Injury Unfiltered

Injury Unfiltered
At some godforsaken mile of the race where I fell last summer and then jog/walked it in.

By September I relented to the fact that my little back injury would take more than a few months to heal.

And by December I realized that this was more than a "running injury."

Appointment after appointment. Attempts to run. Another bad, stupid fall on a road. More months of bullshit stop-and-go attempts to run pain-free.

Another round of PRP (my own blood plasma) injected into my SI joint. It's a boring injury, SI joint dysfunction.

There's a giant joint, essentially a ton of ligaments, that attaches the sacrum (near the bottom of our spine) to the flowering plate of the pelvis, the ilium. Sacroiliac joint. I had a sprained SIJ.

But the most disturbing part of this injury was not my back pain or even the giant hole in my life without running. Without running, I began to learn a rawer version of myself.

At first, I thought my insufferable moods were merely due to a lack of endorphins from consistent exercise. That had to have been a part of my funk, but the real kicker was:

I like myself when I'm running. But when injured, I'm not the biggest fan.

This was a tough realization to swallow.

Without running, do I even like myself?

Cue a reevaluation of my relationship with running.

I realized that running has been working overtime for me. It soothes my moods, provides built-in time with friends, makes me less anxious. It's a vehicle to spend time outside, which is when I'm happiest. It's also been my job for most of my adult life.

I realized that my resilience for how I derive happiness and self-worth was, uh, non-existent. Because, as I learned, my happiness and self-worth were so completely tied to running.

Ultimately, ten months after a seemingly innocuous fall onto a boulder last June, I'm healing.

Two rounds of PRP, a devoted DPT, sports med doc, acupuncturist, therapist, best friends, partner, family, and committed sponsors have been crucial parts of my recovery.

But how to move forward from not just the injury – how to move forward with my relationship to myself?

My goal is to pump the brakes. To learn about myself independent from running. To, god forbid , embrace other forms of movement like cycling and other ways to spend time like sewing. I won't lie, I never thought sewing dinner napkins could bring me joy, but never say never. I aim to stay curious and challenged in grad school. I aim to devour more fiction. How I love fiction!

It feels like I'm sliding down a waterslide. Eventually I'll get down to the core of myself. And even though running is a huge part of me, I'm not just running.

I'm grateful for this slide. And grateful for the privilege to spend my time fretting over a running injury.

But fret I did. And fret I will continue to do.

I just hope I'll learn from this injury. Embrace balance and resilience.

At the very least, I can finally admit, albeit reluctantly, that there is more to life than just running.

One tiny step forward after one tiny fall.

Ever sewn a mitererd corner? I sure hadn't. And reading Jennifer Egan's Candy House is like housing a box of sour patch kids to the face.