Today is brought to you by the I-word. Yeah, injuries. No, thank my lucky stars, I don’t have another one. I’m actually feeling pretty great, thanks, minus a little fatigue from walking 6 miles yesterday which should hopefully subside as I sit on my ass all day at the office. If it were a normal week, I’d be taking today off, running Tu/Thu/Sat, but life got in the way. I’ve got a dentist appt and an industry meetup tomorrow, and lunch with the ‘rents Wednesday, so if I don’t run today I will have to get up WAY WAY too early to squeeze it in, so that makes the decision a done deal for me.
Now the reason that I’ve got injuries on the brain is THIS POST. Mizfit captures my awe for 1) being so type B to my type A that she can just go run when she feels like it without a specific goal/race/program/etc and 2) she says she has never been injured. Holy crap, woman, that is an accomplishment!
I’ve spent most of my life being a walking injury. Only NOW am I realizing how abnormal that is and should be. My excuse for everything used to be my weak ankles (if it wasn’t my size, heh). This guy is pretty abnormal too.
When I was a wee thing I fell in love with gymnastics. I loved the flipping, twisting, adrenaline rush associated with running full bore into something springy and propelling myself up into the air. But as we all know, what comes up must come down. And it doesn’t always come down quite as planned when you’re doing this over and over 5-6 times per week for 4-7 hours per day.
It’s worth mentioning that I was a fairly large gymnast, both height and mass-wise – even with all that training I was 5’3″ (I must mention that I grew 2 inches at age 16 when I quit – within probably 3 months…) and 115-125, so a fairly average weight/BMI. I don’t look scary skinny in those pictures, I look like a normal human. This is great for not being picked on in school, but rough on the joints. Oh, I got pretty far because I was determined/stubborn, and I was pretty fearless, but it got to the point where to advance, the cost just seemed too high.
You see, for about the year before I quit, I had a routine. Every day when I was getting ready, I would pop 2-4 advil, completely tape up both ankles, pull braces over the taped ankles, put on special slippers that provided a little more stability/support, and off I went. I mean, any sane person would realize that it was time to take a break and let myself recover, right? Well, not me, because I was a stubborn ASS and I had 2 years left before recruiters would be looking at me and I needed to get better so I could get a scholarship or life would fall apart and and and… yeah.
And my coaches never helped much – I remember the day before I came down with chicken pox I was fevery and shaky and I was almost in tears because I felt SO AWFUL but it was two days before a big meet so I was trying to push through but kinda failing. I was yelled at, called a baby, so I got up, did what I had to do, then went and pretty much passed out on the floor while stretching. Same with injuries – if it wasn’t in a cast, they didn’t believe it hurt enough to stay off it.
But ya know, I found a sick satisfaction in working through injuries. That I was tougher because of it. That I was going to overcome.
Now I know how stooooooooopid that is. Not that I don’t have the urges, but now I have science and logic backing me up. Y’know, the knowledge that pushing through workouts when you’re sick actually makes you LOSE fitness and not resting an injury makes that body part WEAKER, not stronger. And the only coach I have calling me a baby is the one in my head – and I’ve got some good control over her. I just say “SCIENCE” and she shuts the hell up.
Pic unrelated, but cute! Anyhoo, I also train much smarter now. I don’t RELISH the strength training, but after the AMAZING gains I saw in my running post 30-Day-Shred, I am a believer. I wish I remembered where I saw the quote, but you have to earn your right to run by strengthening and maintaining your body. In gymnastics/diving, it was just the icky I had to look like I was doing so my coaches didn’t yell at me. For some reason, I never put two and two together that if I really ROCKED the conditioning, then I might get better.
I make sure my running has periods of ebb (running 5k distance 2 times per week and lots of cross training) and flow (last week’s mileage? 30.5 miles). Also, I’m very in tune with my body and try to listen when it whispers so I don’t get knocked the fuck out when it shouts at me. I know that I’ll never be immune to acute injuries like tripping and spraining my ankle, but adequate warmups and cooldowns, rest, stretching, and incremental increases in mileage/pace instead of leaps will keep me from those evil chronic overuse injuries. It’s odd to say that I hurt myself less at 30 than I did at 13, but it’s true.
So, internet-ians, what do you think? What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had? Have you ever just tried to “rub some dirt in it” (or slap some tape on it in my case) and just keep going? How bad do things have to get before you cancel your workouts and just rest?
p.s. I don’t usually do this, but Chocolate Covered Katie is a very cool chick, a runner girl, and actually makes vegan eating look awesome. She is also giving away a vita-mix, so please never ever visit her site because I want to win it. Okie?