Thursday, September 19, 2013


By: Dana 

'An injury is the runners ultimate test in mental toughness.'
And I always thought that running was the mental game. It's not.

After fighting lower back pain most of the summer and a tingly sensation in my leg, I finally broke down and went to the doctor. Trying everything from physical therapy to steroids, my doctor sent me for an MRI which revealed a herniated disk. After much discussion with the doctor, the quickest way to get me back to my game is surgery.

Fighting through the pain and, yes, continuing to run, and I must say I still felt like I was pretty strong this entire summer, crushing some PRs (crazy right?).  I decided on Saturday I would put my shoes away for a little while and patiently await a surgery date.  As crazy as it may sound to some, most runners I know can relate. It was an emotional day for me not knowing when I will run again. I am honestly not sure which one is more painful, the miles taken away from me or the injury that got me here.

I go from crying to anger in a matter of seconds, wondering the outcome, asking myself the questions: Will I ever return to the level of running I was at? Will I even be able to run again? I scroll through my news feed on Facebook and Bloglovin and it's inundated with nothing but runners and their mileage and new shoes and what race is next. I will be perfectly honest, I  have jealousy in my heart.  True story: I drive  down the street and see runners and in my head I run over them with my car. (I would never!) 
I'm supposed to be logging big time miles right now, training for St. Jude like my girls, and here I sit.  I'm mad, angry, and sad. Oh, and my poor family and friends. I am whiny, moody and sometimes withdrawn. Yes, that's me these days.

Running is such a part of who I am, it defines me and it shapes me. It's my therapy, my happy place, my sanity. The endorphins and the "runners high" makes me a better person. 

Sigh. I do, however, realize that injury is part of  the game for a lot of runners, but it's up to me how I handle the injury. I can't say that right now I am handling things well, but thankfully I have an amazing support system that keeps me grounded and my head on straight (for the most part). 

I have already been reading articles and blogs on how to handle the mental side of recovery (can you tell I'm not even focused on the pain, that's what got me where I am today, ignoring the pain. That's a different blog in itself though).

While reading about well known runners that have had injury setbacks, I came across Elite Marathoner, Leah Thorvilson. In one of her blogs she said "It's the  life between the miles that count the most." She came to this realization while recovering from hamstring surgery. Of course the life during the miles counts too but, as she also said, "at the end of the day, those experiences wouldn’t hold much value without the ability to relive them and share memories of them with the people we hold dearest in our lives."

So, I am choosing to appreciate the time between the miles and embrace this journey. At this moment I have no idea what that looks like, but I promise I will not run  any of you over  with my car, I will celebrate your victories  and I WILL be cheering for my girls and all of you from the sidelines until I can join you  again on the pavement. 
I am looking forward to this freedom and holding onto these words "Don't let an injury leave you wallowing.  Get through it and let it prove just how tough you are."

I realize this post wasn't very encouraging and I have no tips or anything to offer you, but it's just where I am on my journey. Hopefully soon I will be able to tell you how I survived. Until then I would  love to hear how any of you mentally recovered  from an injury you've had. 


  1. Praying for healing and a quick return to running! :)

    1. Thank you so much! Prayers are much appreciated!

  2. Have any of your doctors recommended an epidural steroid injection? I hate that you are facing surgery! Speedy recovery!

    1. Thank you... And yes I have has steroid injections... 3 actually... Along with PT and oral steroids... I really have tried all non invasive treatments:(

  3. I was sidelined with tendonitis for about two weeks last year, ended up causing me to run the half for St. Jude instead of it being my first full. I know injury sucks but you seem to have a pretty good perspective on it!! I hope the time flies by so you can get back on the pavement pain free :)

    1. Honesty it depends on the day as to how I see things... But I'm trying! Thank you so much!
      Have you been able to reach your goal for a full yet?

  4. I know & understand exactly how you feel! Was sidelined with ITBS at the fibular head back in April. Went to an orthopedic doctor, PT, and now chiropractor doing Active Release Therapy (only thing with results). Being off all Summer & not being able to run without pain was frustrating. Finally had to stop for a few weeks and start all over. I missed all my favorite late Spring & early Summer races...was heartbroken. It also made me jealous to see others running so freely...almost made me want to hate them. I couldn't stand being told NO, but I will say I'm a much smarter person for it! Good luck!

  5. So are you all healed up and back at it?? Sorry to hear but I'm hoping you're on the other end.
    Thank you and good luck to you too!