What I Learned From My Running Injury

Most recently in my late 20s and now early 30s, I’ve come to love fitness and activities that are challenging. For a while I use to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but life (and budgeting) required I hit pause. Most recently, I started trying to take running more seriously.

I have always enjoyed running. I love the feel when my feet hits the ground. I love the rush of pushing through even when your lungs feel like they are about to collapse. I love the mental exercise you get right along the physical one. I love the energy of a good song driving me forward. I love knowing I kept going even when I wanted to quit. But until recently, I’ve only done it for that enjoyment, and never took it very seriously. I never ran to reach high miles, or set any kind of records. I could tell you just about nothing when it comes to different ways to train. I just ran. Period.

But this year things changed.

I wanted something more. I did my first 5K in September, and all was well. It was not long after this race, I soon discovered Trail Running. I could combine my love of hiking with running? Why had no one told me this earlier?

So impulsively I signed up for a 6 mile trail race, not really thinking through how much time that left me to train. My hip was a little sore after the 5K, so I decided to lay off for a week. When I started to run again, I realize I hadn’t left myself enough time to get up to 6 miles, especially on trails.

I promised myself I’d run the race only a few miles, then walk the rest of it. I swore this was what I was going to do. I was a smart girl. I knew I could hurt myself if I pushed too hard. I knew better. Seriously.

There’s the I-know-better-than-that Jamie, and there is the girl-running-during-the-race-Jamie, who only thought I can go a little more. I can run more. I can handle this. Let’s keep going. It’s fine.


Rocking my pink Adidas kicks in an attempt to add more support to the injured foot.

By the time the race was over, the damage was done. Even then, even right afterwards — as I was ignorantly celebrating in the post-race beer garden — my left foot was hurting me. But, you know. When you do physical activity, sometimes you are sore or a little hurt after. It was no big deal. There had been plenty of days the day after training in jitz I felt like I had been hit by a truck. So, I didn’t really give it too much thought.

The next day it was still hurting quite a lot, and I assumed the most logical answer — it was from overuse. I pushed harder than I had said I would. I made a bad decision, despite my original “I know better” intentions.

I’ve hurt my achilles before, tendonitis, from running. (Yes, I know, I know. I’ve learned this time, trust me). I know from that experience rest is your best friend. You have to stay off whatever is injured. So I figured I’d stay off my foot, rest, and see if it started to feel better before seeing a doctor.

It didn’t.

2 weeks went by and I finally made an appointment — for the next week (damn you, Thanksgiving). He gave me a soft cast and some meds to take the swelling down. Another 2 weeks went by. Nothing. So, I got a cortisone shot. That was almost 2 weeks ago, on November 19th.

And still no dice.

Das boot.

I’m still just as injured as I was the day of that race, sitting with my foot up as I type this first entry of 2016, and all because sometimes we let the best intentions and the best decisions go out the door from impulsive emotions and choices. But as much as it would be nice to be indestructible like superman — save for Kryptonite, of course— I remain a mere human. And humans can’t just do shit beyond their current physical abilities just because they’re enjoying the adrenaline.

Accomplishing goals takes training. There are no short-cuts. Running that race as much as I did without the training I needed was just plain stupid. I wasn’t even doing it to be cool, or because other people were around me and I was embarrassed to walk. I did it because the enjoyment of the event took over my rational thinking for a moment. So I forgive myself on this one. Mostly. I’ll (eventually) heal, and learn from it.

There are always times where you can throw caution to the wind, take risks, or feel like you’re on top of the world — but in life at times the things most worth-wild often are the ones you are most committed to. The ones that aren’t impulsive. Sometimes the adventure is less about the risk, the challenge, or the goal, but about the journey you take to get there.

Cliches aside, you can bet for my next race, I’ll be ready.


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