5 stages of Grief for Injured Runners

 

Hi all I am Stephanie from Run for Fun (runforfun-stephanie.blogspot.com), Heather was nice enough to allow me to post for you all. Please drop by my blog and say hi anytime. I am currently GIVING AWAY a pair of Brooks Glycerins. Anyway, enjoy:

If you are a runner, you have likely, at some point, dealt with some type of injury (but if you have not lucky you, I need to take a number from your book!). As a runner, dealing with injuries is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it is one of the hardest things we have to do. Run a marathon sure, no problem. Sit on the sidelines while everyone else runs a marathon because you have planta facitis or IT band pain, unthinkable. But we have all been there. In my running career, of only three years, I have dealt with FOUR, yes I said four, nagging injuries (apparently this has been due to inappropriate foot wear which I am now working to correct). Anyway, one day while at PT, I came across an article discussing the 5 Stages of Grief for Injured Runners. Runner’s World also has a similar article: http://www.active.com/running/Articles/5-Stages-of-Injury-Grief.htm.

Here is my version of the well known stages of grieving – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And as a constantly injured runner, I know them well. I would like to say I am getting through them quicker, but I keep getting stuck at denial and anger, what can I say – it is that Type A personality maybe?

1) Denial – I am fine, I just need a rest day or it is just not my day. I am sure we have all been here. It is the first day something hurts, whether it is your knee, foot, butt (hey it happens), hip…whatever. Something is just off. So as “smart runners,” what do we do? Well, if you were like me the first time I got injured, we ignore it. Of course, right? It will go away, no? In fact, I ignored my pain into an injury. One day I went out to run 10 miles, at mile 5 I was in so much pain. I called EVERYONE I knew to pick me up, but no one could. It was cold and I got that cold sweaty lovely feeling, so what did I do – ran back. What did that equal – about 5 months off from running and doing physical therapy. I learned my lesson, take this one to heart runners!

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Pain, no not me!

2) Anger – Why did this happen to me? It is not fair! The world is against me. So after you can’t deny the truth anymore comes anger. We are pissed. We are born to run and now we can’t. Everyone else is out enjoying the Spring after you labored through the winter and where are you, on the couch pouting. Even during today’s run, I exclaimed “I have an amazing base” “I am a fast runner” as I pouted along at about a ten minute mile, far from my 7:25 mile of five weeks ago – maybe I am in the denial/angry phase about my current foot pain…

3) Bargaining – What if I only go a few miles and at a slower pace? I will take more rest days. How about cross training? When we can’t get what we want, we bargain. Swim, bike, elliptical, ride a camel, wait what?. Anything to please get our heart rate up. When I was first injured, I remember my PT telling me I could not do ANYTHING on non-PT days, I responded by what about Pilates or Abs or anything. His response RELAX, sleep in, enjoy the weather. Hmph I said.

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What do you think I meant when I said ride a camel?

4) Depression – Tears and Sadness. What else is there to be said really? I have probably shed one too many tears over running, it is JUST running right…eh, if I only believed this. The summer I was injured, I remember sleeping a ton. If I could not run, at least I could catch up on sleep. Why not? I remember watching other runners from my car window and a little part of me would ache. It is not fun when you are told you can’t do when you love.

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5) Acceptance – Ok, I am injured, how do I get better. When I finally gave into injury, I found the best PT possible and stuck to his game plan like a hawk. If he said jump, I’d say how high. If he said 1 mile, 1 mile it was, not .99 or 1.01, 1 mile! And slowly I did come back and faster!

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Back at it, with my PT!

Ultimately, being injured is not easy and it is NOT fun. But it is a fact of life. If we want to be athletes it is in the job description. So when you are on the down and out, try to enjoy all the other parts of life that you miss when you are running – late nights out with friends, sleeping late, fun road trips, free days, flexible schedules, and less luggage. Just rest up, enjoy, and know that you will be back at there before you know it! Wishing everyone the best, injury free summer and training season!

Chocolate Éclair Pie

 

Hola! The week is just movin right along eh? Fine by me, I am gearing up for vacation! I have been busy working all day, and making a vaca packing list. oy. It is a long one. Going to a condo makes you pack all this kitchen stuff, but hey, it’s worth it!

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Sassy says “nnoooo, take me with yoooouuuu! I promise to not whine in the car.” yeah right Sassy. Like you would EVER not whine in the car. It’s just not possible.

