Hello friends, and thank you for letting me explore the blogging world. I’ve read blogs, I listen to podcasts, I’ve listened to Kendrick’s new album about 9 times in a row (emphasis on HUMBLE.), and still have no idea what I’m doing here. Follow me?
…Anyway! Maybe you read my “about” page or introduction, but I’m a collegiate runner living in Flagstaff, AZ –plot twist, I’ve got an unfortunate tendency for stress fractures in my pelvic region: August 2014, sacral stress fracture on the left side, and March 2017, stress fracture on the the inferior angle of my pubic ramus on the right side.
I love running, I have for years, and I want to run for many more years. I’ve got a tiny dream of being a professional athlete, I finally hit a couple PR’s (personal records) in the 5k and 1600m that had evaded me for 4 and 3 years (respectively), and I haven’t run since March 7. Regardless of how many times an athlete gets injured, or how severe or mild the injury is, nothing takes the sting out of watching your team leave without you. Goal setting is something we are trained in from a very young age, and as athletes, it is something revisited almost every season. Having goals through an injury is an important and tortuous cycle, and I have a hard time finding balance.
When I was first diagnosed with this injury, my coach quickly told me that I wasn’t allowed to “check out” for eight weeks and take a break from the athletic lifestyle, but keep a training mindset and understand that I would be back before I knew it and with most of my fitness. It was easy to believe him for the first two weeks, harder after four, and by six weeks, I’m about seven minutes from booking a plane ticket to hide in my parents’ basement until I’m allowed to go for a run again. I had so much hope for this outdoor track season and plane tickets booked to California, and so far I’ve only been allowed to give up on the plane tickets. Some days it hurts so bad I can’t come to practice, and sometimes I’m okay. Some days I’m so angry I feel like I’m going to scream and break the closest object to me, but am begging to cross train and want to participate in the drills that won’t affect my fractured area.
Injury is unfair, unscheduled, frustrating, defeating; I’ve felt it all and some days I’m consumed by embarrassment of what I wanted to accomplish that I’ve had to put on hold. Although I know better, sometimes I feel as though I’ve let down my coach and my team, like I had myself and people around me so excited, only to fall back into a pattern of inconsistency that makes me wonder if I need to pick a different sport. However, I have support. So much support. Sometimes it’s too much and I don’t want to see the silver lining–selfish and immature, I know, but I can’t deny the exact way I feel. I have people who are barely concerned with the fact that I’m injured, because it means so little in the grand scheme. Some people didn’t know for weeks that I was even injured, and the people who didn’t assume that I did something stupid or “just pushed myself too hard” are the ones who understand what it’s like. I am forever grateful for the people who pull me back from the ledge when I want to jump into my deep, dark pit of self-pity and loathing, and the people who quietly understand how it feels and don’t tell me I’m wrong. Collegiate student athletes are trained from the beginning to schedule and structure our school, friends, work, and time around our sport; what are we supposed to do when we don’t have it?
In the name of self-preservation and an excuse to buy overpriced lattes from swanky shops downtown, I’ve started a blog. I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m hoping one person views my page before the end of April (my goals are going to get me killed someday), and I’m sure this all sounds rather self-righteous and pouty, but I want to be honest. Injury is hard, running is hard, life is hard; it is all relative. I know these are all things I will experience and deal with for the rest of my life, but none of us are properly equipped to deal with hard times until we can understand the most raw emotions we feel when we’re in the thick of it. Exposure builds immunity, and denying oneself the opportunity to find an alternative outlet is sadly close-minded. Feel it, recognize it, learn from it. Suffer, overcome, move on. The suppression of honest emotion is the fear of reality, and I want to live real. I want to come back from this strong and gracious, and I plan to. I’ve developed a love for red wine, podcasts, sleeping in, and being the best cheerleader for my teammates that I can be. Perspective is valuable, and while I know mine is occasionally off, I’m always learning.
Pour a glass, brew a cup, don’t judge me too harshly. I might get better at this one day too.