Knocked Off My Soapbox

After railing on some of my peers in a previous post for continuing to work out and train even when injured (I would name them in apology, but the list is too long)… I find myself becoming one of them.  Not intentionally.  It just happened.

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  Maybe not the workouts, but the circumstances and reaction.

Sunday I did an offroad brick.  I ran 5 miles (way to damn fast, thank you Jason) faster than I have ever run that same course.  I even had one (extremely minor) fall.  No injuries, but I know that either means I’m going too fast or I’m tired.  Either way…  When I was done I was winded and tired.  I nearly bailed on the ride and ABSOLUTELY should have gone on my own at my own pace.  But instead I chose to ride with a (mostly) fresh group of GOOD mountain bikers.  I hung with them for about half of the lap but could feel my energy fading so I let them go and went off on my own.  But I was tired.  This SHOULD have been the indicator for me to just slow down and have fun.  But for some reason I felt the need to pound myself…  Why?

So.  I came to a corner that I have made a million times and as I was setting up for it, I felt a clunk and my back wheel sagged.  This was immediately followed by horrible noises as my wheel, which had popped out of the drop outs began to rub against EVERYTHING in the back of the bike.  I glanced down at it, went off line and hit the corner, flipped over the bars and landed hard on my side.  I felt a little pop in my chest and knew I screwed something up but it didn’t knock the wind out of me and didn’t hurt THAT much so I just got up and started cleaning up the bike.  Another rider came in behind me and, while looking at me, stuck his wheel in the same hole I hit and nearly endo’d into me.  Between the two of us we got the bike rideable again and there was, thankfully, little damage other than the rear brake disk was rubbing and I couldn’t straighten it out so I was going slow (not a bad thing).  Anyway, I got back in without anymore trouble, but my rib didn’t stop hurting.  And it wasn’t bruised.  That little tumble cost me a cracked rib.

That was the injury and how it happened.  Like I told my little girl (who was feeling sorry for me… so sweet), if you play hard enough, you are going to get hurt.  It’s no big deal (but the snuggles helped).  SO… Given my rant on crazy people working out when they are hurt… One would assume that I… being the bastion of sanity I am… would take a week or so off and let it heal.  And I started off with all the best intentions.  I relaxed for the rest of the day on Sunday (no, I did NOT go for the swim I had planned ;P).  The pain increased during the day and sleep was tough on Sunday night.  I decided not to swim on Monday either as I was still hurting.  A pretty good start to that “rest and heal” thing… no?

Now… About this morning.

I was still sore, but felt I could tolerate at least a walk and it was a gorgeous morning.  I don’t know how many more of these 60 degree beauties we are going to have before hell comes back to town for a couple of months so I decided I would go and enjoy the walk.  And… in the beginning… I did just that… *sigh*

Before everyone got there (we usually have 40-50 runners for our 5:30 am run), I jumped on the trail and confirmed that, yup… It hurt to run.  So as we took off, I just headed out for a casual stroll.

That lasted about 200 yards.

I started jogging a little and decided that it felt about the same as walking so I told myself I would do a light jog for the 1 mile loop to start and then go home.  When I got to the end of the loop, I felt a little better, but right after the parking lot we go up a pretty good hill.  I told myself I would walk it and then turn around at the stop sign.  So after I ran to the top of it, I felt about the same or a little better and I saw a couple of runners ahead of me that I knew so I decided to pick the pace up a bit to catch them and then I would run/walk with them for the rest of the C route (4.9 miles).  Once I passed them I started to see other runners I knew and caught them one at a time until I passed the turn for the short route and picked up the pace a little to get to the B route turn (6.0 miles).  I did manage to leave my watch at home this morning since I was just walking… but I asked another runner what her pace was as I passed her and she said she was running 8:30s.

It was at this point that it hit me.  My gawd…  I’m one of them...  I’m a psycho, damn the torpedoes, run even if parts start falling off… mad man runner.  What have I done?  Who am I?  I hope nobody sees me…

Of course, the parking lot was full when I got back so that didn’t happen.  I did, however, try to make a point of MINIMIZING my injury (again, sound familiar?), saying it actually felt “better than I thought it would”… you know, all those things that usually make me shake my head when I hear other injured athletes say them?

So I am humbled.  I don’t even know why I did it.  I didn’t have to.  I shouldn’t have.  The marsh was spectacular with the fog and the sun coming up.  It would have been a beautiful walk.  Too bad I missed it being an “athlediot”.

I do understand (actually I am reminded of it.  This isn’t the first time I have run through an injury) the mentality.  We work hard to get to whatever fitness level we are currently at.  We desperately want to be just a little better each time.  Injuries, unless debilitating, are just inconveniences.  We fear using them as excuses.  Besides, when you push yourself, something always hurts.  It can be difficult to tell sometimes the difference between the “good”, muscle, pain and the “bad”, I just effed something up, pain.  And we set goals and plans for ourselves and sometimes good judgement can be an inconvenience as well.  Yes, we “should” ease up and heal, but we will miss our times or mileages or even races if we do.  The physical, mental and sometimes monetary consequences of that tend to cloud our judgement.  Ever pay for a race and then have to drop because you got hurt and end up with a $75 race shirt?  …yeah… me to…  None of this makes it a good thing, or the right thing.  But we do it anyway.

Anyway, just wanted to share.  I have been knocked off my “don’t train when you are injured” soapbox by… well… me.  I will still continue to shake my head and beg my friends to ease up when they get injured.  However, this little injury just reminds me that, WHEN (not if) they continue to exercise anyway… I would probably do the same thing.  So I’m only shaking my head in understanding, not disapproval.

Unless something DOES fall off…  Then you really do need to stop…

Just sayin’.


One Response to Knocked Off My Soapbox

  1. Jenny Clark says:

    good news it won’t slow down healing of the rib…exercise to tolerance is fine- if it requires medication for longer fine…as you get older something always hurts and it may or may not be injured


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