certain day, there is one thing that’s undeniable when it comes to both my fitness and my health: there’s progress being made.

I got a good slap-in-the-face of reality the other day. After a very slow, very not-enjoyable short run, I felt completely out of sorts. How was I ever going to break free from my out-of-shape shackles? As I was throwing this pity party, it suddenly dawned on me that it had been one month since I started running again. One little tiny month.

Get it together Robyn!

One month ago, I was slogging out 2 miles on Christmas Eve, after just starting to feel better from my horrible flare up. Just over month ago, I couldn’t even muster up the energy to get off the couch, let alone exercise at all.

Needless to say, I was a little humbled that I had the audacity to call into question my current fitness level. Of course it’s hard, of course it’s slow. There’s really no reason it shouldn’t be. But, the mere fact that I am out there and am able to jot something in my log book is a bit of a miracle.

I admit, nothing motivates me more than speed gains, so it’s tough for me to go from running a PR in the half marathon to running slower than I ever have in my life. But that’s the way running (and life) work sometimes; we progress and we regress. And after too much regression over the past few months, ultimately I’m going to try and be glad for any progress that comes my way.

Here is some running progress that’s happened since I disclosed my plan for getting to the Boston starting line:

-I’ve been running 3-ish times a week, and I’ve done two “long runs” in the past two weeks. They weren’t pretty or effortless, but they’re stepping stones to getting my head back into regular running mode. I’m going to try another long run this weekend, and hopefully by the time I’ll need to log some big miles, my endurance will have returned some.

-I haven’t been wearing a watch or a Garmin at all, which is very very intentional. I wore a stopwatch for a little while when I first started back up, but I’m too hard on myself when it comes to speed that I realized the surest way to make my runs a little more enjoyable was to ditch the numbers. I have a pretty good sense of pace, so I know I’m slow (for me), but the other day a glimpse of running magic happened:

I was out on a run in the early morning and I saw BF coming my way on the other side of the street, on his own run. He was about the turn around, so on the way back I started to see him coming out of the corner of my eye. He was still on the other side of the street, so there wasn’t any communication, but with about a 1/2 mile til home — we both started to pick up the pace. No eye contact, no gestures, we both just channeled our mutual competitive natures. I kept picking up speed, as I was certain he was going to jet by me at any moment. But we stayed neck-in-neck, and somehow I was able to keep going faster and faster. I was able to outstride him as we got to the front door, and despite feeling completely winded, I was elated. It was the first time I experienced speed of any kind in so long, and it felt positively wonderful. BF, who was using his phone to track the run, said that our little non-race/race at the end had clocked in at a 7:05 pace, which made me smile for the rest of the day.

I’ve come nowhere near that speed since, but the memory of the feeling and the knowledge that the potential is out there gives me a lot of comfort.

-I’m doing any and all kinds of recovery tricks, and they seem to be working. I stopped going to PT when I was really sick, but I’ve tried to keep doing the rehab exercises I learned to help continue to heal my janky IT band. It’s not 100%, but with each strengthening session it’s feeling better and better. I also got a sports massage last week which was incredibly helpful. It hurt, and I was bruised afterwards, but I could definitely feel the effects of having someone really dig into my tough spots.  It was so good that I’m going back again tomorrow, and hopefully after one or two more sessions my lingering tightness will subside. The gal I go to can do 1/2 hour sessions, which is really nice for time management and my wallet.

So in terms of running—progress is definitely being made. I can feel the muscle memory coming back, and it’s encouraging to know that while I might not feel my best right now, running is a routine my body is ultimately very familiar with. The best metaphor I can come up with is that I feel like Forrest Gump when he has the leg braces on his legs and he’s trying to run away; the braces are there for a purpose, but eventually he’s able to outgrow and break free of them. So here’s hoping I’ll be breaking free of my current struggles sooner rather than later.

(I am not, in any way, trying to equate being out-of-shape to having actual disabilities. Please do not read that metaphor literally at all.)

Finally, the biggest progress that’s happened has been the return of my health. I’ve made some leaps and bounds in the last month, and I’m so very grateful that my body has bounced back so well. I went to my GI doctor for the first time since I was sick this week so she could look at my labs that were, you might remember, “terrible” when she last checked them. The morning after I got the bloodwork done, I had an email from her that said:

“Your labs all look perfect. This is a dramatic improvement.”

