This is not the easiest post for me to write, it’s almost emotional to be honest. I am all about the feels and would rather speak in my truth than not.
As I’m sure you all know, I was diagnosed with a perforated septum last year after two back to back nasty sinus infections. Due to my inability to breathe properly, my training and racing suffered. I used to beat myself up all the time and since I had to be careful, spent a large amount of time running alone and on the treadmill – I was super embarrassed at how slow I was running. Looking back it felt like I was in a state of mild depression but hid it well.
In my mind I kept saying how badly I wanted to make a comeback and be as fast and strong as I was in years previous. This impacted my running mentally and physically as I gave up and let negativity flow more freely. In a way, I sabotaged a bunch of races and slowed down when I could have kept pushing.
On March 6th of 2018, I had surgery to correct my sinuses. I was scared but felt super happy to gave such a skilled surgeon help me breathe better. Post surgery I went stir crazy as I was limited to bed rest and wasn’t able to even lift my daughter. I started doing in bed yoga to stay sane, and those close to me could tell how sad I felt.
After a month of being restricted to 1 15 minute walk per day, I was cleared to run. I chatted to my coach and we decided to ease back into things, which meant walk /run intervals. I’ve used this methodology before and was beyond excited. I actually cried during my first 60 second run interval. I felt free and happy and I was running again.
Mentally I still seemed to struggle with negative talk – worrying about being good enough and fast enough and getting back to where I was. This is a mindset I’ve had for a very long time!! It’s not easy to get past those mental demons.
I worried that my friends would not want to run with someone this slow, that I’d be mocked or talked about for starting slow again, how people would just not get it. If you’ve never been injured / sick / unable to run you may not understand fully what I’m trying to say. I beat myself up mentally more than anyone should. Lacing up for that first post surgery run was hard, one of the most hardest things I’ve done as of late.
But there is a silver lining I’ve found.
I am an avid follower of Amelia Boone (OCR badass and Ultra Runner), and having been following her journey from being injured to returning to the sport she loves, and something finally clicked. On one of many podcasts that I listen to, she did one talking about her injuries, her mental demons, and of course, getting back out there, into the sport she loves. This was a huge lightbulb moment for me – there is no need for me to freak out or put pressure on myself – I don’t need to make a comeback to where I was. I need to go back out there and embrace returning to something that I love – running.
There is no need to compare myself to where I was before my injury, to be negative and have to try and prove who I am (letting my ego go). I do not run for anyone else but for me – running helps me be a strong, focused and motivated person.
Every time I lace up I give it my best for that day, and that’s all that should matter. I’ve met so many amazing people along my journey, made some epic memories and pushed my own boundaries -this has to mean something. I don’t want to think of my return as a comeback, but as a gift.
I get to run. I get to be outside with friends. I get to meet new people. I have so many challenges and new goals to accomplish I should be looking ahead instead of back.
It’s all about one step at a time – it’s not about pressure or negative self talk. My abilities and goals are my own – I have nothing to prove to anyone. I’m free to laugh and cry and explore and just be myself. It’s hard to be motivated every day of the week, but I shall try my best.
I am happiest with my friends and family when doing a race and that is all that should matter. I am going to continue to try new things, push myself and go outside of my comfort zone, but without negative self talk. I’ve been told how inspiring and motivating I am and that means something to me. I am free to run and love the run.
I will work hard and get stronger but return to running is not for the sake of a comeback.
I love to run, I am a runner and I’ve got this. It’s time to look ahead, get stronger and feel free. It will be hard but this negative self talk has got to go.