The past 8 months have been a test of my commitment to running. I have been off since that mid-July massage, intended to help my muscles, resulted in a hamstring tear that sidelined me for the rest of the summer. Now there was probably something brewing anyway but the massage tweaked something and I could not run for the rest of the summer. In September, I made what now seems to be a superhuman rebuild to run Chicago, only to tear my hamstring days before the marathon. In mid-December, I was cleared to run again by 3 medical professionals: my sport medicine doctor, my chiropractor and my physiotherapist. Strength was good and my cardio was fine, but running just didn’t feel right; I had no power. Sure enough, an MRI at the beginning of January showed that I had less than 50% of the hamstring, a tear that meets the Ischial Tuberosity. I pulled myself off the road again on January 15th.
It has been another two months since that diagnosis has been made and it is going to be another 6 weeks (April 16th) until I have a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection. Who knows how long my recovery after that will be? I am guessing that it will be another two months, which will bring me to sometime in June – if I am lucky. And if that is the case, that means that it will be almost a year since that first injury, the catalyst that sent me into this dark hole that I just can’t find my way out of, a year since I have really, truly run.
During the past two weeks, I have thought a lot about my status as a runner. Am I? By definition, a runner is “a person who runs” and that is something that I am not doing. I think about running all the time; I dream about running again and chasing my dreams; I read about running, talk about running and support people who are running. But I am not running.
When I finally got my appointment date for the PRP injection, I was thrilled. But the waiting, the recovery time and the uncertainty of knowing whether I will actually help strengthen the tendon have turned to frustration and fear. What if it doesn’t work? What if I won’t be able to run again? What if????
The what if’s are always going to be there. But until I have answers, I have to squash them. I need to focus on the things that I am able to do: keep up my cardio and conditioning: bike, yoga, swim, weights; be a mom, a wife, a dog-mom; coach; love my job. It should be no surprise that every single one of these things connects me to running.
Today, I am not running. I am an injured runner. I am a runner not running. But until I am told otherwise, I will continue to dream about running and racing again and focus my fitness towards the goal of pulling on a running skirt and lacing up my shoes again. I am defined by running and always will be.