W. CAITLIN SMITH

DOULA, PILATES, YOGA, DANCE, ART, TRAIL RUNNING

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fragments

I’ve been avoiding this blog entry, but screw it pessimism is part of life and injuries suck. Yes, you can learn from everything, but give me a chance to vent. I’ve been hobbling around, boring myself with long stints of pool running, and crying way more than I’d like. I deserve a chance to be just how I am in this moment, a tad bit pessimistic. And the reality is we’ve all been there and none of us go, “gee I’m so glad to be injured right now!” Sure we learn to deal and we’re grateful for when we return to the trails. But plain and simple, injuries just stink.

The week before Transrockies, I began to notice tightness in my right hip flexor. After a few days off, things seemed normal and even during the first stage at TRR my hips we’re feeling alright. After crossing the line, I noticed tightness building up and a limp set in. I got a massage, kept my fingers crossed, and tried not to think about it. But, every single time I stood up, my hip hated me. I grew worried. I knew I couldn’t make it another 5 days. I knew I should have never came not being a 110%. I didn’t want to let my partner down. Salomon down. And ultimately myself down. This is the story of my life. Not wanting to let people down. So like a complete idiot, I ran stage 2. I honestly don’t even know how I made it. I’ve never been in that amount of pain. I tied to block it, but I was crying and just trying to make it one step closer to the end. No smiles or laughter, it was just, “get me the fuck to the finish.” I’ve spent a month paying for that decision and who knows how much longer. On day 3, I left TRR with support and encouragement from every one to get better and take good care of myself. Every single time I stepped on to my right foot, it was intense sharp shooting pain. The crutches became essential for a few days. I had muscle spasms at night that woke me up. I couldn’t lift my right leg without using my hands. And the worst part, I couldn’t do what I loved, run, let alone put on a pair of pants.

Slowly things have been improving, but not fast. I still hobble, but less and less. I’ve been putting it off due to cost, but I’m going to go get an MRI. I’ve been working with an amazing physical therapist and he has helped tremendously. I highly recommend Dan if you’re looking for amazing/life changing pt. He has helped release my psoas, get my hips back in alignment, and decrease my discomfort. There is some question of if I tore my labrum, the cartilage around my hip joint. This would explain the sudden bouts of pain that I get when I slip or roll my foot over a rock when walking. This also means surgery and a few months without running. In fact it could mean nothing until 2011. I’ve never spent more than two weeks away from running. I’ve now spent four and it just makes me terribly sad. Running is what I looked forward to every morning. Sure, I’ve found other things in life that I love and appreciate, but running has been a staple.

I told myself that if I wasn’t smiling than I wasn’t running for the right reason any more. I don’t know what happened from last year to this year. Maybe too much pressure. Maybe too much focus. I’ve lost the smile. The enjoyment. I’m not making any decisions at the current moment other than finding ways to smile again. I don’t know if I’m going to continue to be competitive. I don’t know if I want running to be such a big focus. At this point, I don’t know. I do know I need to be smiling and enjoying life, not fighting it and struggling with every step. I’ve pulled out my paint for the first time in a few years; I need to be creative again. To get lost in the moment. To be more intuitive and less caught up in minutes and miles. To go back to the girl who stopped to jump in mud puddles because plain and simple, it was just fun.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts to sort threw. I am not making decisions right this second, but I have no choice but to back off. To go back to the mud puddles. To paint. To be creative. To let running become a piece of my life, but not my focus. To just be me. To write incomplete sentences because I like to. That’s my update.

13 comments:

Bryon said...

Caitlin, Best of luck in finding many ways to smile again. A smiling Caitlin is contagious!

tri-sportsgirl said...

Hey Caitlin. I love it that you own who you are and how you feel. Keep it up. I send you healing energy for a full recovery.
Rachel Cieslewicz

Erika Kikuchi :) said...

ive been in injuryville for about a year now since breaking my ankle at stevens creek 50k...sure, its been an educational year and i did some things i would not have done had i been racing, but i agree, not being able to run SUCKS!!! try to do as much as you can to pamper yourself girl! we've both got many years ahead so dont even think about it...

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

I had a hip flexor problem that plagued me for a few months over a year ago. I had similar symptoms (couldn't lift my leg to pull on my pants! running downhill was excruciating). I did lunge-type stretches (knee on the ground) and would sleep with a tennis ball shoved into the aching spot when it would keep me awake at night. I also did lots of hip work (see http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/get_your_butt_in_gear There's a part 2 as well). After a few weeks, it disappeared. I still have to contend with plenty of injuries, but at least not with the flexors anymore!

Good luck and be kind to yourself. It will pass.:)

Cynthia

Anonymous said...

you have never lost your talent at expression....in so many forms

AV said...

Hey Caitlin:

Long time reader but never commented. Your entry made my day. Let me explain.

I have been living with an ankle injury for 4 weeks now. Its amazing how depressing it is. To not be able to go for a long run on a weekend. To not be able to just run 4 miles on a weekday because it feels like it.

Your post helps amateur runners like me because you do show that even ace runners like you feel the same!

-av

ultrarunnergirl said...

Caitlin,
Great post. I too have been injured for the last 2 months. Hope you're able to heal quickly and without surgery.

Lloyd said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I've been injured on and off most of this year. Had to withdraw from 5 ultras so far, and probably won't do the other two I had planned. Injury sux, plain and simple. And I've decided that acknowledging it sux is part of the healing process. You'll be back, take the time to heal (I thought I was healed, and came back too soon, costing me another 3 months off). All the best.

Buzz said...

AFOG: Another Fucking Opportunity for Growth.

Glad you tell it like it is: injuries suck.

My advice: Get an MRI, get an MRI, get an MRI. Always. One can spend an infinite amount of time and money on PT and the dozens of other modalities, and they will keep telling you "lets try this, lets try that", but if something is broke, it needs to be fixed, period.

Pool running is the ultimate. You feel like a complete moron. Pool running could be the only worthwhile experience out of this, because looking back, it's so absolutely comical. I think instead of movies showing famous marathoners striding across the finish line, breaking the tape, arms outstretched to the sky, look of triumphant joy on their strained faces ... they should show scenes of people pool running instead. Complete with attractive members of the opposite sex watching you with disdain and pity, 80 year old men with artificial limbs swimming circles around you, and the giant chocolate bar you scarf on getting out to stave of the feeling of worthlessness and despair.

lizsong said...

thanks for just being you in this moment. much joy to you friend. :)

meredith said...

Even though it doesn't replace your good health, sending a big hug your way :)

When you are healthy, and IF you still want a road marathon, know that my husband is doing the pacing for the Olympic trial hopefuls at some Texas marathons and we would love to host you and he would love to have you to pace!!

willgotthardt said...

Excellent post...no doubt you'll be back, strong(er)/fast(er) than before. I think for now this blog needs some cat pics.

Will G.

Sara said...

Sorry to hear, Caitlin. Yeah it sucks. Even if there are lots of silver linings blah blah blah, it still just basically sucks to go through. Get that MRI and get healthy. And smiling again - that's where it all came from in the first place.
:) <= A smile for you.