A month ago, my border collie forgot to brake as he ran full speed towards me, so forty pounds of dog collided with my shin. I thought the swelling on my shin was the only damage, but several days later after a Saturday race, my knee began to be sore. It gradually became worse until I couldn’t run on it at all. I had been running 30-40 miles a week as I trained for an ultra, so the hardest part was watching all that training slip away because I couldn’t run. I was surprised how much I have learned from being injured though. I am hoping that as I heal, I can come back even stronger than before. Here are some of the things I learned.
I can still show up
I sign up for races a month in advance, so I had already signed up for races before the injury. I knew it would be hard for me to walk instead of run, but I knew I would gain a new perspective. The important thing for everyone is to participate and show up.
My finish time isn’t always the goal
When I walked the race today, I knew my finish time wouldn’t be good, so I chose another goal. I chose a rabbit which is something I haven’t done since my faster days. A rabbit is a person who is ahead of you and who might be slightly faster than you. Your goal is to beat the rabbit. It motivates you to move as quickly as possible, and it is a great goal to focus on. If you pass that rabbit, you can choose a new one if you want to. For many of the participants, crossing the finish line is the goal.
Whatever you believe you are capable of is what you will do
Walking in the back has given me a new perspective on who participates in the races. I listen to the conversations around me, and I am fascinated by the different attitudes of what each person can do. truly believe that you can defeat yourself or accomplish your goals depending on what you think you can do.
What I think is easy might be a herculean task to someone else
I am so blessed that I have been able to train enough so that three miles is not difficult to me, but in today’s race, I saw many people struggling to complete it. I admired their grit to keep going with something that was difficult.
Never take good health for granted
At a recent race, I was telling another runner about my knee when she started telling me all the medical issues she was experiencing. None of those issues was going to keep her from running, so I stopped complaining about my knee because it is a tiny issue compared to what some people struggle with regularly.
Everyone can benefit from some encouragement. Today I told a girl what a great job she was doing. She said, “I can’t be doing a good job because I’m running at least some of the time, and you keep passing me, and you are just walking.” That’s when I told her she was my rabbit because she was going fast enough to motivate me to go faster.
The people in the back have the most stories
The people in the back are going slow enough to talk, and they have great stories to tell!
Patience helps with healing
I have not been very patient with my healing, but I know I am prolonging that healing by not staying off my knee. I will work on being more patient.
As always, attitude will change everything
I have a choice to have a pity party or find the positives, so I am choosing to adjust my fitness routine to do low-impact cardio and more weight training.