Coming back from injury
2 December 2018
To take a quote from Peter Sagal; I don't know when I stopped being a guy who runs and started being a runner happened but here I am… I had not run for 26 days...does that take away my identity as a runner?
In November, I ran the New York City Marathon. Scroll down for some thoughts on my experience with that. It was the end of my racing season (yes; that's a thing.)
I fell apart towards the end of the race (I did not feel 💯 going into the race.) I finished under 3:30 which is still good and super beatable next year; but a story for another time.
About 2 days after the race I could barely walk. It was not the normal ache and pain of endurance sports.
I knew something was wrong.
But it didn't feel tied to running (or was it). Was this the dreaded pain which I have averted for 4 years.
Was this IT band pain?
Was this hernia?
All I knew is that it was increasingly difficult to stand, sit, walk or sleep. I developed uncomfortable feelings in very personal areas. I naively thought that maybe it was because I slept in jeans causing irritation and swelling; but that's silly...I've slept in my work clothes before and nothing happened…
I actually asked my wife to make a doctor appointment for me.
I don't know why I was so different health wise from September (for context; I needed a physical in order to run the Berlin Marathon a d the doctor was impressed with my health statistics.)
I was getting a rash in unmentionable places 😖😖. I described my pain to the doctor and before she examined me (awkward AF BTW) she said it sounds like you have shingles.
Shingles doesn't usually afflict 30 something-ers...it afflicts 50+ For.more information go here.
Post examination the doctor confirmed what I had was the worst case of shingles she has seen, primarily because of placement.
“Do you have a lot of stress going on in your life? "
26 days later I am finally in a position to start running again.
That was a somewhat long preamble to what I wanted to talk out, but you're here for a story; right?
When did I become a runner?
When I surveyed people on an interesting fact about me, a lot of it was centered around running.
My boss at one point asked why I don't work in the running / athletic space (that took me a bit by surprise but he assured me that was not a leading statement but more of a conversation)
FYI. If you know of a job that will pay me to run enter that info in the comments 📧😂😂
I never thought that a “runner” was someone who ran recreationally. Wasn't a runner someone who won races or qualified for the Olympics; not a “weekend warrior”.
And, how can I, a runner, not run for a whole month.
Aaaand what does not running say about how I identify myself.
A runner is any person who puts one foot in front of another in rapid succession to get from one point to a other.
You dont have to be fast.
You just have to do it.
You dont have to run marathons to be a runner.
You just have to move.
But coming off an injury / illness is rough because your mind doesn't always register what the body has lost while it hasn't been exercising.
Injuries afflict most runners at some point. When addressed early, many injuries can be remedied with rest and training plan adjustments. But more serious injuries may require weeks or months away from running. How can you best stay fit during all that time off? No athlete wants to be sidelined by an injury. Running may be what you love best, but try to use time away from the sport to help yourself come back stronger.
Both endurance-oriented cross-training and strength work can be used to maintain your aerobic fitness and strengthen the supportive structures that help you run injury-free.
Certain types of cross-training such as pool running, cycling and the elliptical are the most running-specific, meaning your fitness translates most readily to running.
Other types of cross-training, such as strength training, swimming and yoga, are more complementary to running.
Always follow your doctor’s guidelines as to what type of cross-training is suitable to your injury and recovery process