I’ve recently been told about the Boston.com Big Picture blog, and have been following it for some great photos and interesting stories from around the world.
However, the most recent post about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (have you heard about it anywhere in the media?) was actually so powerful and sad that it prompted me to share the link here. Go read it and some of the comments posted by people who unfortunately know about this firsthand.
September 27th, 2008
I haven’t written in a while, I guess life after Nepal seemed pretty ordinary and boring, not much to write about. However, there has been an event that changed my life(style) significantly, so here it is…
About four weeks ago I got hurt while running. Didn’t think much of it, it was just a cramp in my left hamstring, it happened during a long run on the trail in Wissahickon, so I assumed I just overexerted myself, and if I rest for a few days and stretch well, I will be over it. So I “rested” for a week by only biking and swimming, then went back to normal running for a full week. At that point the pain came back, it was in both legs, spreading from the calf, over the back of the knee, into the hamstring. I just put up with the pain thinking it will go away, and kept running. As a matter of fact, the only time I didn’t feel the pain was while running!
However, after about a week, when I woke up and could barely walk, I realized that I needed more than just a few days off. On the day we flew back to Croatia, I was so crippled I barely walked at the airport and got home walking as slow as my mom. I rested almost completely for a couple of weeks (excluding an overnight hike, which was well worth the pain), but the pain came back with a vengeance when I had to move more in Philly.
So the diagnosis is as follows - tendonitis in both hamstrings, normally takes 4-6 weeks to heal. This means not only that I can’t run the Philly Distance Run tomorrow, but I’ll have to skip the full marathon in two months as well (both paid for, nonrefundable, thank you very much). So basically the whole fall running season is pretty much ruined because I over trained, and then was too stupid and impatient to listen to my body and give it proper rest.
It was always easy to dispense advice to others and tell them to back off and rest if they felt any pain, that a few missed runs are not a big deal, and I was proud of my training schedules that always got me to the start line healthy, until now. This fall I just wanted a bit more, and probably overdid it at some point. Most non-runners and runners who haven’t been injured wouldn’t realize how much it means to be able to run. For us, running is not just some silly form of self-punishment, it’s a lifestyle that keeps you fit, your mind clear, and is often the perfect stress-reliever after a sucky day at work. Training for races and running them is not just about setting personal goals and hopefully achieving them, it’s about having a lot of fun, and socializing with others runners.
Being injured really makes me realize how much I need to appreciate being healthy enough to run, and also puts things in perspective - a few weeks, or even months off is not that big of a deal. I will come back, take better care of myself after learning more about my body, and sign up for new races. For now I’m (hopefully) keeping the pounds off by swimming just using my arms four times a week. And you can bet I’m doing a good job stretching those arms before swimming, lest I get totally crippled!
A small benefit is that instead of pre-race jitters, the night before the race I can now enjoy some beer!
September 20th, 2008