I have my first running injury and it’s not even a cool one.
Cool running injuries include: huge blisters, bleeding toes, missing toenails, and the like.
Mine is the dorkiest. It’s the “Duh, don’t do too much too fast, stupid idiot,” of rookie runners.
I have a bad shin splint.
At first, like any self-respecting nurse who doesn’t follow her own advice, I ignored it. I kept Googling “shin splints” and everything I read said, “Stop Running or the problem will get worse. You will get compression fractures. You will never regain use of your legs. Your shin splint could possibly kill you.” I’d close my eyes real quick to erase what I had seen.
I felt whiny and impetuous. “Buuuut I don’t waaaannnaa stoooooop running!” I’ve come so far. I still run slower than almost cooled lava, but I’ve been so consistent. My body is changing. I feel mentally off if I haven’t moved a sufficient amount.
The pain got worse. Going up the stairs was so painful, that my usual irritation at having to answer my kids’ bedtime requests turned into (almost) rage. (This, however, didn’t deter them. I do so wish my children were just slightly afraid of me.)
Finally I got smart and took a break. I started walking hills and swimming when I could, anything to keep moving without worsening the injury. After about two weeks, the splint started to improve. Just this week I rewarded myself for my good behavior by joining a gym with a pool. Now I am trying all kinds of things, like rowing and the elliptical and even running on the dreaded treadmill for its softer surface. When I get the courage to brave a lap swim, I’d love to try my hand at that.
As my CrossFit-loving husband says, injury and the management of injury is part of becoming an athlete. It means you’ve arrived. Successful athletes aren’t without injury. But they (we) address their (our) injuries the smart way: by letting the injury heal and finding alternatives until it does.
How have you managed past injuries? What alternatives did you try?
Featured Image via Charlotte Best