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{Guest Post} How an Injury Rejevenated my Love of Tri-ing

Posted Jun 30 2011 9:18am
Hello readers! My name is Katie (or KK, but only Chloe can call me that), and I’m Chloe’s best friend. I live up in Boston, MA. We’ve known one another since freshman year of high school, and have been best friends since senior year of high school. She’s seen me through some pretty tough and exciting parts of my life — including training for my first triathlon — and we’ve definitely grown closer as friends through our shared love of the sport.
However, one of the “dark sides” of triathlons that Chloe mentioned in her post last week are the injuries that crop up seemingly out of nowhere. And that is what I will be writing to you all today: my first overuse injury.

It happened when I was running a quick errand during my lunch break at work. This weird, sharp pain on the edge of my right foot, right as I was leaving the store. It was so sharp, it nearly took my breath away, so I slowly limped back to my office and tuckered in to my work, and quickly forgot about it. That night, I decided a run might help sort this pain out; maybe it was a muscle cramp that needed to be worked out. The pain was still there, throughout the whole run. My fiance, Sam, kept telling me not to favor the foot – “it’ll make it weaker.” So I tried to suck it up and keep going. However, as I was sprinting the last 400 yards of the run, I quickly realized that this was a problem that was not going away by “pushing through it.”

I made an appointment with a podiatrist for the next available appointment, and a week later – a week spent spinning and elliptacaling, with varying degrees of pain – the doctor took a look at my XRay’s and said “Well, Katie, you have a stress injury. No running, only low-impact sports, until the pain is completely gone. Once it’s gone, start slowly working running back into your workout routine.”
A stress injury – which is a pre-cursor to a stress fracture – is a pretty loud warning sign that I had been going out too hard, too fast, for too long.
I had been training for the 2011 Bay to Breakers Race: a 12K race through San Francisco, and I was so excited about it. It was the only race I was going to do this year (I overtrained last year, and decided to give myself a mental and somewhat of a physical break this year), and I wanted to do it right. My training plan was clearly too agressive and I paid for it.
As I just mentioned above, I was recovering from a really aggressive 2010 race season (at least for me). I hired a personal trainer who specialized in training triathletes in March 2010, and just went full tilt for five months. It was a great escape for me, as my job situation at the time was stressful, but after my last race of the season (where I completely crushed my 2009 race time) I realized that the sport of triathlon had lost the shine of excitement, fun and personal challenge. It had become, to me, a drag, a time consuming sport that took time away from sleeping, reading and simply relaxing. I felt I had no balance in my life. All I had been doing for five months was training, training, and more training. I needed a break.
But when the doctor told me I couldn’t run anymore, I felt the wind woosh out of my body like I had been sucker punched. I thought I couldn’t handle the training, the running, the exercise. But I realized that, as I was walking home from work that night and watching runners out on the roads in the beautiful spring weather, that I love running. I love the exhilaration of finishing a run on a hot summers night. I love rolling into my parking lot after a good bike ride with friends. I love getting up at 5am and going swimming with my closest friends in Walden Pond (which is what I am doing right now, as Chloe is posting this). Triathlon is a sport that can be exhausting, aggravating, injurious, and yes — time consuming. But it is a sport that has worked its way into my soul, into the very essence of my being, and even though I needed six months and a stress injury to realize that, I know that I will always love the sport of Triathlon.

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