Another Comeback

from Amy and Jesse

So, I’m coming off the injury train. Again. Eight weeks after my foot healed, I woke up with bad adductor pain that took me off the roads for three more. As to be expected, I’m kind of sad about it. That’s probably an understatement. More and more, I’m thinking there needs to be a new category in the DSM-5: Major Depressive Episode Due to a Running Injury. For a few weeks (although I was getting better each week like last time), I think I met the criteria. Depressed mood most of the day? Check. Feelings of worthlessness? Check, Insomnia? Check that one too. Add in a stressful month of evaluations at work, and it’s been quite the challenge for me to function normally.

My mental state is probably worse because this was my second setback in a few months, and I was just getting back into great shape when it happened. With each successive injury, the motivation to get treatment, cross-train, and draft a return-to-running plan seems to wane (I still do these things, because you don’t actually need motivation to get them done, but it’s with more lethargy and sadness). The ability to deal with work stress while simultaneously promote body healing seems like a more insurmountable challenge. The optimism is harder to find. But, that hasn’t stopped me from trying. As I reflect on the past month, I’m ashamed by my inability to celebrate the positive experiences due to the cloud of injury. In February alone, I:

a) Passed my licensing exam! I am now a licensed psychologist, which took thousands of hours of hard work to achieve.
b) Took a spa vacation with my mom in Scottsdale. Three days of massages, facials, cold-pressed juice, and walks in the sunshine was the perfect break after my exam, work, and injury stresses.
c) Hosted our favorite Canadian triathlete (Nathan Killam!) for his fifth consecutive Tucson training camp!
d) Hiked Mount Lemmon with Jesse and Addy.
e) Supported Jesse in his opening race of the season, as well as several of my other Tucson friends.

hiking Camelback with mom

Jesse V sharing the podium with an Olympian

Not bad for a “bad” month, right? While I’m not generally a fan of downward comparison, it could definitely be worse for me.

My doctoral dissertation partially focused on self-efficacy, which refers to a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific situations. As you can imagine, it’s pretty important when you want to achieve something. I’m working to keep mine high when it comes to running healthy. I’ve had several years of uninterrupted, injury-free running. Although it’s tempting to think I’m doomed after suffering two injuries close together, I can’t let those thoughts simmer. Instead, I focus on what I want, and what I believe is possible…the ability to train at the level I’d like and qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

This isn’t to say I’m blindly ignoring my weaknesses. I’ve started a formal, twice a week strength training class for runners because doing it on my own didn’t make me strong enough. I’m continuing to get ART weekly, and looking into form and postural corrections to better align my body. Best of all, I’ve submitted my request to work part time next year. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve never had an injury during the summer, despite using those free months to train harder than ever. Eliminating stress makes it much easier for my body to function optimally, and working less during the school year will certainly help. I am very lucky (and also worked my ass off in grad school) to be in this position, and it’s time to take advantage.

I guess that’s my long winded way of saying I’ve-been-kind-of-depressed-but-things-are-looking-up and-I’m-more-determined-than-ever. Now it’s time to pick up some Rbars and get on that elliptical!

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