I was ecstatic—and doing way too many imaginary first bumps in my head while sitting at work. While physically I feel so much better, it was so reassuring to know that the science behind it all was showing the same thing. Again, I’m not 100%, but compared to how I felt before, I might as well be. My doctor is confident that the medication I’m on will continue to have bettering effects over the next few weeks.

So despite my occasional belly-aching about being slow and my actual belly-aching from Crohn’s, progress is definitely being made. I am ultimately so thankful to be sitting in a different place than I was just one short month ago, and I can only hope things continue this way. Admittedly, after injury and illness, it’s hard not to be scared of another road block popping up. Which it might. But until then, I’m going to do everything I can to keep getting stronger and pressing forward.

Progress feels good, and no matter how long it may take, it feels like I’m moving in the right direction.

Advertisements

More Leg Talk + Diagnosis

I’m not super inclined to continue publishing posts with the “injury” tag on them, but as is typical when I’m off the roads, I spend an excessive amount of time thinking about my current circumstance. Too  much thinking results in excess brain fatigue, and without the outlet of a good, therapeutic run, I wind up depending on word vomit as my refuge.

In other words: I apologize for these dribbling, pathetic posts, but I need to get it all out in order to keep the toxic thoughts from burning my insides.

A lot has happened, though, which has all been constructive, daunting, and marginally encouraging.

I had my first ever PT appointment last Friday night. I know—somehow through four injuries, two of which were quite serious, I had yet to venture into an expert’s office. Relying on Google and general docs had worked before, but I wanted to take a more proactive approach this time.

In order to get as much bang for my buck, I gave the guy I saw A LOT of detail. I’ve heard they appreciate this, so I felt like a good rookie. He did lots of mini strength tests, flexibility things, and took me through a series of ART exercises. And just for good measure, an “into” to Graston—as he put it. Since there was a lot I took out of this, here’s some easier-to-read bullet points:

  • ART is awesome. The tweaking and stretching and adjusting he did to my legs felt great, and even if they don’t have lasting effects, it all felt very necessary in the moment.
  • Graston wasn’t as bad as I expected. Sure it was definitely an “intro,” so I may be eating my words later on, but I sort of liked it. It felt somewhat pins-and-needles-y, which escalated the longer he did it, but I liked that I could actually feel the progress happening. He explained that he was essentially scraping the scar tissue off of my lower IT band (the spot he chose to work on), and I felt like I could actually picture it happening. My best metaphor is that is felt a little like getting a tattoo.
  • My ankles, quads, feet, and glutes are all misaligned and/or messed up. I took this all with a grain of salt, given that of course the PT wants to fix every little thing he possibly can. But according to him, there’s a number of things wrong with me, which lead to the current decrepit state of my IT band. Things like: My quads have shortened on both sides which is throwing off my gait (subsequent foot pain, which I’ve had for months), my glutes are weak and aren’t firing in the correct way when I run, my ankles are unstable, I overpronate, and I lack the hip flexibility necessary for proper kinetic fluidity. Lost? Me too. It was all so much to take in, and I kind of felt like a failure of a runner/person after hearing all that. Like I was the bad kid in class, and the teacher was reprimanding me in front of everyone. Again, I wanted to assert some discretion, so I’m choosing to focus on the greatest takeaways: basic weaknesses cause my IT band to lock up, so I need to work on those.
  • Perhaps the most important lesson I learned while I was there was what’s actually wrong with me: My IT band is really inflamed/tight/unhappy, which is causing Greater Trochanteric Bursitis. So, ITBS + hip bursitis. The good news, those are both treatable, manageable things. The bad news, I’ve been trying to remedy these problem for the past two weeks, and I’m not seeing a lot of progress.

I was glad to feel like I learned so much from this appointment, and I’m 90% certain his diagnosis is spot on. All the symptoms I’m experiencing match the textbook definitions of these things, and it’s relieving to give a name to the face of the enemy I’ve been jousting with. But, at the same time, I felt really overwhelmed upon leaving his office: Do I need to change the way I run completely? How long will that take? How deeply rooted is this issue? What do I need to fix? How long will that take?

