|The ring. I love my somewhat non-traditional sapphire.|
Then came my running injury. My training for the Chicago Marathon hadn't gone super smoothly, but I'd gotten in three 20 mile runs in preparation for the race, so I should have been able to at least finish it. Or at least that's what I was thinking until a twinge in my right hip flexor that I felt in my long run two weeks before the race started to really hurt and I had to cut that long run short. I went to see the sports medicine specialist at my school and although my x-ray was clear, I wasn't allowed to run until I had an MRI, which took about a week. I didn't have a stress fracture and everything looked okay, so the doc said I should be okay to run the marathon. I did a few short runs before Chicago, but I definitely had too much rest. My legs felt heavy and I felt slow. Around Mile 11 or 12, my hip flexor really started bothering me and soon I couldn't run without being in tremendous pain. I dropped out at the aid station right around mile marker 14, which was probably one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. I met some inspiring ladies on the van that took us back to the post-race area, one who had qualified for the Olympic trials four years ago and another who was in her 60s and battling a hamstring injury. Talking to them reminded me that I love running so much and that finishing one race isn't worth really injuring myself and risking my ability to run in the future. So, I got my first DNF, and I honestly still feel like crying when I think about it even though I know it was the right thing to do. So, for a while I didn't even want to think about running because I honestly found it really depressing to keep reminding myself of my perceived failure.
I had several weeks of physical therapy after that and finally got cleared to do tiny bits of running in mid-November. At first I was cleared to do 3 miles of slow running 4 times a week. The cutback to 12 miles a week after running 60 miles a week was hard for me to deal with, but luckily I was also really busy trying to finish up with my degree, which kept me distracted from the fact that I wasn't running as much as I wanted. Running is a major source of stress relief for me, so not having that outlet was really tough.
Over Thanksgiving Scott and I moved almost all of my belongings up to Illinois with him. I went back to South Carolina for a few weeks after that and finally got to move permanently to the Chicago suburbs in mid-December, right before my 30th birthday. Scott got me a treadmill as a birthday/Christmas present, so I'm really excited to get to use that. Oh yeah, and now I'm Dr. Beth. Or Beth, PhD, whichever you prefer. :)
So, I'm currently unemployed, but I think I might have a good lead on something to keep me busy. I'm hoping to hear back for sure on that in a week or two. I'm working on trying to get back what little speed I had; I feel like I've lost a lot of fitness, although I ran 8 miles on Sunday, so my physical endurance hasn't suffered too much if I run slow enough. (My mental endurance did not fare as well, but it's coming back.) It's really frustrating, but I'm hoping that things will come back somewhat quickly. And, I'm practicing yoga more often, which has also helped me feel really great, mentally and physically. Slowly but surely, I feel like I'm getting back to where I want to be.
Have any of you ever had a DNF? A big injury?
Have you had to take a few months off of running? How quickly did your fitness come back?