Thursday, November 10, 2011

Injuries and the 5 Stages of Grief


I'm a mess. Since I haven't been running and have been back and forth to the doctor several times over the last few weeks I decided I would go all in and tell him about all the injuries that have been plaguing me.  So, next week I start physical therapy for my groin, back, and hamstring.  My hope is to get it all worked out by January so that I can slowly start my training for the Big Sur Marathon at the end of April. As I was thinking of what a sad state of affairs my body is in, I kind of chuckled to myself about how long I had continued to train even when I knew all was not well. For example, I hurt my back last September while doing overhead ammo can lifts in preparation for the Marine Corps CFT. Then, in June, while doing speedwork I tweaked my groin. Shortly after SFM, while doing hills with Julie, I tweaked my left hamstring. Battered as I was, I continued to train hoping that I could just get through TNF 50 in early December, promising myself that I would take a break and heal after the race. 

Fortunately, I got smart and decided to stop running and start getting better now. Then a curious thing happened this past weekend. Andrea ran a 5K. She's injured and hasn't run in forever, so it was a big deal. She's also the biggest supporter on the DailyMile hands down, so it was great to see her get some support.  Oh yeah, Becky ran her very first half marathon as well. She has also dealt with some serious injury and persevered to rock a half marathon. Then, oh yeah there's more. Then Marcus busted out a 50K (his first ultra) that he damn near won! Unbelievable group of inspiring performances that motivated the hell out of me! Anyway, after talking to Marcus about his race, I knew I had to run and I also thought that I just might jump back into TNF 50 and finish what I started, injured or not. So I ran, and I planned, and I convinced myself that I would finish. Then Jeannie told me that I would not finish, because I would not start. Well she didn't say it just like that, but that just about sums it up. She's a badass ultra-runner and she is right. On Monday, I told Marcus that I was out. It's time for me to heal up and get ready for a big 2012.

So as I chuckled about my "official" decision not to run TNF 50, I started to think about the process that I had gone through to get here and for some reason I started thinking about addiction which got me looking at the AA 12 steps and then ultimately the Kubler-Ross model (5 stages of grief). I know. My mind works in mysterious ways. Anyway, for your enjoyment, here's the recap:

Stage 1 - Denial - June till through September - I'm not injured. That pain in my groin is normal, it's always been there. Well maybe not always, but it's no big deal, I'll just run through it. 

Stage 2 - Anger - October - This is BS! Why won't this pain go away? How the hell can I be injured? I did everything right. I'm not the Jackalope, I have a training plan and I follow it to the "T!" There is no way I am not running this race. I am not weak.I will just "rub some dirt on it."

Stage 3 - Bargaining - Nov 5 - This just happened this past weekend. With all of the activity over the weekend, I quickly started making deals with myself of how I could actually make TNF 50 happen. I would take 2 weeks to get back on track (after nearly a month of not running at all and a legitimate injury).  I'll take it slow and walk a lot and just squeak in under the cutoff. Then I'll rest and heal in December. 

Stage 4 - Depression - this for me actually happened right after denial as I started to think that maybe I really was injured and would not be able to run. It did not last long, which is pretty surprising given my track record.

Stage 5 - Acceptance - Nov 7 - I sent an e-mail to Marcus and told him I was officially not running. It was hard to send, and the reality of the decision sucks, but surprisingly I feel relieved now. I no longer have to worry about this issue.  

So there it is. I am really tired of talking about injury, so my intent is to continue to focus on the positive and embrace other forms of workout for fitness and sanity.

Have you ever gone through the 5 stages of grief in relation to an injury?

P.S. - Happy Birthday Marines! Today is the 236th birthday for the United States Marine Corps and a day when all Marines past and present celebrate, so if you know a Marine wish them a “Happy Birthday!” Also, don’t forget to thank a Veteran tomorrow in observance of Veteran’s Day!