The Road to Recovery is long and winding.

It’s confession time:  I cheat on running.  I don’t just run, I also play soccer.

Recently I was hurt during soccer.  That led to cheating on running with  spinning.  I’m not sure if it’s still considered cheating if you can’t actually run though.

In the semi-final match of soccer play-offs, an opposing player decided my knee looked like the ball.  I sustained a hard hit on the inside of my right knee.  I walked it off for a whole bunch of reasons that could all be summed up in one tidy sentence:  “I was stupid”.  Keeping the “I was stupid” theme in mind, I proceeded to go in for a tough challenge and connected with the ball at the exact same time as an opposing player.  I was limping.  A smart person who valued running would have left the field at that point.  I was stupid.  I went for one more attempt at the ball (just needed to see if my leg would work), made contact and promptly cried out and dropped like a stone.  I was stupid.

Many ice packs later and an eventual visit to a physiotherapist revealed that I was broken.  The verdict: a torn MCL and Pes Anserine Bursitis.  The first kick resulted in the bursitis.  The second hit resulted in the torn MCL, just like this one.  Bye bye running.  The bursitis completely froze my hamstring.  I could manage about 10 degrees of flexion before crying like a baby and yelling “MERCY!”

I had worked really hard this summer to improve my race times.  I was 0.08 seconds off a PR for my 10K (and if I had realized it during the race, I would have busted my hump to achieve that PR).  I had one more race planned for the season: a 10K.  A second chance to hit that race target!  And with one (2…okay, 3) small steps/kicks it was all gone.

Bye bye running.  Hellloooo spinning!  I had hopes of keeping my cardio up so that I could still race the 10K.  My Physio thought it was possible.  Indeed, I did regain a great deal of mobility by week 5.  I was told I’d be out of commission for 6 weeks and the race was exactly 8 weeks away from the date of the injury.  By week 5,  I couldn’t run farther than 2K without experiencing severe discomfort.  I found that running didn’t exactly hurt so much as it resulted in a great deal of swelling afterword (which did hurt, in case you were wondering).  Spinning on the other hand, spinning did not hurt before, during or after.  Spinning did not initiate an intimate relationship between me and my icepack(s) like running did.

Spinning became my go-to activity.  I tried running every so often.  It was a challenge to get to the 5K mark.  I missed it.  I missed running in the way that you can only miss something when you can’t do it.  I pined after it.  I promised that when I could run again, I would run every day.  I kissed any hopes of running my last planned 10K race good-bye.  I made do with spinning.

Before you start wondering when this doom and gloom fest is going to end and think about visiting another blog, just hold on!  Today, 9 1/2 weeks after I got hurt, I ran 5.82K.  It isn’t the farthest I’ve run since I was injured.  It was the fastest!  I sustained a 5:39/km pace.  I’m back on track.  It’s been slow going.  I still experience some minor swelling if I go too far.  I have to carefully manage my distance.  I have to stretch diligently.

I appreciate cross-training (spinning) ever so much more now, for its ability to make me a better runner and its ability to keep me active when I couldn’t run.

I appreciate running more now that I haven’t been able to do it. (How is a girl supposed to manage Hallowe’en and all of the chocolate that comes with it, without running?)

I appreciate the layer of paper towel between my skin and an ice pack to prevent frozen skin. 😉

Tell me – have you ever been injured?  How did you cope?  What did you do to keep yourself active?

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