If you don’t have to stop running for nine weeks and then start running again at 7000ft elevation, I would highly recommend avoiding it. I think I’ve experienced heart failure at least twice in this last week. For awhile I was limping anywhere I walked, not because of pain around the area of my fracture but simply the inability of my muscles to understand what the actual hell I was putting them through. It’s been a really funny week.
The comeback always makes me nervous; it can be a huge shot to your ego when running a mere four miles becomes a challenge, or hitting a 90 second 400 is almost impossible. Your legs feel foreign, your lungs lead, any kind of exercising will probably make you sore and it’s difficult not to get discouraged. Just because someone might have been injured before, doesn’t mean they are perfectly comfortable coming back from injury again. There’s experience, yes, but also the understanding of how much struggle and frustration can come in the subsequent weeks of “the comeback”.
Despite all of the anxiousness and doubt associated with getting back into shape after injury, there is undoubtedly a sense of pride and accomplishment. It can be so helpful in times of struggle or discomfort to remember: I wasn’t allowed to run a month ago. I felt betrayed by my body and couldn’t see an end, but I’m in it. This hurts and I wish it was easier, but at least it’s happening. I’ve spent a lot of time the last two weeks reflecting on the past semester (which is thankfully finished), and realized that despite how deeply angry or sad I was over the fact that I couldn’t run, I found other things to do and people to be with and had one of the best semesters of my college career. I’ve been running real mileage this week, and so many people have made a point to bring it up and be excited with me. I joke about how slow or out of shape I am, but I am so determined to regain what I had through indoors and continue to excel. What better place in the world to reclaim fitness and speed than Flagstaff in the summer?
The comeback can be ugly; it can be comical and maybe embarrassing at times, but it’s not “waiting another week to make sure the bone is healed”. It is training and bravery and conviction in the fight. Training is easy when you’re in shape and have teammates; it can be really difficult to find the self-motivation to struggle through 6 miles at 7:45 pace when you’re by yourself and trying to hit 20 miles for the week. Thankfully for me, I’m turning into a self-proclaimed professional house sitter and have dogs that depend on me for exercise (yay dogs let me watch your dogs we have great times), teammates who share my excitement, a boyfriend who plays baseball and thinks I’m already in great shape (just you wait), and the deep-rooted desire to still get so much more from my running career. Running is challenging and unforgiving, but we’re tough and crazy. It works out.