Sidelined. Warming up the bench. Scratched. Hurt. INJURED.
I never once thought I’d be one of those runners forced to nurse an injury. I mean sure, my running form is akin to that of a gleeful gazelle pitter-pattering through the underbrush, and my compression socks come half way up my shin, but I’ve always been a careful runner. I swear! In this short running career of mine, I have been spared from injury if you don’t count gnarly shin splints and IT band syndrome when I first started. But now, as your humble guest blog composer sits in his chair, he writes this piece on being injured whilst wearing 2 day old athletic tape on his calf. I really ought to peel that off. It’s a bit like still wearing the ski resort lift ticket on your jacket weeks after you’ve been skiing. We get it, Olivier. You’re a runner.
Taper madness? Please…try injury madness!
I suffered my first calf strain during an easy run while on a business trip in Moncton, New Brunswick in late January of 2014, smack in the middle of my training cycle for a spring 10k and half marathon. I was forced to take 6 whole weeks off while the rest of my team continued to rack up the miles, improve their fitness, and become such little fitness freaks that I began to have childlike crushes on all of them. While I was overjoyed at their individual improvements, I couldn’t help but to feel rather down on myself. I didn’t attend any of the workouts, new team members would join that I hadn’t even met, and everyone was starting to really gel while I was getting my groove on with the elliptical machine and spin bike. It almost felt like I’d missed the bus.
The emotional toll of a simple lower leg injury can be a pretty brutal one. I found myself going stir crazy sitting out some important speed sessions, fartleks, and long runs that I usually curse and shake my fist at (often simultaneously) when I’m running them. I suddenly felt myself craving the sweat, the work, the hard breathing, and more than anything, the support of a team around me.
What I soon began to realize is that there’s nothing you can do when an injury happens. The best thing you can do for yourself is to simply heal. Of course I’d been told that by many people, but I just wanted to get after it! My own thoughts of amputating my leg and sewing on a cheetah leg soon turned into thoughts of just looking forward to coming back. I was lucky enough to have a pretty rad support group in my teammates, who – during my recovery period – would go on painfully slow jogs with me in the early mornings, offer encouraging words, fed me delicious beer and wine, and kept my mind focused in the right place. I’m convinced that those things added up to greatly speed up my recovery, especially the mental aspect.
It was during one of my first hard interval sessions back that one of my teammate’s approached me and gleefully announced, “He’s back!” when I had just run a decent repeat. That there gave me all the confidence in the world. They say any sport is largely a mental game. Nothing exemplified this than dealing with injury.
So if you were paying close attention (there will be a multiple choice quiz if you know me personally) you’ll notice that I mentioned I was injured right now. So what’s with the “I’m recovered, he’s back, recovery” talk? As it turns out, I have recently injured my OTHER calf in the same spot as the opposite one. Maddening? Yes. Frustrating? Absolutely. Karma? Probably. But I’m now being smarter, dealing with this one with a much different mind than the last one.
Now, anybody know how to procure a cheetah leg?
About our Guest Blogger
Olivier is known in the running community as a ‘gazelle’ and friendly giant. He’s a bilingual events management professional during the day, film buff by night and a great runner every day of the week. You can find Olivier on Twitter: @ODYASON
About Pace & Mind
Pace & Mind is a company dedicated to the runner who runs for their life. Who never gives up. Who overcomes. Who believes in the running community. Who is humble. Who dreams. Who escapes. Who gives back.
Visit our Coaching Programs to learn more about our services: coaching, group runs & routes, health and wellness tips and community events.