If you follow me on any of the social media channels, you will notice a lack of running posts. I had initially planned to run my first half-marathon this year on November 1st as part of Milwaukee’s Inaugural Running Festival. After getting sidelined by an injury, I thought that I could ease my way back into the training program. After three weeks of long runs, I had my strong left leg buckle underneath me. My calf started cramping, and I hobbled along. My amazing running buddy Sharon never left my side. She shared some fuel and water with me, and we slowly made our way back.
After I spoke with the half program training manager, she thought it could have been a combination of loss of electrolytes and that my left side had gotten weaker. Since my injury was on my right knee, I devoted a lot of mindful thought and energy to building strength back up on that side. I went back to my physical therapist, and she worked on both legs. I brought her the training plan to review, and she made suggestions for a slower ramping up plan.
The following long run, I knew that I was only going to run about half of it. I started out with my pace group, but I could not keep up. My speed is much slower as a result of the injury and retraining my running gait. I had not warmed up properly because I got there late. I ended up cutting my run short, and I stopped at just around three miles. The rest of the group was running nine miles that day. I was crying with every step I took. I just could not get my legs to loosen up. I decided at that moment that I quit the training program. I could not continue to train for this race without ending up with yet another injury. I called my husband to tell him. Then I walked into the store, and I burst into tears. Disappointment and sadness filled my thoughts for a few days.
This injury and slower than normal recovery taught me that I need to be patient with myself and give myself grace. I love running because it gives me joy. When I was pushing myself too much too fast, I did not feel any joy. I ended up going for a four mile a few weeks later with my cousin and the Minerva Muses. I ran at an even slower pace than I had for my half training, and I felt fantastic. I felt joy and elation. I knew that this is the type of running I need to get back to. I want to run just for fun, not to win prizes or get a personal best.
Now I’m focusing on building back up strength in my entire body. I am doing weight training, Body Combat, yoga, PiYo, walking, and dancing. I know that I will get back my strength and speed. I am focusing on continuing to do my physical therapy exercises, and I try to foam roll every day if I can. I will run again, and I hope that I can run in a 5K before the end of the year. Grace is a lesson I will continue to practice again and again. I will become a stronger runner because of this setback.