"You have to stop running"

“You have to stop running.” The five words that any runner doesn’t want to hear, and I’m no exception. The only difference (this time) was that the chiropractor told me those words two weeks before the Boston Marathon.  After a surprise win at the Louisiana Marathon, I was hoping for a similar performance at Boston.   This was a race I spent all spring training for, so the devastation was real.  

After getting hurt, I personally believe that I went through all five stages of grief during that time; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and the hardest of all, acceptance. I thought of all of the countless hours I spent training and how I could have spent my time and efforts elsewhere. I was sad and I felt an emptiness that I couldn’t fill. That may sound extreme to most, but my love and desire for running is very deep rooted and has always been more than “just running.” Looking to fill the void, I decided to put my membership at higherpower to good use.

I found solace at the studios. I never felt excluded or, for lack of a better phrase, not cool enough, to be there. I looked forward to and enjoyed the regimen; cycling with Shani on Tuesday evenings, doing TRX with Ms. Awesome on Saturday mornings, and namaste-ing in between. I formed bonds with the other regulars. We’re all creature of habits. We go to the same classes, at the same times, and eventually, you get to learn more than just what bike they prefer to ride on. Knowing that Megha and Whit would be there on Thursday evenings, when I usually drag the most, motivated me to get my butt to the bike; when Tina wasn’t working Saturdays, I know I could count on seeing her next to me at TRX. I took comfort in knowing that there was a community on my side.

I took four months off from running. Ten weeks into those months, I had jaw surgery. My jaw was literally broken into pieces, so running was definitely out of the question. Typically, surgeons aren’t fans of patients doing much in the form of physically activity after surgery, but mine made an exception. Swollen face and all, 10 days after surgery, I (slowly) returned to my yoga, cycling, and TRX routine at the studio. As I’m writing this, I truly believe that getting back into my routine helped me recover quicker and with NO complications; mind you, I was on a liquid diet, with a splint in place to keep my jaw steady, so the potential for complications were there. My surgeon praised how quickly and how well the swelling had gone down, and I advocated for the importance of encouraging patients to do physical activity after surgery.

After I got the all clear to start running, I went for a run. Ok, I ran a half marathon. What? Those who know me know that isn’t that crazy for me. We had a planned trip to Vancouver to run the Lululemon SeaWheeze half marathon and my only plan was to run as much of it as I can. I ran a total of ten miles in the four months leading into the race, so was I was surprised to be able to run the whole thing at decent time! Sidenote: Running a half marathon this way, especially if you’re new to the sport, is not what I would typically recommend. I had a very strong running base prior to this; I ran >55 miles a week when I was marathon training.  I attribute my success at SeaWheeze to the cycling, yoga, and TRX I did to maintain my fitness and keep my muscles and endurance intact.

At the finish of SeaWheeze, in that moment, I felt pride and gratitude.  Following the race, Mark Berger, our friends, and I scaled Grousse Mountain; those climbs showed how the mixture of strength in TRX, aerobic training in cycling, and balance & agility, helped us get to the peak after the half marathon.  I was proud of myself for making through the race, up the mountain, through the recovery of surgery, and through an injury that hurt my spirit more than anything else. And gratitude: gratitude for my health, the people in my life, and the ability Find My High (with the help of higherpower) in more than one way.