There Are No Problems, Only Opportunities.

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No news is good news. But, this is a blog. I need news to write; be it good or bad.

The good news: No stress fracture.

The bad news: No running.

In other news: Meet my new friend, Sexy Boot. We’ve decided to start going on adventures together around the grand city of Portland. He’s not the fastest means of transportation, and we get some strange looks, but overall, it’s looking like it will be a mutually beneficial (and hopefully short-lived) friendship.

Remember my mention of shin pain in my last post? Two weeks prior April’s marathon, I started getting twinges similar to shin splints in my right leg. The pain worsened, but I still ran my marathon on it. Even when the pain kicked in at mile 2. I gave it a couple weeks post-race to see if it would get any better. It started aching all the time. If I tried walking around on it too much, it would turn into a shooting, sharp pain in the lower part of my shin. The thought of running would make me cringe. I’m not a big fan of doctors. I’m not at all against them; it just takes a lot to necessitate going in. The lack of improvement after two weeks and my complete inability to run was reason enough.

A trip to the orthopedist, an x-ray, and an MRI later and I learned what ailed me: torn tendons in the lower portion of my right tibia. Overuse injury. The Remedy = No running + Sexy Boot + Physical Therapy.

Sometimes, it takes being deprived of something to make you truly appreciate it. Running is a gift. A privilege. I felt that I’d always valued this ability. But, to be suddenly told that I’m not allowed to run, not allowed to partake in an activity that brings me happiness, mental clarity, and most of all, sanity? The world better watch out. It gave me an entirely new perspective. I’ve only been a real runner for 20 months, but it has become such a defining feature of myself. “Hello, I’m Jessica. I’m a runner, an amateur photographer and a lover of teeth.” To have to add a caveat to the first on that list was painful (pun intended.)

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Yes, my house has stayed incredibly clean. I’ve found myself getting anxious and irritable when Sunday rolls around and I’m not heading out on the trails for a long run. I see runners on the road and find myself thinking murderous thoughts that would surely get me in trouble if I verbalized them. Those runners didn’t deserve my negative attitude.  I was (am) surely just jealous. Side effects of not running: mood swings, irritability, insomnia, guilt, crying, irrational behavior, excessive caloric intake to expenditure ratio…

A reality check was needed. I’ve found new activities to occupy my time. Sexy Boot and I have gone on some adventures. We hiked Munra Point in the Columbia River Gorge. This is a view at the top of the hike, facing west.

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It was a beautiful and steep climb that was absolutely enjoyed. The day was warm and none too windy. The hike was 7.5 miles round trip. The only downside of the hike was that the first portion of it, you walk pretty much parallel to the freeway. Once you pass Moffet Creek though, you begin steadily climbing and leaving the road noise behind.

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This is facing south, looking down Tanner Valley. I was perched rather precariously to even get this photo.

In addition to hiking (slowly, I might add), I was given the okay to start biking. This is an activity that Sexy Boot and I are not together for. I’ve been cycling over 100 miles a week to help in my pursuit of the mental clarity that running brings me. I’m also trying to take all of this extra time I have and start learning to properly cross train and strength train. My sister’s wedding is less than 3 months away. As her maid of honor, I can’t be the dumpy looking one of the group…right?!

Sexy Boot is not getting me down. My mantra right now is the title of this post, and comes from one of my dental hygiene professors. She said this to us at the beginning of our program, “There are no such thing as problems, only opportunities.” That is how I’m viewing this setback. It is an opportunity for me to discover new things, new ways to stay fit. It is an opportunity for me to focus on improving my overall body strength, work with physical therapists so as to prevent myself from injury like this in the future. I had three half marathons scheduled for the months of May and June. It has taken a lot of willpower and a humbled attitude to have stepped down from them.

I want to be a runner until the day I die. If that means taking time off to heal now so I can be stronger in the future, then I am ready for it. It is surely a test of my mental toughness, as I have a hard time even considering myself a runner right now. Regardless, this setback is going to set me up for an even stronger comeback. Be ready for it.

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19 thoughts on “There Are No Problems, Only Opportunities.

  1. Sorry that you are injured! I had to take some time off from running a couple years ago and I felt like I was just teetering on the edge of sanity the whole time. I am glad you’ve found other activities to keep you active and somewhat sane. The pictures from your hike are absolutely beautiful! Good luck and wishing you a speedy recovery!

    • Thank you! I’m going to need all the luck I can get. Biking isn’t doing it for me.
      That hike was beautiful! I try not to take for granted how close some of these amazing places are.

  2. I know that feeling too when I was recovering from surgery. It took 6 weeks and I was not easy to live with! Your hiking trail is incredible. Take care and get well 🙂

  3. I totally understand how you feel. Plantar Fasciitis kept me from running for awhile and I found myself realizing what a privilege it is to run! Not that I didn’t appreciate it before but my perspective once I healed and have been able to go longer distances is different.

    Also, I am also a fairly new runner! I just hit my year mark in March. 🙂

    • I’ve never had plantar fasciitis, but have heard how painful it is! I’m glad though that you had the chance to reflect and change perspective. Even if it was for a terrible reason.

      Congrats on the one year mark! That’s fantastic. Keep up the great work!

    • Oh man. There is no line to draw. It is like a friend of mine, who used to play football, said to me, “There’s a difference between playing hurt and playing injured.” You can play (or in this case, run) hurt, and work through the pain. Playing injured though, leads to greater problems. This injury has really taught me to listen to my body and learn when to just stop.
      So, do just that. Listen to your body. Don’t fear injury. If you’re smart about it, you don’t even need to worry 🙂

  4. Those pictures are gorgeous! What a breath-taking view. I love the flower shot especially.

    I’m just getting over a month-long break from running due to injury myself, and I had the same realization as you – that being deprived of something to make you truly appreciate it. I didn’t expect to miss running as badly as I did! I hope that you heal quickly and don’t need Sexy Boot for too long. Stay strong!

  5. Hope you feel better asap- have they said how long you’ll be in the boot? When I was rocking my sexy boot the docs kept tacking on weeks which was no fun. Yay for trying out new activities though!

    • I hope my doc doesn’t tack on weeks! That would be slow torture. Right now, I go in the second week of June for a checkup. If all is well, I will only have to wear the boot half days for another 2-4 weeks. That will amount to a total of 6 weeks with the boot. Shudder.

  6. Sorry to hear you are injured, but it is also good to see that you are making the best of it (if/as possible), even though nothing can replace running…
    We’ve all been there, we know what you feel! Good luck!
    Thank you for liking my post.

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