Today, I ran a mile.

Up until now, I have captured my experiences with half and full marathons through this blog. I have shared many of the challenges and successes throughout my running journey, but I think it’s time to start showing more than I have before now. I came to this realization on November 18th after completing what might be my favorite running loop, the 7-mile loop full of scenery and waterfront views.

I came back from my run feeling defeated. My ankle was throbbing and I finally came to terms with the fact that I was running with an injury and it was time to stop. Ever since I ran the Chicago marathon in October I had started to notice some soreness but I didn’t think anything of it. This seems to be very common among runners. We are used to pain and know that sometimes all you need to do is run through it, it’s telling ourselves to stop which is the hardest part.

Due to a combination of overuse and over pronation due to my flat feet, I was left with Achilles Tendonitis. Even though I heard 4 to 6 weeks off, there was a little voice in the back of my mind thinking, it’s okay, I’ll be good as new in a week…That certainly was not the case. I remember driving back home from my first physical therapy session and just crying. Crying because I couldn’t do the one thing I love most and then crying because I felt so stupid for getting so upset about something that really isn’t a big deal. I pushed through my frustration by letting the stationary bike become my new best friend and taking more opportunities to lift upper body. But every time I drove past a runner on the road or saw people running on the treadmill, my heart sank. I have to think that everything happens for a reason, otherwise I think I’d drive myself insane. It was a good time to put things in perspective and reiterate the need to incorporate cross training when I return back to running. I realized I didnt despise spin class as much as I thought, could I even say I actually enjoy it now? All good things.

Remember, “RICE” is key to recovery (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)

Thinking back to my marathon training runs is hard. Some of those runs were so grueling and tough that I never thought I’d get through them, but I was always sure to take a moment on every long run to envision the finish line. I’d let myself get lost in the thought of all my hard work paying off and knowing it was all done and the end was in sight. As much as it may be embarassing to admit, I think I probably teared up every time. It’s hard to describe why, but I really think it’s because run just makes me that ridiculously happy that tears of joy come over me.

Fast forward to being injured and I know why there are days when I feel so incredibly defeated. I feel sadness. I feel frustration. I feel it all. Today, I ran a mile. It was amazing. I wanted to keep going, but I know I have to take it slow. This recovery is the farthest thing from easy, but I know that when I do get back to running I will appreciate it more than ever.

Running injuries are so common. We put our bodies through hell and back and can’t be too surprised when our bodies tell us to take it down a notch. What’s the best thing that you can do? 1.) Reach out to those people in your life that are there for you and be open with them. Let them know what you are going through – this is not necessarily the physical aspects, but mentally. You are probably feeling very sad and down, but look to those people who love and support you, especially your fellow runners 2.) Find activities and cross training approved by your doctor and/or physical therapist. However, make sure you don’t go too overboard! 3.) Let yourself rest and recover. You are going to feel extremely frustrated but you aren’t going to get any better if you don’t let yourself rest. Try to think on the positive side. Even though you really miss running and are feeling bummed, at lest you don’t have to get up at the crack of down and go for a long training run! (I know. You probably actually would rather be doing that, but stay positive!)

It’s not going to be fun. It’s not going to be easy, but running injuries happen. Make sure to take care of yourself and your comeback story will be all the better!

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