But first, I wanted to share an awesome, EASY dessert recipe with you all. I make this for Thanksgiving, and a lot in the summers because I like nice cool desserts in summer. It’s SO simple but delicious. You will eat all of it. Really.

Chocolate Éclair Pie:

PIE INGREDIENTS:

2 small packs French Vanilla Instant Pudding

3 cups milk

1 8oz. cool whip

1 box Graham crackers

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-Mix vanilla pudding and milk.

-Then spoon cool whip into pudding and mix together.

– Put a layer of graham crackers in a pan (I do a 13 x 0 or two glass dishes, one 8 x 8 and one 9 x 7 maybe?), a layer of pudding over the crackers, another laoer of graham crackers, then remainder of pudding, then yet another layer of graham crackers on top.

–  Top with chocolate sauce and keep cold in refrigerator.

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 and 1/2 tablespoons cocoa

2 tablespoons melted butter

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Then add enough HOT water to make is spreadable.   Be very careful when adding the water…it only takes a little….if you make a mistake and pour too much water you can add more powdered sugar to make thick again.  You don’t want the sauce “soupy” but instead just barely spreadable.

-pour over graham cracker top and spread evenly.

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It will be a big hit, I promise. We ate the square one at the BBQ and Bobby brought the other one to work where it was devoured like a fat kid eating cake. Holy yum. This has been one of my favorites my mom makes back from when I was a little girl.

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On the running front, I took an unscheduled rest day yesterday. I felt fine except for my knee, so decided it could use a day of rest. I will cross train and lift today and then my shoes should be here this afternoon, then I will try a run tomorrow and of course Saturday. I will keep you posted! Oh some of you were asking more specifically about the knee pain…it’s the inside of my knee, right above where I bend my knee, but below the knee cap and more inside from the knee cap. it is tender to the touch and after sitting for a long period is VERY stiff upon standing. Hmmpph.

QOTD: Did your mom or dad make a favorite dessert of yours growing up?

Friday Favorites: Foam Roller

 

Foam roller, how I love thee, let me count the ways!

Back when I first started running at the beginning of 2009, I had heard of this “thing” called a foam roller, but didn’t really care about it or feel the need to get one. I was running injury free, so why would I or should I be cautious or preventative? Oh, how naive I was! I can’t help but think if I had been proactive the whole time, I wouldn’t have had to go through the battle that is my IT band injury.

By the time I finally broke down and got one, it was too late to be preventative, and now I was having to use it to heal and loosen an already incredibly angry IT band. So, do I have your attention yet? So, let’s review. If you are NOT injured, I personally would still foam roll to loosen tight muscles and help prevent injury. If you ARE injured, you should be living on the floor and that thing should be welded to your body.

The best part about a foam roller is they don’t have to be expensive. I have the cheapest one from Wal Mart and it does the trick. (Was maybe ten bucks?) I am currently on my second one.

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You know you are a runner when your husband gives you a foam roller for Christmas. Oh, yes he did! Smile

So, you may be wondering….how do you do it?

HERE is a good website to show you how to properly foam roll. There are tons of videos out there if you are looking for something specific.

Is it supposed to hurt? Yes and no. It is what I like to call “a good pain.” It should feel like you are getting a really deep massage. It will definitely hurt at first, but the more you do it, the less it will hurt and it will be more feel good than ow I am going to kill you for making me do this!

How long do I do it? I usually stay on mine for about 5-10 minutes after short runs, and if I am feeling super tight or doing a long run, I will use it on and off with rest breaks for about 20 minutes. I focus mainly on my IT bands, but I also roll other parts as well.

When do I do it? I personally roll before AND after a run. Before a run I just do my IT bands for a couple of minutes to loosen up (on top of stretching once I warm up) just for that “extra” loosening to help me not get tight as quickly while running.

Please don’t be like me and wait until AFTER you get injured. Sometimes stretching just doesn’t cut it and you need some pressure to loosen up those tight areas. (I have also been known to use a tennis ball on particularly tight days, but be careful it leaves bruises.) aannnddd your dog may think it’s playtime and try and snatch the thing right out from under you.

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This is the half marathon I injured my IT band in. ug.

OK! So, I am thrilled it’s the weekend, we are headed to my parents this evening. My cousin is getting married tomorrow, so we are going to stay with the fam and go to the wedding outside of New Orleans together.