You can probably sense the theme in those unanswerable questions above. I can’t help but look down the proverbial road at how long my sideline stay will last. The uber-faint siren sound of “Boston Marathon Training” seems to get louder with every day that passes, and I have a hard time shutting out the internal clocks and calculators that start to assemble scary deadlines.

Ultimately, I know there’s still time, and I feel like I’ve run enough marathons at this point that a shorter training schedule won’t be the worst thing, if it comes to that. But, there’s still the quiet fear that keeps ringing in my head. My attempts at silencing it for the time being will involve more PT visits (so long as I think it’s helping), all the standard RICE/rolling/cross train prescriptions, NSAIDS, and stretching. More than anything though, I’m going to try and keep my mind focused on the {positive} future. I decided to fake it a little yesterday and started to write a very preliminary, lose training program. It didn’t necessarily have dates or paces or workouts on it, but just seeing the numbers, and knowing that I will (fingers crossed) be running them at some point, pulled me out of the darkness. At least for a little.

So that’s where I’m at. Another pissy bursa sac and a maxed out IT band. Having dealt with bursitis once before  when I was training for the Tacoma Marathon, I know that a cortisone shot could be an option. Still deliberating on that one. But, for now, I’m going to continue to hope for the best and keep my mind focused on those future miles which will ultimately lead me to the start line on April 21. It’s hard to imagine when I physically can’t run at all right now, but I need to remember that injuries aren’t a permanent state of being.

My short term goal is going to be to be running (however slow or short) by Christmas. I can guarantee this will result in my dedicating all Christmas songs to running (namely, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”) but that’s a conversation for another day.

Please do this winter-running lover a favor and enjoy every crisp, cold miles you get to spend outside. Running is a privilege, and I’m thankful (teeth somewhat gritted) for the tough-love reminder of that.

A Year Without Injuries

This is potentially the most jinx-filled post I’ll ever write. But since I’m not a huge believer in that type of thing, I’ll just go ahead and write it.

(Knock on wood, knock on wood…)

As of this past weekend (Saturday to be specific) it has been one year since I’ve been injured. One year, you guys!

On Saturday, September 8, 2012, I was forced to cut short a 20 mile Chicago Marathon training run because my ankle blew up to the point of not being able to walk. It was heart-breaking, and although I ultimately was able to run the race and had a great time doing so, the injury was still a wake-up call of sorts.

And since then, I haven’t had to take a day off of running for anything other than basic aches, pains, and soreness. Kind of hard to believe! And if any of you are thinking, “It’s just a year Robyn, what’s the big deal?” let me recap some things for you:

In 2012 I was hurt three separate times, all of which were the result of improper (too much) training and general bodily negligence.

– In April, I got horrible knee bursitis which completely threw off my Tacoma Marathon training. It took a cortisone shot and a lot of Aleve to weasel my way out of that one in time for the race.

-In May/June, the evil IT Band Syndrome got me good, and I was limping with knee pain for nearly two months. No running whatsoever.

-In September (as previously mentioned) my ankle tendonitis nearly eliminated my chance to run the Chicago Marathon. It was a little miraculous that I actually made it to and finished the race, and it wasn’t without a lot of luck and prescription anti-inflammatories.

I was actually very fortunate in my year of injuries. While they definitely were the result of over-training, none of them were very permanent and could mostly be quick-fixed with rest and drugs. I definitely consider myself lucky in that regard, but I still knew that my luck wouldn’t hold up if I didn’t make some changes.

It’s one of those “Fool me once, fool me twice…” scenarios. But in this case, I was certainly the one to be shamed, and I knew that these running injuries were going to keep happening if my habits stayed the same.

Nothing changes if nothing changes, and it was time for me to change.

And here I am…a year later, and (okay fine, lots of knocking on wood) I’m healthy and running happily. I will be the first to admit that a lot of this is luck; running and injuries sometimes just go hand-in-hand, no matter how careful you are. For some reason, I’ve been able to avoid the inevitable injuries that can knock us out.

However, I have definitely made changes that I’m certain have played a role in eliminating overuse injuries. Here’s a few things that I think have made the biggest difference:

1 rest day per week. No matter what. I used to take a rest day once every 2 (sometimes 3) weeks, and now I don’t know how that was even possible. I start to crave my rest days, which I also think means that I’m working harder during the other days.

