My Daughter recounted this to me a few days ago in reference to my ongoing battle with injury. She reckoned I was moving into the depression stage and truth be told she’s probably right.
The 5 stages of grief can be virtually mirrored for injuries when you’re a runner. Well they work for me. The first stage is denial. For me this was probably as I hobbled over the road to Yelo to grab a coffee and muffin with the boys a week before the Bunbury Marathon. At the time I could just about hobble 10m’s but once I got settled in the cafe all talk was about the marathon in a weeks time. Not once did it cross my mind I may not make it. I had a calf knot which would either disappear itself with a bit of ‘pain ball’ magic or a trip to the physio and dry needling. Nothing to worry about. That was three weeks ago and I’m still lame, silly boy.
Next comes anger. Boy, I was angry on Thursday evening before the marathon when 7k into a 10k last run I pulled up lame and knew instantly I had rolled the dice one too many times. I was also angry at myself for ignoring the calf all week and just assuming it had come good on its own. In my defence I had ran twice with no issues so assumed all was ok. With hindsight I should have gone to the physio on Monday after the weekends 10k race and had some needling and massage on the calf. I reckon the physio could have got the know untangled intimate for Bunbury and I would be posting about my 42nd marathon finish rather than adding to another post on injury.
Next come bargaining. For me this was about convincing myself I’d be right in a few days after physiology. Again . no problem, I bargained my injury window down to a week max with the upside this would be good ‘rest’ time, something I never do normally.
Once bargaining fails it headlong into depression, which is where I am now. Depressed at what could have been and also depressed that I’m still injured and my 2 days blip has become a 3 week road block with little sign of abating. Worse still my last 7k run was as bad as the first run 3 weeks ago which started this sad tale, so after three visits to the physio and well over $150 out of pocket I’m back to the start, injured ! Oh yeah, I’m depressed. It gets even worse, I’ve had to resort to spending two hours a day on the bike to try and save my cardio fitness. This is depressing but also painful. How these cyclist breed is beyond me.? The family jewels have taken a right royal beating on the Perth bike paths and I either need to man up or get cycling shorts with more padding. (maybe a cushion! or even better a cushioned seat as the one I got seemed purpose built to inflict as much pain as possible. Maybe this is why cyclists spend so long in cafe’s drinking coffee and eating cake, to rest their ‘how’s your fathers’ ‘ )
Finally comes acceptance. I’m close to this stage currently as the Joondalup half in 2 weeks is now off the race calendar as is the 10k the following week. I realise that the 3 weeks of no running (with more time to come.) is too much for me to give a good account of myself at either of these races. I have no accepted missing the Perth marathon in June as this is an A goal race but I may have to reevaluate my predicted time. A lot will depend on Tuesday when I will slope off back to the physio and let his magic hands and needles do their best on my right calf.
Injury wise I’ve been lucky over the last 8 years. This is my fourth calf knot which accounted for maybe 4-6 weeks of no running, less than one week a year. I know that it about as good as you get but as I sit him typing away I’m not overly excited about my previous track record. If you’re a runner you get injured, this is as certain as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. How long and when depends on so many variables but I could kick myself for missing the signs (for missing substitute ‘ignoring’!) and allow the 2 day injury to morph into this 3 week (and counting) career threatening calf knot from hell. Off course I did sell my soul to the Devil for this good run but was hoping to get longer than 8 years. That’s the problem with dealing with Lucifer, just can’t trust him. Oh well, onwards and upwards, the bike is calling and how much more pain can the family jewels endure? Surely over time the jewels will ‘harden up’ or maybe they just fall off ?
There are certain races that a runner learns to love over time as they are…