Don’t forget I still need one or two more guest bloggers, your post doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I would love to have YOU write a guest post for the blog! Please e mail me if you are interested!

QOTD: What do you do for injury prevention?

Road to Recovery

 

Evening friends! I hope everyone had a great day! I played catch up today…wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards, cleaning up my room, etc. I feel like I have gone non stop all day! I also got to run, woo hoo! I ran 5 miles, no knee pain. I also ran the 5 in 51 minutes, which is decent speed for me coming off an injury.

While I was running and pondering my speed, or lack there of, I started thinking about something. I first started having IT problems after running the Run for Life Half Marathon on October 9th. Every run after that was painful. So, to get through my training, I ran all my miles, and did all my long runs….but…(yes, the dreaded but) I did them slowly, at a “comfortable” pace. I was just trying to get through the run and the pain, I could have cared less what my pace was most days. Then I ran the Jazz half marathon at the end of October, and my knee started hurting a lot during mile 2, so that was pretty painful and slower.

I then took some time off, and finally came back to running last week. I was so careful, I didn’t want to annoy my knee, and make it tight or hurt, so I ran all my runs at a slow, comfortable pace. Well, Today when running, I realized my knee was not hurting at this comfortable pace I have kept for 2 months, so I decided to try to push my pace a little today and run more uncomfortable. Not FAST, and not doing speedwork, just slight discomfort. I surprised myself, because after having to take so much time off I didn’t think I could run 5 miles in 51 minutes, but I did, and I didn’t hurt!

I feel like I am definitely on the way to healing, on my road to recovery, and will be able to continue to race, train, and get faster. 4 weeks ago I was crying saying I didn’t know if I could even run my marathon because my knee hurt when I ran even 3 miles. I swore I wouldn’t take running pain free for granted if I got better, and I am trying to keep good on that promise! I enjoyed my run today, woo hoo!

Just for fun…look at the cute McAlisters ornament I got for free for buying a $25 gift card! If you know me, you know this is the PERFECT ornament for me Smile

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Sassy sleeps in this big chair, and Bella was annoying us the other night so we put her in the chair, too. Sassy HATES Bella, and when she realized Bella was in her chair, she tried to get away, so she stood up against the back of the chair trying to get as far away from the puppy as she could, and she just stayed like this for several minutes. It. was. hilarious!

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QOTD: Do you ever feel like, in whatever you are doing, you could try a whole lot harder if you really wanted to?

What’s Your Excuse?

 

     Ok. I get it. Everyone loves having an excuse. My alarm didn’t go off. My dog got out. I am tired. I am busy. My in-laws are coming over. My house caught on fire. (Ok, so maybe the last one is a good excuse!)

We all do it. What exactly am I referring to? Exercise. Movement. Doing something with your body. We make excuses all the time for why we CAN’T go for a run, head to the gym, meet our neighbor for a walk. Sometimes I have to step back and see if my excuses are legitimate of not. I think we are SO good at making ourselves BELIEVE we have a good excuse, that we just sit there and convince ourselves we are doing the right thing.

Does life sometimes just get in the way and you don’t have time or energy to exercise, of course. But, if that is happening every day, or even most days, in my opinion there is a problem!

When I think back over the past week, month, etc. and count the times I didn’t work out, or I cut a workout short, nine times out of ten it was uncalled for. Laziness is my problem sometimes, and I think it can plague us all at one point or another.

Why am I rambling on about this? Well, because the holidays are hurling towards us faster than you may realize. Halloween has come and gone, and Thanksgiving is on it’s way. I don’t know about you, but for me this is the month I start to get crazy busy and things like workouts fall to the wayside.

Granted, I am battling an injury, so I may not be running as much as usual, I still want to keep my strength and fitness up and NOT make excuses for myself over the next two months.

My Junior year of high school my basketball team adopted the motto of “no excuses.” I have decided to use that as my mantra until my full marathon (except for the REAL excuses like injury, sickness, etc.)

What about you? Do you ever just not feel like going to the gym, but instead of just admitting that to yourself you say something like I have to make finger foods for the office Christmas party tomorrow.

Take a look….both of these men could easily have some very good excuses for not running….(this is an old picture.)

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What is your excuse again?

QOTD: What is your most commonly used excuse when it comes to running/working out?