Foot strike. I know this is a debated topic, but between last year and this year, I have fully transitioned to a more minimal shoe and have completely changed from a heavy heel-striker to a mid-foot striker. It could be a coincidence, but I’m guessing that this has a lot to do with the lessened impact.

Added walking. I walk every day between the water taxi and my office building (~.7 miles each way) and often times this is right after I’ve run and showered. I could be wrong, but I think the prolonged striding and extra “shake out” that walking provides has helped my legs recover more from my running.

Strength. This is potentially number one. Up until last August or so, I never did any kind of leg strength training. I always wanted my legs to be fresh for running, so I never bothered with squats or lunges or anything like that. I kind of cringe to think about this now, given that I’ve done a 180 in that regard. Currently, about twice a week, I do all kinds of strengthening, flexibility, and balance (<–super helpful!) work thanks to the lifting class I found. Not only do we work the big running muscles (hammies, quads, and glutes) but also the smaller, less obvious muscles that ultimately make a big impact on both performance and injury-proneness (not really a word, but I think you understand). In a nutshell, I think I had it wrong before; cross-training for running should actually be more about strength and less about other types of cardio. This might not be the same for everyone, but I’m convinced that adding strength training and dropping spinning has been perhaps the number one injury prevention technique.

Here’s the kicker to all this: I’m actually running more days per week and more miles than I was last year when I kept getting hurt. I have built up to this in a totally safe way, no doubt, but I think it’s interesting to look at how I’ve actually been able to do more since I’ve made the above changes.

And let it be known: more running wasn’t even the intention when I decided I needed to reevaluate my habits; in fact, it was actually more the opposite of that. But along the way, I think I found that with the added balance and the added rest, running was granted to me more freely. Some weeks are better than others, and some weeks require more rest and less miles. Ultimately, though, I think I’ve finally gotten a handle on the balancing act of the sport. Much like any relationship, it’s very give and take; the more you nurture your running with things like rest days, stretching, rolling, and nutrition, the more it will give back—in the form of more pain-free and happy miles.

I’m constantly reminded of how much like life running is, and how much it can teach us about other aspects of our lives. This past year has really solidified my belief that nothing changes if nothing changes, but also that we are in control. I think for all of last year, I felt as if running owned me; like it was an abusive relationship, and running had all the power. Of course this was wrong, but it was hard to see things otherwise when the sport I loved so very much kept disappointing me.

Now, I realize I had the power all along, and in fact I was the one who was abusing it. Today, I feel infinitely more control over my training and my running, which is an incredibly empowering and comforting feeling. As a result, I feel like I’ve become both stronger and faster—and perhaps most importantly, more conscious of both my limitations and potential within the sport. So long as I continue to give and take, I have a feeling that that potential will continue to turn into results.

As evidenced also by this past year of three different PRs, it’s safe to say that there’s nothing wrong with being a little bit safer.

Take care of your bodies everyone. We all love to run as much as we can, but sometimes our running, just like us, needs extra TLC.

And if you are hurt right now…here’s one of the most wonderful things I discovered last year after sitting on multiple sidelines: running isn’t going anywhere. It will be right there to take off with you whenever you’re ready again.

Chicago Marathon Training Week #11 + Weekend

So, there wasn’t much running involved in my workouts last week…you already knew that. I didn’t post my training last week though out of bitter resentment, so here’s a look at how all the non-running training went:

M: 30 min stair stepper, 60 min swim

T: 2 hour spin class

W: 60 min stair stepper + BodyPump

T: 90 min swim

F: 60 min stair stepper + BodyPump

S: 2 hour swim! 5,000 meters

S: 20 min stair stepper + 6 m run!

Total: 6 miles running

Yea, so that number ^^ is very minuscule compared to where I should have been. But, considering my two week injury hiatus from running, I will gladly take any miles over none. And in spite of not being able to run, I was happy with how I managed to keep activity levels high. I am still in love with my BodyPump class, particularly the instructor, and I think it’s been doing really good things for both my strength and coordination.

