One little year can make a big difference

Today is May 2nd it’s the one year anniversary of the day life as I knew it as a runner changed.

It was a gorgeous spring day…much like today is supposed to be. So of course I headed out for a mid-day run along the Charles river as I usually did.

About 2 miles in something went horribly awry. I went left to go around another runner. He also went left so I stopped quick to cut right instead and came down on my right leg with an odd sharp pain.

Gave it a minute, stretched and tried to continue on. No dice.

Instead I turned around for what would be the longest two miles of my life as I hobbled, with increasing tightness, back to my gym near my office, stopping at every light post to try to stretch whatever this was long enough to keep moving.

Made it back to the gym and changed. Clearly still running on adrenaline. Got to my office and sat down. And then, stood up to go get an ice pack and had a total “oh sh$t moment.”

I couldn’t put ANY weight on that right leg. I needed to go home.

Using an umbrella as a cane I made it to the hotel next door to my office to get them to hail me a cab to the train. The train of course happened to be the only one of the afternoon that didn’t let me out steps from my car but instead near the other parking lot. The one that’s a long flight of stone stairs and a five minute walk (on good legs) from my car.

Good thing I have a way of finding the humor in all things. 🙂

I made it to the car, and home. Somehow. All along convinced I just pulled something.

It took a few weeks with a couple of doctors visits and an MRI before I got the words “it’s a stress fracture in your femoral neck”

A what?!!?

Of course – first thought of a runner is always “so how long til I can run again”

Apparently it was going to be a very long time.

June 14th I had three titanium pins put in my hip.

August 5th I came off crutches.

It would be September before I walked a 5k, and then a half-marathon.

On September 30th I finally got the magic words “you can start running”. It meant building up from 1 minute at a time. And starting on grass or treadmill.

But I didn’t care. It was running. It was scary – because an injury this serious is something you never want to repeat – but it was glorious!!

And so I rebuilt. A minute of every 5, then 2, then up to my first solid mile. Then a mile at a time from there.

On November 9th, I ran my first race – the Edaville rail run. A 5 mile trail race (gravel, grass & dirt) that I finished so much faster than I thought my husband almost missed getting a picture of me. Lol the one he got – of me full stride and grinning – will always be one of my favorites.

Now the real work began. I had the Goofy Challenge to tackle. January 10-11. I trained. I ran/walked and ran. I built up the miles to where I could run 16 straight. And when that weekend came, alongside my brother – I finished both the half marathon and the marathon.

And as I crossed that marathon finish line, arms raised in victory, I finally felt like I had returned.

So the next challenge was to finish what I hadn’t in April 2013. The Boston Marathon.

Not finishing is truly the catalyst for the year I had. Not finishing had bothered me so much that I was training for a May marathon when I got injured. Something my head and heart could handle but my legs couldn’t apparently.

So after Disney I took a week off and I started from scratch. And rebuilt to boston. Week by week carefully increasing mileage. Running only three days a week (per doctors orders) and nailing the runs. When I ran every step of both of my 20 mile long runs it felt tremendous.

Because I had never run 20 straight before. My past marathons i had always started with walk breaks around 18. By being slower I could now actually run further. Cool!! 🙂

And on April 21st – I slayed the dragon. I finished Boston. I flew across the finish. Raised my arms in victory and smiled. “I’m back!!”

Tomorow is the final piece to this year’s puzzle. Tomorrow I get to run the 5k with a friend that I was supposed to last year. It was her first – and the same race my first had been. And instead of joining her on the course I cheered on the sidelines. On crutches.

This year – we will both run. In matching Wonder Woman socks. And the circle will be complete.

The year will be over. But the work isn’t. Then again – it never will be. There is always room to grow.

What I’ve learned over the past year is the importance of: strength training, cross training and rest days.

But most importantly I’ve learned that what might at first seem like a road block is merely a detour. A chance to take the scenic route to your destination. 🙂

And you will still get there.

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6 thoughts on “One little year can make a big difference

  1. Great post! While I haven’t been injured to that extent, I have been hurt less severely and it was a very frustrating experience not to be able to run and train. I can’t imagine what you went through, but this is a very inspiring story. Thanks very much for sharing.

    • There is nothing worse than a runner who can’t run! I’m glad your injuries have been less severe so far, but I know they were no less frustrating. Glad you’re hanging in there! 🙂

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