No Long Beach Marathon

photo 2

It is quite disappointing to say the least that I won’t be able to run the Long Beach Marathon tomorrow. The more I tried, the less likely it seems that I could handle any more than several feet, sadly.  I can walk now without limping, but the truth is that I cannot put weight on the forefoot.

However, now that I am accepting this as a reality, I am looking past this and continuing on with my goal. My new goal.

photo 3 Near the Long Beach Convention Center

I came across a good article about how to cope with injuries that put you out of the game at which you’ve been working so hard, and I think that there are some pointers that I find useful to apply to my situation.

It is called 7 Steps for Mentally Healing for an Injury, and I am taking away with the following.

“If you’re all the sudden injured and can’t work out every day, you’re experiencing a major dip in endorphins,” says Barbara Walker, Ph.D. a psychologist at the Center for Human Performance. …. Not to mention, if you usually work out with friends or a team, you’re also experiencing social separation. And maybe you didn’t even realize how much your regular exercise routine helped you clear your head and stave off anxiety.

I always run by myself, so this doesn’t apply to me running. However, it does when it comes to hiking. To make a long story short, I haven’t  hiked with some of hiking friends whom I did on almost weekly basis, and now that I am sort of sitting out not only on running but also on hiking, I feel a bit anxious about missing out on all the great hikes. Since I truly believe that hiking makes me feel alive and that running is something that I could get better at, not being able to do these two favorite outdoor activities has started having a negative impact on me.

Cheadle also suggests writing about the way you feel. “Processing emotions leads to a better understanding of our feelings,” she says, “and can even show us different perspectives on our injuries.”

And this is exactly what I am doing – blogging, and it is really helping me to a degree. It forces me to write about not just my training progress but my unexpected setbacks. Because of the fact that I’ve never had an injury in life where it was so severe that I had to sit out on a race or a competition, I am really bummed that I can’t run tomorrow’s race. However, me writing about it and sharing my frustration and disappointment with friends and readers, it is sort of acting as a therapy. I am getting that anxiety off my chest one post at a time.

The more you stress, the harder it is to heal, because stress hormones interfere with the removal of damaged tissue and impair the movement of healing immune cells to the site of the injury. Not to mention, stress can cause sleep disturbances, further impairing your recovery.

And, to be honest, I’ve been stressing myself over this since the accident. It is funny to see how differently things turn out. When I sprained my left ankle, it was the worst pain I have ever had in my life. And I thought then that I would not be able to run the race because of the sprain. It turned out that it was not the sprain.

In fact, it was plantar fasciitis, which I got two days after the sprain incident when I went for a run in the pair of new shoes. Who knew that it was the lack of sole support in the new shoes that would have triggered the whole setback. Since then, I’ve been trying all the home remedies, which I talked about here and have seen a gradual but very slow recovery progress. As the race day was fast approaching, I was under a lot of pressure although part of me knew that there would be nothing I could do if my left foot didn’t heal in time to run the race. Now that I know for a fact that I cannot run tomorrow, I can less stress about it. In fact, I can pretend that there’s no race tomorrow for me to run at all.

“You’re still an athlete,” says Cheadle, “but from the time of injury until you’re completely healed, the key is to be patient and realistic with yourself.” So rather than focusing on performance or results, Cheadle suggests that you make your first goal healing. By putting the bulk of your energy into recovery, you’ll allow yourself to feel encouraged by progress, instead of discouraged by how far you’ve fallen from your previous goals.

And I can really do this. Now that I have accepted the fact that I won’t be running tomorrow, I can focus on healing. Focus on a full recovery. So that I can run and hike like I did it before.

For example, you may be able to spend more time working on your stability, balance, and core than you previously did—all three of which can increase your overall athleticism and ward of future injuries. And even if your injury has you totally locked out of physical activity, Cheadle recommends becoming a student of your sport or activity by reading books, watching instructional videos or entertaining documentaries, and practicing mental strength exercises.

And last but not the least, I am seeing this injury as an opportunity to work more on the core and lower body. I can use this setback as an opportunity to learn about my injury and other future injuries from which I could guard myself. I can also use this time to do more research on how to run faster and hiking and backpacking UL.

I may not be able to run for a while, which is not clear how long it will be at this point, although it could be easily six to twelve months, I am determined to shorten it so that I can run a race that would qualify me for the 2016 Boston Marathon, which means that it would be one of the Boston Marathon qualifying races before the registration opens in September 2015.

What happened happened. There’s nothing to cry about. Like they say, if life throws a lemon at you, you just make lemonade out of it. Whether I like or not, life goes on. How to live it is entirely up to me.

photo-6I still went ahead and picked up my bib (#2763) and a t-shirt. I paid for it, so might as well wear it.

How was your training this week? Are you injured? If so, how’s your recovery coming along?

Thanks for reading.


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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

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