The (running) ghosts of Christmas

Christmas ghostsThe running ghost of Christmas past (2012): Found me running happy and healthy. I spent December doing some of my favorite annual runs: The Celtic Solstice 5-miler, my running groups’ annual jingle bell run with cookie exchange, the Rudolph Relay with my daughter, and my friend Becky’s annual boxing day run and brunch. Running also kept me sane while visiting family in rural Ohio where there’s just not much to do!

The running ghost of Christmas present: Sad to say, I’ll be sitting out running this Christmas. I laid myself off about two weeks ago. I now have MRI results on my hurting proximal hamstring and running is a no go right now (details below). I have missed and will be missing all my favorite December runs, and how exactly I will survive Ohio without my runs, I’m not sure!

The running ghost of Christmas future: I will be healthy come next December and enjoying all those fun runs I am missing this year. More strength work, less speed work, and an immediate shutdown at the first sign of any niggle will get me there. I’m discovering that I miss these fun social runs more than I do races, any day of the week. December running 2014 is a must.

So the details on my injury: I’ve been waiting to talk about it until I had some final word from my MRI and doctor. It looks like I have a  good case of tendonosis in my proximal (high) hamstring, along with a bit of edema in the bone where it attaches in (but NOT a stress fracture, thankfully). The treatment will be a PRP injection (plasma therapy) under guided ultrasound at the beginning of the year, followed by rehab. All told, probably eight to 12 weeks without running. The MRI, incidentally, turned up all kinds of fun things–I also have a sports hernia (google that one for some good reading) and some other minor issues, but since those all remain asymptomatic, my doctor and I are not concerned with them. When you are as old as I am and have been running for as long as I have, MRIs are wont to look a bit like a horror show.

Since running injuries are definitely like going through stages of grief, I can tell you I have passed through them all pretty quickly this time and am at acceptance. Do I miss running terribly? OF COURSE! But will it do me any good to wallow during my layoff? Nope. I’m going to do the best I can to focus on what I CAN do for now, even if that’s not what I WANT to do.

In many ways, this injury has been a big game changer for me. I can say with complete honesty that racing and results will take a very big back seat for me moving forward compared to the simple joys of just logging miles. Type A runner, meet your replacement, Type B runner!

Anyone else have injury put things in perspective for them? What does your December of running look like? 

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  1. says

    i wish you all the best for a speedy recovery. i’m so impressed by your attitude and i agree 100% – it does no good to wallow (but it’s so tempting). i had to abruptly halt my running 2 weeks ago and i’m trying not to wallow, so thank you, this post puts it all in perspective :)
    kristy recently posted..New Year, New Look!My Profile

  2. says

    Sorry to hear the news, but glad you’re on a path to getting things sorted out. Also? No stress fracture = win.

    Ever read Anatomy for Runners, by Jay Dicharry? I’m not suggesting it as a solution to your current problem (sounds like you have that under control), but rather as a very interesting read – both philosophically and technically – about the importance of building a strong body, learning to move well, and doing drills for runners. Might be a good one to occupy your time during the rest phase. :)
    Holly @ Run With Holly recently posted..Culture Jolts (“Jolt” is less than “Shock”, right?)My Profile

  3. Stephanie says

    Hang in there. I’ve had my fair share of injuries and it’s very challenging at the time. My husband and 3 boys (12,9,6) did a wet 6k run/walk through my neighborhood while we look at the Christmas lights. It was loads of fun but not a serious run just for fun. It was called the tacky light run.
    Good luck.

  4. says

    I was thinking of you on my run this morning. At least my problems this year were not running injuries like yours. But I am already on my way back and so will you be soon. My December will be regular runs (6 per week) building back to distance slowly. It’s summer here and the mornings are beautiful for running!
    Johann recently posted..Green WonderlandMy Profile

  5. says

    I like your approach and attitude with this, there is something to be said for being a “smart runner” and knowing how to make wise choices when faced with challenges regarding injuries. I also think, and have thought it for a while now, that the fun runs are truly more important than the serious racing in the grand scheme of things. Sure the serious races are what we sometimes need to make us feel accomplished and the challenge they give us is very needed for a runner’s psyche, but becoming the Type B runner, as you put it, leads to more of a peaceful running state. When I took several months off after my marathon and just ran “for fun” rather than in seriousness, I realized how enjoyable that truly is and I found the beauty in my body’s ability to be the age I am and have the ability to run. Most people I know can’t do it at all and I embrace the ability to do so now … it’s truly a blessing :) Rejuvenate and heal and I know you’ll be back on the roads very soon!
    Christina recently posted..Good week of running and ginger teaMy Profile

  6. says

    Amanda – Sorry to hear about your injury(ies), I was there last summer, so I understand the stages of grief and how it feels to not be running. I don’t know if I would dare to have an MRI of my legs/hips/shoulders – I have a feeling the pictures might be pretty nasty and the docs would be sharpening their scalpels and PT would have their torture table ready for overuse.

