Dear injuries: I don’t have time for you

  • This was printed in May of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 54th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

When writers’ block strikes I turn to fellow runners for topic ideas. On several occasions

I’ve been inundated with variations of the same suggestion: injuries.

“Write about how hard it is when you’re unable to run due to injuries,” wrote Norma, a

fellow Wascally, adding “and how it takes a toll on you mentally.”

Several others chimed in, but I didn’t want to write about injuries because I didn’t want to

bring on bad juju and end up with an injury of my own.

Turns out, I got injured anyway.

When a runner is injured, the only thing they can think about is the moment they will be

able to run again.

Use the break to cross train, experts say. Ride a bike. Swim. Get on an elliptical machine.

Strengthen your core.

But experts just don’t understand! Yes, those activities burn calories. Yes, they may make

you work up a sweat. Yes, they are good for you, as long as they don’t aggravate your

injury. But they’re not running!

You know you’re a runner when you are upset not because your injury causes you pain or

affects your day-to-day life, but because your injury keeps you from running.

I have trochanteric bursitis, or the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, called a bursa, on

my left hip, brought on by soft-tissue trauma. Like many sports injuries, bursitis can be

resolved with ice, anti-inflammatory medicine and rest.

I don’t have a problem icing my hip. Like many runners I have a love/hate relationship

with ice baths. I hate the painful chill of sinking down into a bathtub full of ice-cold

water and at least five pounds of ice, but I love it when my legs go numb and I can go on

with my day pain-free.

I don’t mind taking anti-inflammatory meds; ibuprofen works just fine.

Rest — that is the part of my get-better regimen that I absolutely can’t stand. How am I

supposed to rest when I have so much fun running? Who do I hang out with when I can’t

meet up with my running buddies four days a week? How can I not train when I have so

many races coming up?

That’s why it took so long for me to admit that I was injured. I’ve felt the nagging hip

tenderness since qualifying for the Boston Marathon at the Modesto Marathon in March,

but the pain is not bad enough to stop me in my tracks.

No one else suspected that I was injured either. I won first in my age group (fourth

woman overall) at the Mother’s Day 10K on May 10, and then won first in my age group

(second woman overall) at the Clovis Memorial Run 5K last weekend. It’s amazing what

we can do when we grit our teeth and push through pain. (I must get it from my coach,

who ran his first 50-miler on April 5 and then the Boston Marathon on April 14 — both

with a broken foot.)

The pain is not going away, so I’ve decided to do the smart thing and take a little bit of

time off now rather than be forced to take a lot of time off later.

I’m signed up for the six-race, every-other-week 5K Summer Series sponsored by

Sole2Soul beginning June 10, and for the six-mile Wharf To Wharf run in Santa Cruz in

late July. But those races are just for fun.

I hope to be injury free for the races that matter to me: the Hell Of A Half in Exeter in

August, The Wascally in Fresno on Sept. 20, the Ronald McDonald House 130-mile relay

from Bakersfield to Madera on Sept. 27, the Judgment Day half marathon in Bakersfield

on Oct. 4, and my first ultramarathon, the San Joaquin River Trail 50-miler in November.

So here goes four to six weeks of rest. Wish me luck… and patience.

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