This week, my “on this day app” showed me nine years ago, I had my official diagnosis of a tibia stress fracture. I got the fracture several weeks earlier but had no idea, and it was misdiagnosed as tendinitis. I limped for several weeks until finally having an answer.
About a month ago, I read somewhere that one of the best things you can do right now is “do things that make you get off your phone.” It’s a simple concept and one that can be applied at any time (pandemic or not). But it’s also one I’ve been fairly bad at in the last few months.
This week, my “on this day app” showed me seven years ago, I had my official diagnosis of a tibia stress fracture. It was my first real running injury. The diagnosis came a month after the actual break. I think the original diagnosis (with a clean X-Ray) was tendinitis.
Stress fractures rarely show up on X-Rays. In fact, I’ve never had a stress fracture that did show up within the first weeks of the break.. I tell people that X-rays are the gateway to MRI’s.
I know exactly how I caused what caused my tibia to break and it was by running my runs to fast all of the time. I ran between 7-7:10 pace every day. You can read about my running history in my running about page, so I’ll spare you all of those details.
In summary, at the time my PRS were much slower. I was always tired, and my training was dumb. I was a new runner (I had been running off and on for about a year), so I didn’t know the importance of easy runs.
Most runners go through the phase of running in cheap shoes, running all their runs to fast, and then get injured.
On that day 7 years ago, I sat in the doctor’s office, crying my eyes out as they read the results. My dad was sitting there, probably rolling his eyes.
He looked me square in my 21-year-old face and said: “Hollie, it’s just running, get ahold of yourself.”
I’ll never forget that statement because at the end of the day it is…just running. Races, events, and running will always be there. I don’t regret the injury, and I don’t regret any of my injuries because they have all taught me something.
This is my 21st birthday when the reality was I had a broken tibia. The doctor told me it was “tendinitis” so didn’t boot it for a while longer. My youngest brother seems thrilled to celebrate my birthday.
In 2011, my tibial stress fracture taught me not to train like a moron.
In 2014, my second metatarsal fracture taught me I can’t outrun injury. Nipping things in the bud is essential. If I rested a week, I wouldn’t have sat out 2+ months. You will never outrun a stress reaction, and they turn into a fracture.
In 2016, my ankle fracture taught me I have a lot more hobbies than running. I like to run, and I blog about running but I like a lot of other things including hiking and just being active. I mean one of my first “real” hiking adventures and I was doing yoga. JK…yoga is not my thing.
That being said, of course, there were hard times and tears shed but running isn’t everything.
I’ve had multiple doctors visits to make sure my body is healthy, and it is. I have the right amount of calcium, vitamin D, and I get my period every month. My injuries have been either overuse or form. I stress my metatarsals with how I run, so I need to be overly cautious in changing shoes as well as running too much. It took me a long time to realize that but better late than never.
So that leads me to where the post is actually going.
I don’t rely a lot on paces and for the most part train for time versus pace. I’ll never be a runner who cares about an 8:30 mile versus 8:33.
I’m not a data nerd and don’t even log into my Garmin app very often. Strava doesn’t interest me for many reasons including safety, but I also don’t care enough for the data portion. I don’t need head pats and likes to get me out of the door. I do it because I like it.
It’s another reason I don’t see the point to log pace and lose sleep over an of an easy run.
(Since my tibia break, I’ve never had the issue of going to fast for recovery and easy). I want to know that data for races or workouts, but I just listen to my body on easy run or recovery runs.
To tell you the type of runner and person I am, this morning I finished a run with my friend Alexis and she asked: what does your watch read? I said 9.95 and she asked if I wanted to get to 10…I just shrugged and said it didn’t matter. One of my most significant personal accomplishments for my anxiety is not to sweat the small things. Will I remember next week I ran 9.95 versus 10.01…no.
I’m not lazy, and I do work hard. I don’t feel like I have to prove that to anyone because I know it for myself. If you cut corners in your training, you are only hurting yourself. I’m not hurting “X the Instagrammer” because I’m lying about workouts, runs, or races…I’m just hurting me.
Originally, this was written in more of a diary format and I wasn’t going to post it. Sometimes it’s just cathartic to get information out there.
Then I was told, and I also realized, I have been lazy with my training logs because I don’t really know who reads them. I don’t care if I get 10 comments or none but if no one ever comments, how on earth would I even know someone is reading? So I figured people weren’t reading my blog anymore. That is totally fine and I never expect anyone to read anything I write. In fact, I’ll tell personal friends stories and they’ll say: oh I read that on your blog. I never think anyone reads anything. It’s fun when people do, and the commentary is fun but I don’t expect it. Bloggers aren’t celebrities and having the most followers is like having monopoly money…when you log off the computer…no one cares.