    Seriously, do what you can, enjoy the downtime (I know I am being facetious), get stronger, so that when you do come back you will really be ready. BTW one a type “A” runner always a Type “A” runner, we may try to fool ourselves, but we eventually revert back and take off the sheep’s wool to expose the wolf within ;-). Just sayin.
    Harold L. Shaw recently posted..Winter Trail Run at UMA – RunLog 12-17-13My Profile

  7. says

    So sorry about your injury, but I do feel it puts things into perspective. After battling injuries for the last couple of years, I have learned to just run slower and enjoy the run, rather than push my body too far. 2014 is marathon year for me, so I plan to just enjoy the run and finally finish my long awaited marathon. Just running, no pressure of time.
    Toni recently posted..An “Almost” Winter ColdMy Profile

  8. says

    Thanks for the update. Love the format of running ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Hang in there this year, and I know you’ll be back for all of your favorite holiday running traditions next year. Maybe you can catch up your reading list while you’re in Ohio. Unplug and curl up with an old-fashioned book and a cup of hot cocoa. Sounds pretty heavenly to me!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Walking in a Winter Wonderland: Ideas for Winter PlayMy Profile

  9. Wendy says

    As I get older, I feel that every run is a gift! I hope you heal and rehab quickly. Type A runner becomes Type A crosstrainer! What activities are you allowed to do to maintain some kind of fitness?

  10. says

    awww holy heck I’m so sorry!!!! I am amazed you’ve gone through the stages so well already, though I admit to hitting acceptance quickly…but then losing patience and going through all the emotions again :) I have a feeling by Spring you are going to be kicking butt on the bike or swimming or something else
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Eat well to increase profitsMy Profile

  11. says

    First – and very importantly! – you are not old!!!
    Second – welcome to my running world. I had to make the switch at a much earlier age because of so many injuries that threatened to take away running forever. I didn’t want that and made the choice to continue to be a runner just not a racer anymore. Sometimes it is hard to read about everyone racing and know that will not be me but then I remember that I just love running!
    You can make the switch and run to run because it is what you love!!
    Kim recently posted..Happiness is Contagious!!!My Profile

  12. says

    I am currently dealing with an IT band issue and felt I could have written your post. What I am missing most right now are all the crazy, themed and unthemed fun runs with friends. I like how you are already looking ahead to December of next year. I need to start doing that more and think less about all that I am missing this year.
    Shannon recently posted..This person is under reorganizationMy Profile

  13. Terzah says

    Best of luck with healing! I know you’ll do it right and be back to running as soon as it’s possible. Patience and acceptance definitely help.

  14. says

    An injury “should” put things in perspective as far as racing and training, but that is not always the case. My most recent injury gave me opportunity to ponder where I was and where I really wanted to be. I’ll be running in a variety of locations throughout December, which is always exciting.
    Jamoosh recently posted..Your Friday Grab BagMy Profile

  15. says

    The time will pass sooner than you think. And you’ll be back logging miles again but with more appreciation. Not being able to do something you love makes you enjoy it so much more once you can finally do it again.
    Char recently posted..Love/HateMy Profile

  16. says

    I absolutely loved how you ended this post! I decided many moons ago to do things that will allow me to exercise long term. I started to feel things & I knew way back then that it was not worth getting injured over.. I am still that way today – I don’t do challenges for sure unless it speaks to me & I know it is something right for me. :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Giveaway winner, Bananas & Balls!My Profile

  17. says

    My last injury put running and my health in a totally new perspective. No kidding. It was exactly like you said. I stopped wallowing relatively quick and I totally focused on what I could do which was strength training with doc supervision. Don’t get me wrong. There were a few frustrating moments but that was all they were. Moments.

    I haven’t been running as long as you so maybe it’s wisdom with age :)
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..14 in 2014My Profile

  18. says

    I’m so sorry about your injury and I hope that you recover quickly! I love your positive outlook on it!

    I missed Celtic Solstice this year too (not due to an injury, but due to a babysitter cancellation) and hope to make it next year. It would have been my first one. I’ve heard so many great things about that race!
    Lauren recently posted..Helly & Salt Present the Streak Week 3 Recap!My Profile

  19. bob says

    I keep waiting for an injury as an excuse to be my naturally sedentary, gluttonous self. Still not injured. I only keep running for the pointless PRs. Would like to go under 20 min. in the 5k before the year is out. I’m starting to dream about running now, so I guess I’m pretty into it.

  20. says

    December is always a weird time for running for me. The last few years I have been in Marathon recovery during Dec and this year is no different than that. But the last 2 years I really felt burned out during that time. This year I am definitely tired and enjoying “off season” but still have more motivation than normal. You are going to have a huge year in 2014. This time off has got to be hard, no doubt but you have a great outlook on it all. And if there is one thing I have learned this year… it’s that a positive attitude and determination can help get you anywhere you want to be.
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..What’s Next (Version 2.0)My Profile

  21. says

    i will actually be writing a post on just this thing in a few days….my surgery completely changed my perspective. i definitely still have speed to conquer, but a BIG believer in being in the moment and focusing on the joy of running and not the PRESSURE to be a certain type of runner. December is building my base. Hoping all goes well with the rehab!!
    elizabeth recently posted..Lots of Tacky SweatersMy Profile

  22. says

    Having been on the DL list a very long time, I firmly believe you are entitled to days that you are just pissed… deserve time with your emotions and them you. But you always manage to get yourself picked up well and come back with a strong – and smart – head and no doubt you will again, too. I wish you lived closer so we could do lots of MAF miles together….hey, maybe some trail ultras are in your future :). Hang in there, girl! Merry Christmas and we’ll be in contact lots in 2014, I’m sure!
    Jill recently posted..How to Race CIM in 38 StepsMy Profile