Athletes, Running
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Injury Reminds Me to Acknowledge Small Wins

I run to experience the feeling of free movement through the unknown with full confidence of my capabilities, knowledge, and strength. Mostly though, I run because I can. 

Then it happened, I became injured. Injury seems rampant in running no matter your skill level, but I have always felt fortunate that it didn’t happen to me. Then reality hit. You can not put in the mileage and intensity  I have been doing in  the old shoes I have been wearing without getting some kind of running-related injury. On top of that my sleep and water intake had been declining while coffee consumption attempted to compensate.


Since last November I have been nursing an injured tendon in my foot (posterior tibial tendon). At first I was impatient with recovery, taking a few days off to no avail. After limping around in pain one afternoon I made the call to the orthopedic doc to see what I was really dealing with. Fearing a stress fracture or a torn ligament I was relieved to find out it was only a case of tendinitis that progressed to the -osis phase. 

I started my recovery-program by first ceremoniously handing over my  entry to The North Face Challenge half-marathon to elite ultra-runner and Team CLIF BAR athlete, Dakota Jones himself. Given he would podium the day before  in the fifty mile he hardly needed an entry to jog the half  the following day. But it felt quite good to say “Oh Dakota needed my entry so I couldn’t run” instead of admitting injury. Like I said, it was ceremonious.

After coming to terms that I would miss out on all the fun at  TNFC and  also the Way Too Cool 50k I settled into serious recovery mode. I took advantage of all resources at my disposal just like any athlete would.  My employer, CLIF , takes care if its people because while we are not the professional athletes CLIF sponsors we are the professionals they depend on for success. Needless to say they make resources for taking care of yourself readily available.

The healing process has been slow or at least slower than I would like. Recognizing small wins has been critical in pacing my expectations. Twice weekly physical therapy, ankle wraps, new road shoes, new trail shoes, orthotics, and acupuncture have been the therapeutic methods I have had to prioritize time to do. Given my full-time job is NOT being an athlete, just getting these appointments and activities into my day is small win number one.


Since acknowledging the power of small wins I have been steadily racking them up over the course of recovering from the bum tendon in my ankle. Mobility improvements? Win! Two mile run and no pain? Win. Taping and new footwear facilitating greater mileage?  and cautiously run the Bidwell Classic Half-Marathon ?Win! And so on…

It’s now spring and my mileage isn’t exactly wear I would like it be and not everything has been a win. In fact, there have been setbacks, but by focusing on the small wins and being grateful for the running I get do I gain positivity that propels me forward.

Running offers so many lessons for life. Looking back I have been here before  with a premature baby. Running had prepared me to cope with this kind of trauma in life. This injury is not a traumatic event or crisis. It is however, a reminder that I have the capability to meet challenge and struggle by making the choice to smile and celebrate small wins that overall amount to so much more.






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