Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Things We Do for Running...

As I was laying in the doctor's chair today about to have my toenail removed I thought about all of the pain and misery that often accompany running.  Any sane person would ask, "why the hell do you do it?"  We all have our own reasons.  For most of us, we enjoy it!  We love it.  Can't live without it.  It makes us feel great.  It boosts our self esteem.  The list goes on.  But look at all of the crap we deal with.  You think we'd give up but we don't.  We do EVERYTHING humanly possible to recover from ailment X or Y and then start running again immediately.

Removal of the infected toenail.  Sexy.

In my short running life of almost 7 years I have dealt with:
  • A Tibial Stress Fracture
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • A Metatarsal Stress Fracture
  • An infected toenail
  • A sprained ankle
  • Knee pain
  • Tendinitis
  • Bloody (disgusting) blisters
  • Cuts and bruises on my knees, arms and hip from falling while running... and I have hideous scars to prove it.

There you have it.  9 different issues in only 7 years of running.  Some are more serious than others but regardless, none of the above are pleasant and yet all I want to do is run!  Are we runners all sadomasochists? 

Granted, not all of us deal with injuries.  Angela is the prime example -- she hasn't had an injury since she was a Cross Country runner in college (which was quite a few years ago).  For someone like her it makes sense that she'd never want to stop running.  But what about people like me?  Why do we do this to ourselves?

I guess the pleasure is well worth the pain. 

What injuries have you dealt with? 
Have you ever considered giving up the sport?


  1. Great post! This whole post is right on. I think all of us have had some injuries over the years, some more than others. My guess if that I have had less injuries than the average person. I've been running off and on for 18 years, here are the main injuries I can think of:
    shin splints - high school
    sprained ankle (6 times - basketball, soccer(2), running(3))
    lost toenails - 2010
    knee pain - 2010 (and likely many other times it's happened)
    IT band syndrome - 2011
    runners knee - 2011

  2. Ah, running injuries, let me count the ways...

    Achilles tendinitis
    Plantar fasciitis
    torn meniscus (actually not caused by running but made worse by not stopping running)
    shin splints
    sciatica/piriformis syndrome

    I can probably match you scar for scar, being klutzy and all (and being a, um, few years older and having run a few years longer.
    No broken bones or stress fractures fortunately, but right now dealing with hip and back issues that can at least partially be blamed on training for those 35 marathons.

    And yet, I still run. Not as much and not as far, but I still love (need) it.

  3. I think I need to have a toe nail removed and I'm terrified, did it hurt?

  4. yes, isn't it a bit ironic? We run for our health and mental well-being, but often times end up injured and having these epic internal battles (fight on? rest day? oh no, but I'm supposed to be doing speedwork or X miles today.... arggghhh).
    Sometimes it just helps to have a laugh about it all. this is not exactly about injuries, or running specifically, but I think you might find a little of yourself in this clip (I'm Training for an Ironman) -
    so have a laugh, be patient and enjoy the ride!

  5. I just started running last year when I weny from almost couch to army 10 miler in about 7 months. About a month into my training I had really swollen knee caps (runners knee) because I wasn't training smart. I was clueless about shoes, rest days, and the 10% mileage rule. I never did give up because I had to prove to myself that I was capable of doing it...and I did. I then set a goal to do a half marathon this year. I had my fair share of knee issues that a little rest and ice easily solved...and then two weeks before my half I started having upper IT band issues...I bought a foam roller and rolled until I had tears almost coming out of my eyes. I took an extra day off and reallllly tapered my last week before the race. I ran my first half marathon beating both my states and secret goal with zero IT band issues. I don't think I'll ever give up running...the pain only makes us stronger and more aware of what out bodies are capable of.

  6. I currently am sidelined with a femoral shaft stress fracture... and I'm reading the same book as you!!


    Got that off my chest.

    Cuboid stress fracture, hip stress fracture.

    Nope, will never give it up. Will just keep trying to find ways to train smarter.

  8. In 2006 I got a mild case of shin splints but I didn't run for a week and then they went away.

    Now, 5 years later, I have been battling them again and they refuse to go away. I did not run for 2 weeks straight, I have tried ice, biofreeze...I know have compression leg sleeves that seem to help but I'm still not 100%. But I get so cranky when I don't run so no, I can't see myself ever giving up the sport!

  9. YOWCH!!!! Having toenails fall off is one thing, but having to have it removed sounds MUCH less awesome.

    I've been lucky so far. Nothing broken. Just some overuse injuries: Tendinitis of the foot (which I REALLY thought was going to be a metatarsal stress fracture when I went in to see the doc), IT band, and prepatellar bursitis.

  10. Quite a list of injuries there, my oh my! How was Angela's race and how's your step father? Body is still feeling broken for me today, I think that it's time to maybe slow down a bit to work out those unstable areas caused from running a million miles like a maniac.

  11. i have always stated that runners are crazy, we just are!

    I have had major freaking ITB issues and a dislocated knee, but truly over 9 years that is really the worst of it

  12. You kept it together enough to take a PHOTO while having said toenail removed? That's some grit!

    I've had IT band issues, lost a toenail, bloody blisters, and am currently dealing with some nagging hip pain... but so far no breaks or any "serious" issues.

    I considered quitting once. I managed to skip running for about two months. Then I signed up for a marathon. (That temporary "quitting" was more than five years ago). ;)

  13. I have yet to get any major injury (knock on wood) but I doubt it will stop me from running if i do! Running is so amazing and it literally keeps me sane! I don't know what I would do without it.

  14. I was always VERY injury prone until I started running based on my heart rate (instead of pace) and also only run 3-4 days a week (instead of 5-6). I now (knock on wood) haven't had an injury in ages (and I run faster now too). And I am now convinced that we runners aren't sadomasochists- we just need to learn how to listen to our bodies! Its not a one-size-fits-all sport.

  15. Omg... okay. Here I go:

    -heel pain (went to podiatrist and it just kind of went away after a while)
    -shin splints
    -lateral knee pain
    -many, many lost toenails!

    Okay! That's it I think! It's so true though- why do we do this to ourselves?
    Um, I miss you. Is that weird? I'm over it.

  16. NO way! Never give up.

    - Forever black toe nails, only problematic when you are a bridesmaid and the bride wants light colored toe polish.
    - Fractured anke
    - Knee surgery - lateral release
    - jacked up back (currently fighting this with a Half looming in 11 days)
    - Pinched shoulder nerve. Running with a sling is totally cool.

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