On the Disabled List

by: Kelly Leighton
April 25, 2012

So, running and I are taking a little break from each other.

image from www.examiner.com
I wish I could say that it was mutual, as if we both decided that some time apart would be best and ultimately strengthen our bond. But, no, I was dumped, and I was completely blindsided by it.

I groveled at first … But I’ve been so good! I was careful about slowly increasing my mileage! I cross trained! I took days off completely from running! I started doing yoga! I taped ice packs to my body! This isn’t fair!

Reflections of recent runs and races didn’t help either — but D.C. was so fun! And there was free pizza at the 5K! And thoughts of the upcoming Broad Street and Run for the Red races were met with disdain.

I threw myself a pretty epic pity party (so sorry you couldn’t make it). I cried and cried and cried for about three days. I went to a few too many (un)happy hours. I buried my face into a pint of ice cream. I pretty much acted like an extra in R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts” video.

But I got over myself. Tears won’t heal me, and feeling sorry for myself isn’t going to solve anything.  I’ve come to accept my fate. I won’t be running in Philly with my friends in early May, and I most certainly will not be running 26.2 miles in late May — all due to a stress fracture.

Kelly's MRI. No idea how to read this.

Kelly’s MRI. No idea how to read this.

Yes, this is my second one, and I’ve set out to make several changes to prevent it from happening again, including enlisting a wonderful physical therapist who has promised to do everything he can to adjust my hips and fix my stride to prevent future problems.

So, until then, my rekindled casual fling with swimming has turned into a full-blown love affair. The smell of chlorine has become my permanent perfume, and I swear I have constant goggle marks under my eyes. Sure, it’s not as passionate or exciting as my relationship with running, but it’s a stable relationship and that’s what I need right now.

My doctors are optimistic that I may be running again as early as late May. I’m cautiously hopeful, but I’d be lying if I said my next doctor’s appointment isn’t some sort of countdown for me. I’ll be starting from square one again, each mile built back up slowly.

As disappointed as I am that I have to miss out on two races I was really looking forward to, I’ve woken up and realized it is most certainly not the end of the world. Sure, it’s tough and I have extreme runner envy, but I know I’ll be back out there soon enough.

Some extra motivation is that I already have a fall marathon to look forward to. My friend Bill and I have both registered to run the Steamtown Marathon again in October. It’ll be our second marathon together, and as we are both out with injuries right now, it’s our comeback race.

So, instead of focusing on how much I’m missing out on, each day is a day closer to being completely healed and being able to run again.  Being dumped by running really sucks, but I know it’s going to be an amazing reunion and each mile I will be grateful for. Until then? Run for me. I’ll be in the pool.

Categories: Running

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