Categorized | Injuries, Marathon, Running

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The Unspoken Rules of Being a Badass: A Runner's Guide

Run While Injured or Wait And Heal?

Beth McCurdy

Injured

I remember a time not so long ago when I didn’t get injured from running. Even though I have never been a super fast runner, I have been able to run extreme distances without any problems; I guess I thought that I was gifted in that respect.

But, here I am 41 years old, done countless races including a 100 mile road run in Key West on asphalt and concrete, and had no problems as a result except for a few (or so) lost toenails. But a few months ago, I bought the wrong shoes. Who would have thought that buying the wrong shoes would cause so many problems-but it did and now I’m struggling.

After I read “Born to Run”, I thought, wow, I would love to run effortlessly with little on my feet. So, I went for a run on the beach without any shoes and felt what it’s supposed to feel like. It felt good. But, could I run a marathon barefoot like Matt Jenkins on the pavement day after day? I’m not sure.

But the day that my injury took a turn for the worse was when I ran with barefoot Matt in the Tupelo Marathon. I really wished I was him on that day. Running barefeet and feeling the Earth with every step looked so appealing. But, instead I was running with a bad foot and feeling pain with every step. I could have DNF’d the marathon and in fact, should have. It’s not like I really cared about the race or my time. But, something kept me running. I don’t know what it was but something kept me running.

Was it the shoes, my stubborness that wouldn’t let me slow down, or my age that caused this injury? Or is 5 years too long to go without an injury. Was I due? These are all questions that I want answered. But regardless, the reality is that I have a problem that is keeping me from doing what I love to do.

For now, I can’t run the way I used to run. My foot injury is a distraction from what I love. Unless you are a runner or athlete, you cannot truly understand how devasting this can be to a person.

My passion is running outside short and long distances. Right now, I’m lucky if I can run short. Meanwhile, I need to figure out what the lesson is that I am supposed to be learning as a result of this injury. Maybe I am a fool for thinking that I am indestructable. Maybe I care too much about running. Maybe I need to think about other things in my life right now besides when I’m going to run my next ultra. Maybe I need to be grateful that even with this nagging injury, I am still a runner and am blessed to be able to do what I love.

Finishing Tupelo on my bad wheel

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This post was written by:

- who has written 7 posts on Run It Fast®.

Beth has run over 70 marathons and ultras including three 100 milers. She blogs about cooking and recipes for runners at Beth Eats 2 Run

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3 Responses to “Run While Injured or Wait And Heal?”

  1. John says:

    Beth, I think you are struggling with something that all athletes eventually face. Age. Your body, like any finely tuned machine can and will, eventually, break down. The trick is learning how to become more in tune with your pain and recognize it as what it is. A warning signal.

    As a lifelong athlete, I have always been of the mindset that you fight through the pain. Use it as a motivator, something to not give in to. After 2 hip surguries, a back operaton and other foot problems I have finally learned to slow down. Listen to my body, (and reluctantly my doctor) and give myself the time and attention to heal properly so that I don’t lose anymore time outside than I have to.

    Its obvious that you are an amazing athele, that has trained her mind and body to work through pain that most people will not ever experience. Thing is, it might be time to listen and heal. Then get back to that which you love. Good luck! And Godspeed.

    • Beth says:

      Thanks John for your input and I think you are totally right. I do struggle with the fact that I am getting older and need to have a different mindset than what I have had in the past. Thanks so much.

  2. Meshari says:

    So it’s nice to learn from ur experience …

    and JOHN he’s totally right …

    I’m still going to be a runner .. I hope get advice from u BETH

    and god blessed u .

    if u have email or face book account u can help us and thanx a lot

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