In other news, after a beautiful rest day yesterday, I was able to run 8.4 miles today! It wasn’t very pretty, and it wasn’t very easy, but hot damn it happened. And guess what? My ankle felt better than it did during Sunday’s first run back! It was still a little cranky, but it seems that this persnickety tendonitis beast may be on its way out the door. It’s really encouraging that my ankle seems to be getting better while still running on it…and it’s making me feel inches closer to making the decision to race. Don’t worry, I’m still going to take it easy and play the super-taper game…but in the mean time it feels great to pound some pavement again.

On my run this morning, I thought a lot about what would happen if I do decide to race. Because when I don’t wear headphones, my entire life—all past, present, and future aspects of it—seems to engulf my brain.

I felt a whole number of things this morning, but mainly encouraged and anxious. I can feel the possibility of doing the Chicago Marathon getting higher, but simultaneously I’m getting scared for just what finishing, (read:surviving), the race will entail.

I need to come to terms with that fact that not only will I be slower than normal and will potentially walk some of the race—there is a good chance I will be in pain during a good amount of it. Pain on top of normal, typical marathon pains. It’s certainly not an ideal scenario—and it’s one that will require perhaps more mental preparation than any other race, should the opportunity come.

Time will tell people. However, I did hear last night that a friend in Chicago is willing to host BF and I for race eve…..and he lives ONE MILE from the start line. We were originally planning on staying out at the airport…a good half hour away. Universe coming together? We’ll see.

In other news, here’s a look at what was a fan-effing-tastic weekend. The weather in Seattle was perfection, and somehow BF and I managed to be way more social this weekend than we have been the entire year.

Spoiler: There was a lot of beer.

Mariner’s Game!

Double dating and baseball night—the Ms even decided to win!

Ferry ride post-game. DON’T WORRY I REPAINTED MY TOES FINALLY. I told you it was a productive weekend.

Seattle skyline via water transportation. Love.

The following morning…

What’s the best thing to come home to after a 2 hour swim? Your boyfriend making pancakes for you. You can’t really tell…but the one underneath is pink. That’s love.

One invite from another couple later…and we were at the Fremont Oktoberfest party ready to cash in our ten tasting tokens. (I only made it to 7…)

Oktoberfest! BF…that mug is just the perfect size for you…you dainty man you.

This was my last beer, I think…and one of 4 attempts at this photo. Low tolerance + high percentage alcohol beer= drunk Robyn.

Right now…I love fall. We are in the perfect phase where it’s not raining, it’s not too cold, and it’s not too hot. The leaves are crunchy and the air promises Halloween and cooler temps shortly. And by Halloween, I mean “I’m probably going to buy candy this weekend.” Loving it. In fact, I might break my pumpkin spice latte rule and not wait until October. CRAZY TALK…I rage.

I hope your weeks have started off splendidly!

 

What would you do?

What a difference a week can make.

Last Saturday, I spent the morning running 1/4 mile, failing, and then crying about it while simultaneously trying to swim. Not a pretty picture.

Fast forward to yesterday. After having not one but two spin classes cancelled on me, and after plodding up and down on the stair-stepper for a while…I decided to see how my ankle would hold up on a run.

I was nervous, I had ridiculously low expectations, and I had to mentally prepare myself for the fact that it may be a huge fail.

So after my morning gym session, I went home, changed shoes, grabbed a handful of Cheerios, and drove down to my beloved Alki beach trail. Cautiously and hesitantly—off I went.

The way my “running” has been going for the past two weeks has been like this—a few steps of normalcy, a twinge of pain on both sides of my ankle, followed by my ankle swelling so much I have no range of motion.

But yesterday? Oh, dear sweet yesterday…I was able to run. I’m not saying it was without pain, and I’m not saying it was flawless, but it happened and I finished with a stupid smile on my face and heightened hope for the possibility of the Chicago Marathon actually happening. I finished with a total of 6 miles, and while my ankle definitely felt it—a session of ice and an anti-inflammatories afterwards, I was good to go.

So encouraging…and you better believe I rode out my 6-mile-runner’s-high all day long.

So what now? Admittedly, I still am not 100% sure what to do about Chicago. My doctor gave me the go-ahead to try, and as he said, “The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t finish.” He said that doing the race would more than likely not make my ankle any worse—which I took with a grain of salt, but it was encouraging.

