I know that recovery doubt seems a little dark after yesterday’s post, but here we are. My plan was to share “The Plan,” complete with full excitement and enthusiasm. I accomplished that, but there is an emotional setback that popped up this week and left me reeling.
There will be some whining ahead. I’m sorry. I have to get it out.
I Needed A Direction, So I Devised An Idea
The point of The Plan was to give me focus. At the moment, I feel unmoored, and just a little lost. I’m isolated and lonely, and I don’t know which way to go. Having a plan gives me something on which to set my sights. As a goal-oriented person, it’s healthy for me to know what I’m working towards so I can take the steps to accomplish it.
Physical Therapists On Board
I shared my thoughts with two of my physical therapists. One is a runner and one is not. Neither one laughed, nor did they tell me I was out of my mind. They were both very clear that they could guarantee nothing, and that I needed to be realistic about things. My response is that I’m not going for Boston. I’m ok with never making it to a podium as long as I live. But I miss running. I miss my people and the community of races. the lack of having something to work towards is driving me insane. I’m not too proud to walk (quickly) and I am ok with all of that.
So were they.
Face-to-Face With Deflation
And then I was hit with some comments that hurt me to the core. It was suggested to me that perhaps the reason I broke my leg had to do with the stress on my body from running. That perhaps I should be extra careful because if I do this again, it might mean not being able to walk properly, let alone.
(I will remind everyone that I fell with my entire weight on my right heel. There was no way I was walking away from that unharmed. There was nothing wrong with me short of a spell of klutziness that resulted in a very unfortunate trauma).
It was exactly what I didn’t need to hear. While I don’t need people to tell me what I WANT to hear, it had never once been a consideration that I couldn’t get back to semi-normal. Until those words were spoken to me, I never imagined I wouldn’t get better. Recovery doubt absolutely washed over me and I’m shaken.
So many people come back from trauma and injury. Will it be the same? Probably not. Will it require tons of hard work? Of course. But they come back. I laid awake Monday night, thinking about all the recovery doubt I didn’t have before. What if I can’t hike anymore, or walk on the beach without pain? The thought of never being able to get up on a stand up paddle board or do yoga or 9Round again shatters me.
It Goes Beyond Running
It goes deeper, too. My blog is “Runs With Pugs.” It’s not a huge moneymaker, but I have worked on curating and cultivating this space through the past seven years. So many of my friendships are built on running and travel and adventure – if I can no longer be a part of those people and things, what happens to me?
It’s been an emotional week. I’ve been crying quite a bit more than I have in a while. I’m just… sad. There has been a target I’m shooting for and it was never a consideration that I wouldn’t hit it. In the meantime, I’m so lonely and isolated, alone with all the awful thoughts. When you’re so out of the loop, it’s kind of like you stop existing. It’s not intentional, just out of sight and out of mind.
From here, I’m not sure what to do. It’s just one of those unexpected side effects from injury. To be sure, I’m wallowing quite a bit. I don’t feel like myself: I’m hurt and bone-tired. I’m not motivated to work on My Plan or anything, really.
What Am I Going To Do?
I haven’t decided. At the moment, sleeping and chilling in pajamas seems the reasonable option, but I know that’s not the answer. From this point, I have to figure out a way to get past the fear and recovery doubt. I’m a mostly positive person, so I think I need to find that next small victory and find my gratitude again.
This is a hurdle I didn’t expect to have to encounter on top of everything else, but I’m accepting that it’s out of my control and now I have to take that control back. I need to believe that I can come back from this, strong and whole (and hopefully, slightly more careful on the stairs).
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Have you ever doubted your own recovery?
What are your coping mechanisms when sadness comes in?
Back in October I suffered bilateral pulmonary embolism (basically clots in both lungs) and went from being an extremely active multiple marathoner to not being able to walk more than 20yrds. For a while I was really just grateful to be alive so the loss of my fitness didn’t affect me too much. But within a short time it started to weigh heavily on my heart. The medical team were unused to fit people so thought it was great once I was able to walk…they don’t really understand runners!
Like you, through no fault of my running friends, I began to feel isolated and alone. My small victories at getting back to running felt pathetic and unworthy of celebration, and happened mostly on my own. With time to heal though I have now started to feel more like myself and have managed a few runs with friends. Im building my fitness back slowly. The momentum was difficult to build up at the beginning but give yourself some time…it will happen!! And remember that nobody can write your story but you, so don’t let the nay sayers get you down. Running always has its detractors “but isn’t it bad for your knees, hips etc??” Usually said by someone on the couch!
