Happy Thanksgiving: from my house to yours
This time of year will find everyone mentioning what they are thankful for, I'm not going to be an exception. However instead of telling you how thankful I am for my friends and family, because let's be honest, everyone says and thinks that, I'm going to tell you why I'm thankful for something else. (oh..and my blog readers are included with the things I"m thankful for...I wouldn't be here without all of you and I really appreciate those who find the time to comment and those who read the ramblings I type).
I've had a bit of a strange past with running and to show why it's not silly for me to be thankful that I'm running, let me explain.
First off, I have a 10 mile race on Saturday. I never thought I would do this race again. The last time I did the race was back in the 1990's when I was in highschool. I'm incredibly thankful that this year, I'm trained and ready to run the Great River Road run.
Let me go backwards a bit. This time last year I was recovering from a heal fracture. Not just any little heal fracture, but one that basically fractured my heal in half. The injury was officially diagnosed in August and I was in a boot the rest of that month and most of September. I started walking on my foot again in October and in November 2009 I was walking regularly for exercise but still in a lot of pain. I was determined to run again, but sometimes it felt like I wouldn't make it. I started to run short distance, not even a mile, in December and gradually moved up the mileage. I had some setbacks along the way though, that caused me to take weeks off from running (the last one was in April) and then slowly work up again. I did the p90x program over the summer, part of it as a dare and partly because I felt it best to give my foot a break because I was still in a lot of pain. Even though I'm set to run 10 miles on Saturday, I'm not completely pain free. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't. I have yet to decide if it's mental or not. In fact, it still hurts me to the point that my next pair of shoes will be a minimalist shoe and I've been working on changing my running form in anticipation of said shoe.
For me, to know that this time last year I couldn't even run and now I'm running a 10 mile race? That's a big deal. I'm incredibly thankful that I can do this.
My history with injury and running goes further back than last year though. In February 2007 I became injured with a herniated disk. I ran 3 miles one day, woke up 2 days later in extreme pain. I didn't know exactly what was wrong with my back, Husband and I thought maybe it was a pinched nerve. I started to do some exercises to strengthen my lower back (where the pain was) but couldn't do much because the pain was so bad. I went from running 3 miles, to only being able to walk for about 5 min before the pain was too bad (to give you an idea, the specialist said it was one of the worst he has ever seen). It took me several years to get mostly pain free (I opted not to do surgery or steroid shots and instead do strength training exercises for my back). I was able to jog again the spring of 2009. Yup..that's right. I finally got to where I could run, mostly pain free in my back, only to be injured again about 4 months later.
If I was to go even further back, than I would also have to mention that I hurt my knee playing soccer in highschool and it has never stopped bother me. Then about a year after that I had to stop running due to pain in my heel (At the time the dr's just said to wear better shoes on a day to day basis and it was never diagnosed as anything wrong. Now, after having that same heel diagnosed with a heel fracture, I call tell you that the pain was the same and I believe the original injury was a heal fracture too).
So for me, being able to run 10 miles is a pretty big deal. I've overcome a heal fracture and a herniated disk (within the last 3 years) in order to do this. I run with knee pain for the first half mile or so of every run. Yet, I can run 10 miles. I'm not saying it's always easy. Heck, I'm not even saying I do it pain free. Between my bad knee, my herniated disk, and the heal fracture, most days I'm in some kind of pain. However, this isn't about how I run with pain or manage pain on a daily basis. Nope, this is how I'm able to overcome most of that and still do something I'm crazy enough to love, run.
This year, I'm thankful that I can run.