What It’s Like To Be Injured

14 days have passed since I last took a self-powered, controlled fall forward. A running step.

14 days have passed since I’ve performed any kind of beard maintenance (or deconstruction).

14 days have passed since my clothes have been washed.

Coincidence?

Being married to a training program seems necessary for me to have any resemblance of an ordered daily routine. I thrive off the day-to-day regimen of work, writing, and training…writing stuff down, planning ahead, taking notes, general organization. I think this comes as a product of having written goals, being my own coach, and holding myself accountable.

In Summer 2013, three weeks into my cross country training for the U. of Southern Indiana, I felt sharp tenderness on a specific point of my inner right tibia. Bone scan. Stress fracture. Again, the following year and even leading into 2015 at Valparaiso U., I was sidelined with a inner-tibial stress fracture, this time in my left leg.

That’s right. From mid-June until “four to six weeks” after mid-June (according to the expensive doctors I saw), I was forbidden from running a step. And since I have rarely been accused of being patient or reasonable, my attitude in the month prior to actually cross-training (discovering the freedom of the bicycle) was so bad as to be unrelatable. Suffice it to say that just about anything would be an improvement. I guess what I mean is that it’s never so bad that it can’t get worse, but the thing about attitude is that it’s sort of up to each of us to decide how we feel, which sounds like the kind of uncharacteristically-reasonable perspective that would just piss me right the hell off when my attitude is trending negative. But that’s why I do my best to avoid perspective at all and just grind my emotions into exhaustion. Hence, falling back in love with the bicycle.

Which leads to what I’ve been doing the past two days. Spinning into Lake Michigan headwinds on cold mornings. Fun, fun.

Three race cancellations (Niles 10k, HUFF 50k, Gladstein Invite) have resulted in a zapped competitive spirit due to the dull, cringeworthy, pinpointable pain that reared its ugly head again after a 106-mile week I put in a few weeks ago.

On the bright side, the shin seems to be healing quite well. The first week, I ate stems of wild kale straight from the garden, drank tons of milk and orange juice, among other things.

It’s funny, writing a blog post forces me to become optimistic rather than my usual “All or Nothing” way of thinking. This forced break may be a blessing in disguise. Since the injury, I’ve been able to step back and evaluate my training, what went right and what went wrong. My body now has time to catch up to my training and absorb what I was doing. Also, it’s saved me some money (traveling, race fees, etc.). I’m looking forward to 2017:

Feb. 10 – GVSU Big Meet, 5000m, Allendale, MI

May 13 – Ice Age Trail, 50 miles, LaGrange, WI

Jul. 9 – Whiteface Sky Race, 15.5 miles, Wilmington, NY

Sep. 16 – The North Face Endurance Challenge, 50 miles, Eagle, WI

Dec. 2 – The North Face Endurance Challenge, 50 miles, San Francisco, CA

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