I know it’s now February and New Year’s is quickly becoming the distant past, but it’s only now that I’m finally shifting into a new schedule and routine. January was a weird month for me. I came back to school, started a new track season, classes began (and added and dropped), and I made the decision to take a break from running.
Runner4freedom not running? Waaaaa? I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But in case you don’t follow me on Instagram and haven’t followed my 3+ years of injury struggles, I’ll fill you in on a bit of Sarah medical history.
Spring of my sophomore year in high school, I started experiencing pain in my left shin. I couldn’t race most of the track season, and was eventually forced to take a month off from running in order to heal my shin splints. I started running over the summer, but next thing I knew the pain had returned. The fall of Junior year I was in and out of the pool, running hard workouts on land, then forced back into the pool to cross train until the pain was once again bearable. Despite my injury, I won my conference meet and finished 6th in my division.
I took more time off that winter, then started over again that spring. I had a bomb-ass spring track season, where I PR’d in the 2 mile (11:24), finishing 4th in my division and 12th in the state for my event. I was on track for a great fall xc season, and was even recruited to run in college! I was running my highest mileage yet: 45-50 miles a week. Then mid-october of my senior year, just as I broke 19 minutes in the 5k (18:58), my right shin started to hurt. My season went down hill from there, and I ended up with a fracture by November.
I ran a triathlon that spring, but my shin still wasn’t 100%. Over the summer my other shin started hurting. I went to college, took some time to cross train, then slowly started running again. Only problem, I had lost a lot of fitness and the motivation to run along with it. When my shin started hurting again in December, I stopped running. I went to spinning classes and lifted because I enjoyed it, but my desire to cross train and return to racing had disappeared. When I got back to school, I approached my coach about my pain (both physical and mental). Together, we decided I should take an extended break from distance running and try something else: javelin.
It’s been almost a month now, and I have not run more than a mile. My hope is to wait a total of 3-6 months before I really run again, just to let my bones heal. After so many stress reactions/fracture, I think my body needs this. I’m afraid that some people misunderstand me – I’m not giving up, I am taking time off so that when I am ready to run again, there will be no lingering bone injuries to take me out early. Hopefully when the weather gets nice, I can start running again for pleasure. Then over the summer, I can build endurance and maybe a little speed. When fall rolls around, I’ll be ready to race cross country.
Whew! That was long. Sorry about that! Anyway, what am I doing right now if I’m not running? I’m not the kind of person to sit still. Currently I’m doing bike workouts about 3-4x per week, following a heavy lift plan 3x per week, core whenever possible, and throwing 3x per week. I just stated weight throw and shot put, and I have a few days of javelin behind me now. My shoulders hurt, my arms are tired, but I couldn’t be happier. I’m finally getting coached again, learning something new, and working towards a new area of competition. I feel like I’m a part of the team, and all I want is to be able to contribute a point by the end of the spring season. My motivation is back!
New year, new training. Every year I try to pick a word to focus on, inspire me, work for. 2015 was the year of success. 2016 was the year of happiness. 2017 is the year of growth.I am growing, I am changing, and I can’t wait to see where I will go!