I think that a part of being injured that I think many people overlook is just how disconnected you can feel from the running community. Sure, not running really sucks, and without an alternative form of working out, you can start to go a little crazy. But there is so much more to it than that. If you're like me, you use your weekly group runs as a way to meet new people and hang out with your friends. Races are a bigger party than usual, since you have so many people to stick around and cheer for. When you can't run, all of that is gone.
After spending the better part of the summer not able to run due to hip bursitis, the idea of racing has been really far from my mind. I've never been fast (I place in my age group when it's a small race, not because I'm a speedy runner), but being able to push myself and drop my times has always been a goal. Since I missed races I really wanted to do (4th of July, Tour de Pain, the Stadium Challenge), I said "screw it" and signed up for the Labor Day 5K. My 5K PR is somewhere around 25:30, so I knew I wasn't going to come close to touching that.
Before the race, I was super excited to find some of my friends near the start! They're all super faster than I am, so the only time I can see them is before the gun goes off. It wasn't that hot or humid out, which was nice. One of the few "okay" parts of being hurt this summer is not having to run in 100 degree weather and full sun.
While lining up I actually felt pre-race jitters for the first time in a while. I want nothing more than to just be able to run without pain, so anytime I lace up my running shoes I get nervous. But, the National Anthem played, the gun went off, and we took off.
The Labor Day 5K is a super flat course that goes through the neighborhoods in Baymeadows near 1st Place Sports. There were a few people out in their driveways watching and cheering for us, but we were pretty much all alone. My focus was to hold my form and not worry about people flooring it past me. Despite my best efforts to cross train and stay in good running condition, I'm not in any kind of shape to be running fast right now. Maybe after I start with track workouts (next week!!) this will change, but all I wanted was to finish this race feeling decent.
I crossed the finish line a little after 30:00. This still isn't my slowest 5K of all time, but man, it hurts to be so much slower than I'm used to. It's going to take a lot of work to get back where I was, but as long as I stay pain-free (knock on wood), I believe I can tough it out.
Have you ever been injured? What's your biggest challenge when coming back from injury?
I'm Jenn! I'm a baker, blogger, sorta-runner, and writer living in Jacksonville, Florida!