When I look back at my running for the year of 2019, I could easily say that NOTHING went right. In fact, 2019 was the year that I wasn’t able to complete any of my intended races. It was also the first year that I didn’t run a marathon or ultra marathon. My farthest distance in one run was 18 miles. For many people, running 18 miles is a huge accomplishment and yes, it is better than not running at all, but for me, this was very unnatural.
Let’s do a quick recap at what happened.
In November 2018 I went into my 100 mile race at Tunnel Hill fighting a possible injury to my hip. With the help and encouragement of friends, family, and Dr. Stuckey I was able to show up to the race and toe the line. I had an absolutely fabulous day on the trails, so fabulous that I often look back at that special day. Talking about it with friends brings a huge grin to my face and gives me warm fuzzies. I had such a great day. However, a few short hours after finishing my run, I found that my body was absolutely destroyed. I was in severe pain and I could not put weight on my right hip without breaking down in tears. My fantastic day left me with a stress fracture and a LONG road of healing.
In order to keep blues away while I healed, of course I signed up for races for the next year. My calendar took shape quickly… and this is what I was hoping to do.
New Orleans Women’s Half Marathon (March)
Big Sur Marathon (April)
Rockin’ Brews Marathon (August)
Hennepin 50k (October)
Recovering from 100 miles took a lot longer this time, looking back, it makes total sense. In January and February I found myself completely frustrated that easy and slow runs STILL hurt, in fact everything still hurt. After 14 weeks I was able to run for 10 minutes… and eventually and slowly I was able to build up my runs but not quick enough. As a result I was only able to run the 5k at the New Orleans Women’s half marathon. Since I wasn’t able to start training until late February, I had to miss the Big Sur Marathon Completely.
By May, I was nearly 100% recovered when I decided to look for a coach to help me meet some goals and hopefully avoid injury. I’m not sure where the idea came from but I decided to work with Camille Herron. I picked out a marathon to work toward my Hennepin 50k race and contemplated some time goals. Sadly these two races would not turn out.
About 3 weeks before the Rockin’ Brews Marathon in August I began to feel some random pains in my left shin. They were never consistent and they would come and go. Often times, I’d feel pain for the first mile or two, the pain would subside for the rest of the run. I didn’t have any issues while I wasn’t running, until one especially hard speed workout. I struggled through some pain during the warm up but as we ran, the pain subsided. Later that day, the pain returned and didn’t go away for a couple days. Working with Dr. Stuckey we got through Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome…. or Shin Splints. Mine were located more on the inner shin, which was likely a result of my previous ankle sprains and weak supporting muscles. Eventually, I found the right amount of pre-hab, compression, massage, and a shoe with more stability and I was back to running again. I was able to run 18 miles of the marathon and I completely missed the 50k because of the time I had to take off from running.
While it totally sucks to miss every race I had signed up for and every goal I had set out to accomplish, this year has been one of the best for me. Everyone always says to enjoy the journey but it’s hard to actually do that, until that’s the only thing you have to accomplish. Despite the injuries, I was able to build friendships in running and outside of running.
Injury actually got me into the pool (for real and more consistently this time). I’ve worked on my lap swimming, my breathing, my form and swam with friends… and guess what?! I actually LIKE swimming. I’m able to see improvements which has boosted my confidence. No joke friends, I used to HATE, HATE, HATE swimming… mostly because I was insecure and afraid! Now, I look forward to a swimming workout! Realizing this growth has been so motivating!
Most importantly, I’ve been able to build stronger friendships throughout this year. I’m able to share my journey with friends on the trails and roads and I’m learning that this is the most rewarding thing of all. My daily training runs bring so much joy to my life because of the people I’m able to surround myself with.
This year didn’t go according to MY plans, but what happened was much better. 2019 was a year that NOTHING went right, but then it did. I faced injury and failure, but found growth and confidence all while surrounding myself with amazing friends. It’s hard to look back and feel bad about 2019 when there was really so much good. 🙂