Thursday, April 26, 2012

Overcoming Fear: Returning to Running after an Injury

Truth be told, I really didn't think I had an ITBS.  It was possible that it was something else, but every indication led me to ITBS.  Its an ugly acronym even!  But, it needed some serious attention.  I know some runners who ignore it and try to overcome it with just light running and end up in excruciating pain for 6 months.  No way did I want to let that happen to me, and while I did miss the Iron Girl as a result, I know that the ITBS injury is now behind me. 5 weeks of no running...thats a lot to get back!

I was apprehensive about going out for a real run last night.  The elliptical is simply not the same.  I haven't wanted to push myself and really, I've let this injury get the best of me....mentally, that is.  I was more than apprehensive about a real run...I was afraid of absolutely sucking wind!  I recall back in early December, I took off 3 weeks due to a knee took me a solid 3 weeks to just get back to the point of where I was.  Knowing that I injured myself on 3/18 (and I tried to do a real run about 1 week afterwards)....well, I knew I was not going to be happy.

I procrastinated.  I did get into my running clothes around 6:30, but I definitely had to let my stomach settle after a light dinner at Atlanta Bread Company.   Then, I had to put together my son's lego ninjago birthday present from earlier in the week. Then, I realized that I hadn't charged my watch in forever.  Then, I walked into my daughter's room and realized that it was a sheer mad mess and had to clean it.  Then, I had nothing else to distract me.  It was 8:30...dark (maybe I wanted it to be dark also since I expected the worst and didn't want anyone to see me!)....and there were no more opportunities for procrastination.  So, I donned my watch, my shoes and went out the door.

Now, I had low expectations.  I planned on hopefully running 2 miles.

I felt fat.  I felt slow.  But, I did 2.1 miles without stopping, with an average pace of 10:48. That in and of itself surprised me.  I also realized that its been so long that I forgot how to use my watch (yes, .4 mile into it my watch said .1).  I also realize that I have a long way to go to get back to running 10 miles every weekend.

So, new goals for me.  Its my resolution to myself....nobody else.  I'm going to kick this running thing again.  I've been sidetracked before, so I just need to focus and reinforce the positive (which is the reason for so many uplifting quotes as of late!).  After all, I have a tri to race in a few weeks!  And, I have a half marathon to kick ass at in the Fall! Alas, I need to focus on some short-term goals....

Run at least 2 miles every day for the next 2 weeks.  Slowly build to 2.5 miles and then to 3 miles and then to 3.5 miles.  Will hold at 3.5 miles for a bit until I'm confident that I can increase distance.  But at least the daily running should help with both my confidence and my weight (remember, I said I felt fat).

Thats the plan.  I'm glad I ran tonight.  I'm glad that I overcame the dread and lament and fear and loathing of that pavement.  But, its a new day...and I need to prove something to myself now.  Watch out!


  1. Good for you! It is hard to start again after time off with an injury! Great pace too :)
    I am just starting again afer a lower back injury! In March I only ran 11km and started again for April! I am amazed how far set back I am. I will be following a plan like your's to rebuild. At first I thought I'd just jump back into fewer longer runs, but I will feel much 'better' doing daily shorter ones!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Thanks Sandra...every little step helps! I'm sure week 2 of my return will see grand improvements, but its just a little disheartening right now. Then again, I know my times will be slower than before simply because its darn hot now already!


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