My name is Karen.
I used to be a runner.
I am now going on 11 months after my hip labrum tore…with no real improvement to anything and no end in sight…
…and I just don’t feel like much of a runner these days.
I don’t feel like much of a runner these days because I haven’t been doing much running.
Because I CAN’T.
I hate that word…“can’t”…because it embodies everything that I rebel against. I don’t like limitations and I don’t like boundaries. And the word can’t embodies everything that I fight against. Someone tells me I can’t do something, and, by God, I’m going to find a way to prove them wrong. Until I discover…I really and truly…can’t.
I haven’t been able to run for the past 11 months, not because I don’t want to (believe me…I DO!)…but because I truly, and honestly…can’t.
Trust me…I’ve tried. I’ve done everything in my power to get back out there on the roads. Any setback you can come up with…I’ve probably managed to hit. I’ve done physical therapy…currently in my third round of it. I’ve tried dry needling. I’ve rested it. I’ve started swimming more (even hired a swim coach!). I’ve hired a running coach to help me set logical goals, paces, and not over-train or overdo it. I’ve gotten a stress fracture. I’ve cross-trained the shit out of my body…from elliptical to spinning to weights to core work to the strengthening stretches/moves from physical therapy.
And I still feel weak.
I am still broken.
And, despite every effort by the doctors, the therapists, and…yes…even myself…I’m not getting better. I’m not healing. The thing is…I won’t heal. That’s the nature of a labrum tear. It can’t and won’t heal on its own. So that means, I’m stuck with it. I’m stuck with pain when I move…run…walk…crawl…turn over in bed. This is what I’ve been dealing with since February 2015.
It’s almost the New Year.
I’m not a new me. I’m just a broken down version of the old me. I’m one of the misfit toys. I’m…back to being a wannabe. I’m a wannabe runner.
I’m not a runner.
I’ve cried…I’ve cried some more. I’ve yelled and screamed. I’ve lashed out. I’ve held it all in until I just couldn’t anymore. I meltdown at least once a week over this. Usually more. People just don’t see it.
This injury has cost me more money than I make…in lost race fees, in medical bills, in co-pays, in equipment to get better. It has cost me a lot mentally too. I am not the confident and carefree runner that I used to be. The thought of running isn’t exciting anymore. I almost dread it. Because I know…usually just a minute or so in…it’s going to hurt. And it will hurt long after I stop.
Let’s not even begin to hit on the lost fitness and the weight gain, shall we? I feed my stress. And lately, I’m always stressed. I don’t think I need to draw this out. I don’t like the way I look or feel…yet I can’t seem to break out of the cycle. And each time I have a misstep in my nutrition, I start to loathe myself. The negative thoughts…they cut deep…and yet, I just can’t seem to turn it around.
I miss getting up early and heading out in the dark for a run. I loved the peace…hearing just the soft thumps of my feet against the pavement. I miss running with my group on Saturday morning. I miss the people I only saw on Saturdays. I feel like I’ve lost so many people because I am no longer one of them.
I miss being a runner.
I miss the person I was…the way I felt…
I miss everything.
And I try to keep the part of me that keeps saying I am never going to get it back at bay…but after this long…that voice has grown louder and that positive energy…that one little bit of hope I keep holding onto…it’s become more of a whisper.
I’m not giving up…
…I’m still fighting…
…somehow…some day…I’m going to put all the pieces back together. I’ll be complete and happy and free.
But not today. Today…I’m not a runner. Tomorrow…I will not be a runner.
Tomorrow…I’ll fight the urge to stay in bed, as I do every morning…I’ll do my strengthening exercises…I’ll cross-train…I’ll go to physical therapy…I’ll hurt all day…and I’ll keep doing it and doing it and doing it…until, with a little luck…one day…maybe…it won’t hurt so much anymore. Then…maybe…not at all.
Maybe then…I will feel like a runner.
The runner I used to be.