Steamtown Marathon Diary: Catastrophe

Deciding the proper course to take when an injury rears its ugly head is never an easy decision. Especially when it’s a nagging, easy to reaggravate problem like a groin injury. As you could probably figure out by now, my groin injury blew up this past week. The race on Wednesday was clearly the final straw, as Thursday’s run was the most painful run I’d gone on in quite some time. However, I don’t mean that from a physical standpoint.

The first mile or two on Thursday wasn’t bad, but eventually this dull pain started settling in and I knew that if I tried to push things, the groin would only get worse. So I swallowed my pride and just headed home, only doing a little short of five miles, less than half of what I’d hoped. Sure, the groin itself caused me a little pain, but it was more what it did to my psyche. I was crushed. My training had been going so well, I felt like I was just in great shape, I’d just broken 16 minutes for three miles while certainly not going all out and I still had more three months to get ready.

But the thing about running, and any sport for that matter, is you just never know when the injury bug will rear its ugly head and try its damnedest to completely derail all your hard work. The best thing you can do is just try to skip over the first four stages of grief and go right to acceptance. I found myself angry, depressed, bargaining and so on before I realized how silly and frivolous those pursuits were. I got injured. It wasn’t the end of the world, despite how important running is to me. I’ve recovered from injuries before and I still do have about three months until Steamtown.

That said, this will in fact undoubtedly negative affect my training. I don’t think I’ll be able to get into quite as good shape as I might have otherwise, but there is sure as hell no reason to just roll over and give up. It’s easy to let those thoughts overtake you at first. “Damn it, I’m injured again. My whole summer’s ruined!” “No, now I’ll never break three hours or qualify for Boston!” “Why does God hate me?!” Such responses might might make you feel better or get the anger out, but the best thing to do is accept the reality of being injured and just do everything you can to get better. Ice, heat, rehab work, rest. Whatever you need. Each injury and person is unique.

I’m going to take some time off, try to rest this up as much as I can, then get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, given the sensitivity of this injury, I’ll have to take my time more than I would like, but that’s just the thing. I have to accept that I’ll have to take things slow so I don’t go and make things even worse. That’s one of the hardest things, holding back, as I and some of my running friends can attest to. But one injury doesn’t necessarily spell doom for an entire season or for a race. It’s important to just accept what has happened and then do everything possible to come back as strong and prepared as you can.

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