It’s really hard to figure out what to do from this point in terms of taper/testing my running/deciding if I should do the race. I want to continue to rest my ankle as much as I can, of course, but I also need to be sure that going to Chicago is going to be worth it. I certainly don’t want to DNF—but I would also like to know that if it happens, it would be around mile 18 as opposed to mile 7, you know?

So I need some advice…in terms of balancing taper and testing my ability to run…what would you do? My plan is to make the final call next Sunday, so I think I’ll go with my originally scheduled 12 easy miles on Saturday. If I feel like I can do that (and could keep going) I *think* I’ll go for it. 

Ahh this is such a weird/different approach to tapering. I am someone who operates with the mindset of, “You never know until you try,” but I also don’t want to fly all the way to Chicago to run less than half of the race.

We’ll see…but in the meantime, I would love any input you have on the matter!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

Diagnosis and “Getting It”

The best news of all: my ankle is not falling off.

And, according to my X-Rays and my highly optimistic Ortho-doc, I have no signs of stress fracture, and my bone structure is “ideal.” Essentially, this was equivalent to hearing, “Robyn, you have perfect hair, teeth, and generally perfect everything in life.”

Good bones=happy runner.

To bring you up to speed, after many days in a row of running, peak marathon training mileage, and a very unhappy 20-miler-turned-17-miler, my ankle was in a lot of pain for no obvious reason. I was limping, I went to Urgent Care (fail), and I panicked about how I could actually pull off a marathon in a month.

Obviously, I wanted to call in a pro ASAP.

The diagnosis I received at my 9 am appointment yesterday morning went something like this:

“Suck it up. Load up on Aleve. Keep running. You’re a huge wimp and don’t understand that running is painful sometimes. Why are you here?”

Okay, it was *actually* closer to this (although the above is in essence what I heard):

“I think you’ll be fine. Get back out there, keep up the pain killers, heavy on the icing, and tell me if it gets worse.”

If you’re thinking, “Wow Robyn, that’s pretty much what every runner would want to hear in your scenario…so did you jump up and down in excitement and make out with the dude while lacing up your Brooks?”

No kissing or lacing up, but yes—you’re right. This is an ideal diagnosis. Particularly for someone like me, who would be grumpy with even the mention of “toning it down” or “taking it easy.”

However, while I am relieved—I’m also going to be a little more careful than Dr. “All Runners Love Me” told me to be.

You see, the reason I went to the doctor was to determine what this pain is not as opposed to what it is. Hopefully, the diagnosis was right and this isn’t something serious (i.e. stress fracture, etc.) BUT, that doesn’t mean that it’s not something to take care of.

With every little ache and pain, we runners spend so much time agonizing over, “What is this?” “When will it go away?” “Can I run through it?” I’m a HUGE culprit of doing this (perhaps THE culprit), no thanks to the magical powers of the interwebs, but here’s the fact of the matter:

If something hurts, you shouldn’t run on it.

I realize my circumstances are a bit different, considering I have 26.2 miles of running to do on October 7, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to try and be bigger than the pain. I’m fortunate enough to have done enough training that waiting out this issue a little while longer (yes, longer than even the “professional” said to do) won’t do much damage. In fact, continuing to run on my questionable ankle would probably undo the strides I’ve made so far in my training.

So I’m sitting it out for a little while longer. I’m definitely not going to pretend that I’m completely calm and collected about this, or that not running is anything but easy.

I’m back-and-forth between being sensible and being irrational. But, I’ve been here before—and I know that the truest test of an athlete’s will and determination are the times that set them back. So yesterday, when I was at work going back and forth as to what I would do for my workout later on, I stopped myself right in my tracks.

And here’s what I asked myself: Is delaying the healing process, which will ultimately get me to the start line in Chicago, for a random Tuesday sweat session worth it?

Absolutely not.

So, I defied my habitual inclination of working out my stress away, and here I am today—no less in shape, in tact, nor capable of living. I am, however, with a more rested and better-feeling ankle.

{See Mommy, I’m growing up.}

I’m realizing that the way we handle injury corresponds directly to the reasons we run in the first place.

The fact of the matter is this: I don’t run to hide my feelings. I don’t run to justify the things I like to eat. I don’t run to prove anything to anyone.

I run because it’s what I love to do more than anything else, and sometimes that love needs to be shown in the bad times and not just the good.