I’m so glad you’re ok and feeling better.
I am so grateful for so much, but sometimes, I’m just angry and sad and resentful. I don’t like myself that way, but I’d be lying if I pretended everything was ok.
It’s hard for some people to understand why runners (or any kind of athletes/active people) do what they do. Heck, it’s hard for me to understand sometimes. But it is what it is and I want it back. <3
So sorry for what you’re going through right now, Jenn. Those comments might have been well-intended, but it is the last thing you want to hear.
Something that helped me greatly through my injury was focusing on stories from elite athletes who came back from injuries. Just yesterday Kim at Kookyrunner shared the story of Megan Cunningham. So inspiring! It will get your mind on more positive things. You’ve got this! Work on Your Plan!
I hate to admit it, but I bawled when I read that story. Obviously, she’s elite and I’m sure had a dedicated team working to get her better, but yes. If she can do it, why can’t I?
Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
Oh man, why do people say the things they do?!?? Your injury was NOT your fault! It could have happened to any of us- runner or not. People come back from serious injuries all the time and so will you. It’s scary to think about what life would be like if running was taken away from us. Its important to remember that we would be ok, but I am very optimistic that you will recover and get back out there.
Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…How to Survive and Thrive During the Winter Running Season
I appreciate the optimism. I was really taken aback by what was said. And more than a little crushed.
It’s not just running. It’s travel. It’s climbing mountains. It’s paddle boarding and exploring museums. Climbing to the top of lighthouses. Heck, I live in St. Augustine, the oldest city, full of cobblestones and uneven streets. What if I couldn’t get around there? Ugh.
Ok, who would ever tell someone that a broken leg was a result of running too much? Seriously, do they even know anything about the body? Weight bearing exercise strengthens the bones, not weaken. Accidents are just that, accidents. Sh** happens. Let that comment go and consider the source. You’ve got a plan and you are on track for a great comeback (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it). You got this, Jenn!
The best poet LOL!
Additionally I eat enough cheese and ice cream that my bones should be rock solid for a long time to come.
I was really taken aback by the comment (and the source). And I get it. Of course people want answers for why things happen, but it was just such a damper on everything. Much as I hate to admit it, I’m incredibly emotionally fragile right now, and while I don’t think I’m overreacting, it’s harder for me to brush this one off.
Deborah Brooks says
I am sorry that your PT left you feeling deflated and sad. It’s absurd to suggest that your fall had anything to do w running. In fact, you probably would have hurt yourself more had you not been so strong from running and boxing. You have made so much progress in the last few weeks. Take a look back to where you were 3 weeks ago! Then imagine where you will be in 3 weeks from now. I suggest making small weekly goals and crushing them instead of bigger ones right now.
It wasn’t the PT. I would have limped out of that rehab center so fast their heads would have spun.
Being in it, it’s hard to do the comparative look back. I struggle so hard to be present and positive in the now, because otherwise I’ll go crazy.That being said, the small weekly goals are hard because every day is so variable. Today, I have a headache from my meds, so my “smaller” goal of getting to the gym on non PT days is a no go. Ugh. I miss the days when a good run would help the headache feel better 🙁
Jenn, you have come to the right place for support and encouragement. Runners are almost unfailingly positive. Telling you that running contributed to your injury is ridiculous. Running strengthens bones and muscles. If that comment came from your PT, it might be time to look for a new PT. Seriously. I had to search for a while before I found one who was a good fit. Putting the blame on the victim of an accident is absurd. The is no one to blame.
Stick to the plan, get rid of the negativity in your life, post a photo of you running somewhere that you can see it often, and do whatever you can do today! You will be back, I know it!
It was not my PT. Both PTs were great. They advised caution, and the runner sat with me while I was on the bike and just talked about expectations and reasonable things.
I don’t need positivity and light all the time. I get that things will change. I just spent so many years of my life afraid of trying new things and hiding from adventure, and that’s not a place I want to visit again. For some reason, I know my injury was serious, but also, it was a broken leg. People get better from broken legs. Ugh. I’m not an emotions person so this is just one more thing I wasn’t prepared for.