So where am I with Running Now?
This summer I have been running easy and doing workouts when I can.
I am a high mileage runner and I thrive on high mileage and racing all of the time but I absolutely can’t do that year round. I’ll injure myself or burn myself out. I’ve learned that lesson too many times. This summer I put the brakes on and while I’m running 45-60 minutes and longer runs a couple of days a week I’m not hitting double digits every day. I will do that again, hopefully in the fall, but I won’t that mistake of doing that year round and hurting myself. Sure it’s boring because I’m not racing every weekend, and I could put more effort into my training logs.
That being said, I am in shape but I’m not in peak shape, and your body can’t be year round. If you asked me to race a half marathon right now, I think I could run somewhere around 1:30 but my PR is 1:22. To get to 1:22, I do have to up training and mileage. I have to run hard, fine-tune fitness, and train for a goal.
Right now I’m running the Under Armour 25k trail race in Killington, this weekend. A completely different goal than a PRing half marathon or having any road goal. My goal is literally to finish healthy. I do plan to train for a goal (road) race in the fall, but the other component is I’m often at the mercy of my husband’s schedule. We have a few more things to sort out, but I do plan to train for a fall goal race. Once I have a decision and bib for a race, the blogging world will be the first to know (well maybe my parents).
This is one of my longest posts about life, running, and everything in between so thank you for staying with me if you did. I never really anticipated posting it but the timing just seemed right.
Yesterday on Instagram, I asked what people were interested in on blogging. I’m not a coach, I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m not a professional or expert. I’m just a person who likes to run and also blog.
One of the questions I received was “what to do when you don’t feel like running”. As runners, we’ve all been through a time that we “just didn’t feel like running.” Last April and May, I was burned out. Between life and not wanting to run, it took me nearly 4 months to be consistently back to training again. This year, there was a time in early April, I felt the same way. Instead of pushing through and probably hurting myself, I took a few days off.
The world did not end. Running was there when I was ready.
For most of us, running is not a full-time job or profession and it’s okay to take time off.
After a big race, I don’t always find myself “wanting to run.” If the race didn’t go well, I might be less motivated. Even if the race did go well, I might be less motivated because a new goal race is “so far off.” Throughout the years, I find recovery from any big race is essential.
There is No Shame in Recovery, in Fact, it’s Important:
I can’t stress this enough. If you attempt to jump back into mileage and workouts after a big race, you’ll get hurt. I’ve been there before and suffered the consequences. After Copper Mountain, I bee-bopped around, ran with family and just enjoyed my week. If I run, yay! If I didn’t…who care. For instance, with an overnight flight delay in Denver, I wasn’t going to run in NJ at 2:30 pm in July…so I didn’t. It wasn’t worth it to wake up at 3:30 am and run and it wasn’t worth it to me run in 100 degrees. Recovery was the best that day and it became another rest day.
Recovery Includes Mental Recovery:
When you mentally invest so much in a race, it’s important to realize, after that race you need some mental downtime. Let your brain and mental health recover too! As someone who took many college classes in mental health, it’s so important to ask yourself: is what I’m doing making me mentally healthy? The rest time allows you to reset and recharge for the next race.
Set a New Goal:
If your next goal race is months away, find smaller goals or races. Personally, I prefer racing frequently because it gives me “something to look forward too.” I prefer big, competitive races, for a goal race but I like smaller local races. I can decide race day if I want to run and have something to look forward too. If you find yourself not motivated to run, look for some smaller races that you can do!
Switch it Up:
This is good advice for burn out or just staying mentally motivated. A few ways to switch up your running:
- A new distance
- New routes or surfaces (trails, go on the roads, heck even zone out to the treadmill if you desire)
- Run with Friends
- Run Your “route” backward. Yes, that makes for a whole new run.
Whether that is a physical or mental reward, give yourself something to look forward too. Someone I personally know puts a dollar in a jar every run they do. They end up buying new running shoes or gear with the money, which I think is fun! You don’t have to reward yourself with anything expensive or food related but if it’s something you look forward too, then it counts.
When all else doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to take time off. We all need running breaks both for mental and physical health. These days, social media has made it easy to compare yourself to everyone else out there. It feels like “everyone else is running” and running well when that isn’t the truth. We all go through the highs and lows of running and it’s important to remember why you did it (for you).
Questions for you:
How do you stay motivated to run?
Do you take time off after a goal race?