Run love is not just about logging miles, clocking lower times, and registering for races. Run love is also about give and take. We take a lot from this sport—the endorphins, the pride, the toned legs, and the runner’s highs. But how much do we give to it? We give our early mornings and cash in shoe replacment…but I’m realizing that giving back to this sport should be about respecting it—and our bodies—more than anything else.

Running is tough, running is hard, and running wears us down. In order to give to running as much as we get from it—sometimes we need to back off. We don’t prove anything by running through pain or by exercising when we know we should be resting. All those things do is show that we’d rather let this sport abuse us rather than build us up.

If you hadn’t guessed, the “we” pronoun I’ve been using is a lot of me talking to myself. You, dear reader, just got to come along for the ride.

So what is this very long-winded explanation of my injury trying to say? Well, I think for the first time—I’m getting it. I’m getting the give-and-take of running, I’m getting the “rest” thing, and I’m getting that the truest test of myself as a runner comes from how I handle the lower points.

So I’m taking it easy, I’m hoping for the best, and I’m thankful that I’ve *mostly* been able to learn something from my former habits that resulted in mistakes.

Chicago Marathon Training Week #9

Hello.

Here’s last week for you…let’s see if you can spot where the big scary hiccup occurred:

M: 9 m run slow

T: 10.2 m run ~8:15 avg. pace

W: 7 m run, no watch + lifting

T: 10.4 m run, 8:20 avg. pace

F: REST

S: 17 m run

S: Yoga

Total: 53.6 miles

Don’t see the hiccup? Well, allow me to backtrack to Thursday, where I said I had a “20 mile long run” on tap for the weekend.

That 17 miler up there? That right there was the first time I have ever cut a run short—and no, not because of fatigue, boredom, or a time crunch.

My would-be 20 mile run turned into 17 because I was in too much pain to finish it. That not-so-significant shin split I mentioned last week turned into a very-significant-holy-shit-hurts pain in my entire left ankle/foot pretty much all at once during my run on Saturday morning. I tried to tough it out, but after a few miles of stopping to alleviate the pain every mile—I knew it was best to cut it off. Thankfully a nice lady with a puppy let me use her phone when I asked (I choose the strangers I approach based on their pets, btw). She was probably a bit frightened by the sweaty, salty, and nearly-in-tears girl hobbling down the side walk—but she complied. Bless her.

As soon as BF picked me up, I lost it. I don’t really need to explain to you all the frustrations I was/am feeling about this. I was in Urgent Care yesterday morning after spending Saturday unable to walk, and I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor tomorrow morning.

Nothing like prompt medical attention.

I’m trying to not jump to worst case conclusions right now (although I spent a lot of time already doing that). Many thanks to my best friend Anna, BF, and Nicole for calming me down a bit. BF has been a superstar through this also (I think he more than anyone knows how Robyn with Injury goes), and following Saturday’s breakdown he immediately helped remedy my sobbing by making me pancakes, attending to my every ice, Aleve, and compression needs, and accepted his tear-and-sweat stained girlfriend for who she was.

Now that the storm has passed, I’m going to let the pros decide how I should handle this situation.

Luckily, since whatever-this-is happened, my ankle has consistently felt better fairly, and it seems that the more I walk—the better it feels (indicative that it’s probably not a bone thing). But like I said.. I’ll be leaving my fate up to science and X-Rays and stuff.

So how am I feeling right now? Admittedly, hopeful—since it is feeling better and seems to continue to feel better. But, the speed in which this thing came on really scares me, and I’m really going to have a tough time swallowing a diagnosis that not only eliminates Chicago—but eliminates my Fall 2012 running career.

I’m feeling a lot of things right now— frustrated (3 injuries in 6 months—AWESOME), sad, pissed, pessimistic, optimistic, relieved, etc.

I’ll explain it all in another post—because I’m doing my best to not jump to conclusions (no thanks to Dr. Google) and allow no news to be good news. At least until tomorrow morning.

Will fill you all in soon.

Cross your fingers, wish upon a star, and break some wishbones (yikes, no pun intended) for me that this isn’t the worst. I’ve really been very careful in terms of training, resting, and mileage—and I’m more than a little bothered right now with where my bff running has landed me.