Jenn that comment was total BS and you know it. Don’t let it shake you. Come back to the present and live NOW. Worrying about what will happen in the future and overthinking just give you stress you do not need. Trust me you’ve totally got this!
Marcia recently posted…How to Run the Tokyo Marathon from a Back Corral without Getting Swept
BS or not, it was a gut punch. I hope I’ve got this. I’m so lucky for the support and advice, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t rattled (although I’m working to move past it).
Nicole Drinkwater says
I’m not a doctor or a physical therapist, but I don’t see how this injury was a result of running. I’m a bit appalled they said that to you! Running is what keeps you healthy and motivated. It’s not like you’re pushing yourself to run a BQ marathon every day. I’m so sorry, Jenn. You WILL be back to running and enjoying life the way you used to. I know because you are strong, positive and motivated. You got this!
Nicole Drinkwater recently posted…Runners Who Wine Podcast Episode 29: Gifts for Runners
LOL – I’m never pushing for a BQ! That’s the joke of it.
It was just hurtful and daunting to hear someone I thought was supporting me say something like that, especially knowing where I am mentally and emotionally. I’m usually good at brushing things like this off, but this one dug deep 🙁
I’m trying to claw back. It’s way harder than I imagined.
Kim G says
Sigh..I will never understand why people feel the need to say hurtful, and also uneducated things. How on Earth would running have anything to do with a freak accident that resulted in injury? I know it’s easier said than done but just ignore those crazy comments.
You have been kicking butt in PT and doing everything you can to get back to walking/running and you should be very proud of that!
You know. The repetitive pounding. Eyeroll. It really amazes me that I didn’t do worse. I’m 5’10” and not petite. There was not a mark on me or any other soreness/aching/pain other than my ankle. EVERYTHING channeled into that one area of my body.
I hope I’m working hard enough. There’s a weird line between challenging myself and not pushing too hard. I’ve been so careful not to go too hard, but I worry I’m not pushing enough sometimes. The PTs will tell me if I’m not, I imagine, but it’s a weird position to be in.
Thank you for the supportive words <3
Darlene S Cardillo says
Trust me cuz I’ve been there.
I knew that I was tough and I would run again. You have to be if you go through this type of injury.
But I never really believed that I would be better and faster. And I was. You will be at least as good as before.
<ore importantly, you will appreciate running more.
Now, I feel worse that with my broken ankle. They would heal. The current state of my foot may never….
And I'm not sure how long I can run in pain and do I want to do something that hurts ALL THE TIME.
Just had to vent.
I know you’ve been there. I was pretty sure I was tough, but that just got to me. And I believe that I will appreciate it more. I guess I’m just sad because you see so many people come back from things and we always talk about pushing for those wins and overcoming. And then the message turns into “but don’t push that hard, because what if you get hurt again?” I just didn’t need that. 🙁
I am still so sad about your foot. It’s not fair.
Darlene S Cardillo says
One more thing. My PT and Ortho did not clear me to run. I did it on my own. In fact my ortho said that I may NEVER run.
I ran a 5k and then told them that I did … Probably a very stupid thing so don’t do it LOL.
LOL! You’re so bad! I won’t do that.
Ok first of all, NO ONE has a right to say something like that to you. BRUSH THAT SHIT OFF!!! You don’t need negativity like that in your life.
Second of all, even if you have to stop running, we’ll still be there for you! Change your blog to YOGA with pugs. Or CYCLING with pugs. Or KNITTING with pugs! We’ve got your back. Hang in there.
Knitting is out. That’s giving me two stabby sticks. It’s just not safe for myself or those around me.
I did talk with the PT about this. Cycling is boring. Yoga is good, but not my happy place. And I know if I have to adjust I will, but it’s discouraging when this is what you know and have built a tribe and identity around.
Michelle D. says
That comment was so out of line! You do not need that kind of negativity. I’m sorry that it rattled you, but I get it – injury (especially one as serious as yours) can mess with your head. You will make it back to running – just take it one day at a time.
One day at a time is what we’re doing, but it’s just so hard to live through each day when I’m still so uncomfortable and weak. I hate being like this 🙁
Stacie Seidman says
Oh man. People are such jerks. PLEASE though! Don’t take advice from people who aren’t doctors! This was a freak accident. Nothing more. Likely it could have been worse if you weren’t strong from all the running and working out you were doing.
And I mean, if running doesn’t fit back into your daily life, maybe you should get back to horses… Just saying 😉 But if you want to run again, you WILL. It just will take some time. But you’ll get there.
I hate anyone thinking it was anything other than a freak accident.
I was thinking about riding the other day, and totally spazzed about being in a boot and stirrup. I know I will never ski again. There is no way I can handle the boot and the feeling of constriction. It’s just so final to admit it and I never want to have to do that for the things I really love. 🙁
Stacie Seidman says
Riding boots have gotten so much softer and more giving. I’m sure you could find a pair that would work. Once you’re healed of course!
I can’t comment about skiing though… I’ve only been once and cried the entire time. To be fair, I was 7. But still. Not for me. Lol.
Awwww. I’ve been a few times, as an adult and a child. My last trip was spent watching after little man. And I did a terrible job at that because he rolled down the mountain. Oops. (He was fine. It was just one of those epic slow slides). I wish I had had a better shot at it, but I’ll just have to find another hobby.
Ugh, I’m so sorry that someone felt the need to say that to you 🙁 Especially when it sounds like you are approaching everything with a good plan and with caution. Your PTs are on board with your plan and that seems like the most important thing, given that they know your injury and your current state of recovery.
I just don’t see how I would possibly get through this WITHOUT some kind of plan. Sure, PT is making me stronger but to what end, if there’s no end game?
Kimberly Hatting says
I have to echo what everyone is saying…that comment from whomever was inappropriate and totally insensitive. You’re in the early stages of recovery still. I know, it’s been three l.o.n.g. months, but it’s only in recent weeks you’ve been able to really get focused with the PT (due to the healing process). You have plenty of time and opportunity to get things back to where they were pre-stairway tumble. I saw a quote recently that I’d written down. I can’t remember if I read it somewhere or thought of it on my own (short-term memory LOL) –> “When someone says “you can’t,” do it twice and take pictures.” Look for it soon on a meme 😉
Ha! Do it for the gram!
I needed to hear that one. <3
Debbie Woodruff says
Don’t be sad. Be angry. Angry at people who are not your therapists, who don’t know you beyond social media, and who, if they were paying attention, would know exactly how your hurt yourself and that it wasn’t an overuse injury related to running. Heck, I’m mad for you! Please know that you will be fine. You will run again. You can reach your planned goals. Anger is much more motivating than hurt and sadness.
Debbie Woodruff recently posted…The Art (and some science) of the Marathon Taper
Yeah, the anger is coming. It’s was a real world comment, which is probably part of why it hit me so hard. People on social are going to make all sorts of comments, but when it’s your real people who say these things… Ugh. 🙁
Anger is a great motivator <3
That comment is complete and total BS. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through right now, but I’m glad you have a plan and that your PTs are supportive. I hope you can get back to all the things you love soon! <3
Debbie @ Deb Runs says
Oh Jenn, I am so sorry that you’re feeling so emotionally down, but I can totally understand. Please know that you have so many people in your court and ignore the naysayers (easier said than done). Sending virtual hugs your way!
Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…On the Road to Recovery? Fingers Crossed!
I am grateful for all the support. Like I said, I don’t need all the positivism and light all the time, but it would be nice to feel like I can do this, like so many other people do.
Lisa @ TechChick Adventures says
Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear this. I feel your pain though – I currently have a husband who is battling through all sorts of things to try to run, and no matter what, it’s back firing. It’s such a hard thing to be told it’s not going to happen – but people just never know what the future holds. It just might take awhile, and like you said, it might not be to the level your running used to know. But who knows? I hope it’s in your future. I’m rooting for you to find your happy, whatever form that might be!!
Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted…GCM Training recap – week 6
I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I know what he’s feeling for sure. I really hope it’s in my future, and in his, too, at some point.
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist says
I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how frustrating this must be. And how insensitive a comment.
I have to chuckle at Rachel’s Yoga with Pugs — while I believe you’ll be back to running, I’d be all over an instagram or blog with that theme.
The pugs love when I do yoga. They see the yoga mat as a nap mat and can’t wait for me to do floor work so they can pile on.
Sigh. Oh Jenn 🙁 I am so very sorry that this happened to you. Everything. That people don’t think before they say things. That you had a freak accident. That it’s leaving you feeling this way. I wish I could just give you a giant hug. xx
<3 Virtual hugs work just as well.