Wednesday, February 16, 2011

If I Knew Then...

Note:  I originally posted this hours ago but then took it off, posted it again, took it off, posted again and then finally took it off.  I guess I just felt silly, dramatic and vulnerable in a way.  Sharing something about my hurt hamstring, something so important to me but something that probably seems so small to others, made me feel embarrassed or protective over my feelings.  But then my friend Jenn, from Running Sane e-mailed and asked me about it and she really seemed to understand.  I figure, if the post resonated with her then I'm sure there are others out there that will be able to relate too.  I guess part of a good blog is writing raw and being real...saying the things from my heart and not just the things that will make the masses happy.  At least that is what I want my blog to be.  So, here's my post back with a few things taken out.  This is important to me.  

If I knew then what I know now....

I would be back on the day I tripped in the forest at mile 9.  The moment that that I felt myself falling, 
and landing in splits,
hearing the pop and rip of my hamstring.  
Tears falling. 

and I would tell myself to

Be Still.
Do Not Fight what is!

If I knew then what I know now...

I wouldn't have waited hours to ice.  
I wouldn't have continued to try to keep running and pushing it too hard on the bike and elliptical for fear of losing all I had worked for.  
I wouldn't have ignored the pain. 
I would have taken it seriously.
Nurturing it with love and care.
My leg.
My means to do something I love so very much.   

And when I saw my 
    in the 
Parking Lot,
I would have let it roll on.
I would have screamed for help from someone else
thinking I was superwoman
sprinting towards it and pushing against it with 
all of my weight...further damaging the part of my hamstring below where it was taped up.

If I knew then what I know now...

I never would have continued to try to run before I was fully healed.  Trying to lift my leg when all it would do is drag along with me.  I never would have tried to wrap it up tight so that I could move in ways that I shouldn't have been moving to begin with.  I would have taken the tears running down my cheeks as a sign that I needed 
To Stop
Be Still

I didn't know then what I know now.  We never do.  This is one of the beautiful parts of life and how we learn and grow wiser with age!  

What I'm glad I do know is this: 
*  I'm thankful for my injury and what I've learned from it.  
*  Injury and difficult experiences can make us come out more determined and stronger than ever
*  Don't ever take your gifts for never know how much of life you have to use them!
*  Find a lesson to take from each moment and experience you go through in life.
*  Life is short.  We never know when the things we love, our health, the things we take for granted can be taken from us.  Make every day count.
*  Dream Big.  Even if your dreams seem small in comparison to others.  Dream big for you! What one person considers small or of little interest, is treasure to someone else.  
* Don't compare yourself to others...Be the best YOU you can be.  

What I'm struggling with today:
*  The lower part of my hamstring (by my knee) is hurting me again.  I'm not quite sure how serious it is but I know I need to learn from the past and STOP. Be Still.  Be Patient.  Nurture.  Heal.  
*  Why is it so hard to do this?  Why is it so hard to give up weeks of speed work and important workouts? Even when I know this is the smart choice.  
*  I'm finally at a place where going out and running 7 minute miles feels good and I'm having fun with hit. Even running sub 7 min miles is feeling good.   
*  I'm scared of losing this...losing my goals, my training, not ever having my leg back 100%.  
* I'm also struggling with why I'm having such a hard time with seems so trivial in comparison to all the many deeper issues in life.  I almost feel bad for feeling so bummed about something like having to take a week or two off of training (maybe longer) when I have so many many....a healthy happy family, very little to worry about!  I'm alive, healthy, happy, able to stay home with my why am I so bummed about this?  I am.  That's my reality.  Even if it does seem silly and pathetic to others.  I need to validate and respect these feelings because I am my most important advocate and caretaker of ME.  

What I'm telling myself now:
*  Be Still
*  Practice Patience
*  Take days off even if it means losing some ground.  
*  Love my hamstring
*  Have a heart of gratitude, love, and happiness...this will go a long way in healing.  
*  Stay focused on my goals and let this make me stronger and more determined.  

1.  We all have lessons in life that we have to learn for ourselves.  We've all had times where we just don't listen to the good advice given by others.  I did this with my hamstring injury.  Not because I didn't think that what they were saying was wise.  I just didn't listen.  I couldn't at the time.  I had to learn for myself.  Can you think of a time in your life that you didn't listen to good advice from others and you had to learn the hard way?  

2. What are some things in your life that were hard, painful, or depressing to go through but that you are thankful for now because of the wisdom and growth you've gained from the experience?  



  1. I"ve got so much going through my head today. I know that we go through things in order to be able to help others go through the same situation. Empathy is not read in a book it is experienced. Growing is hard and just like when we were kids we had growing pains, we still do as adults. The problem is we usually don't learn or understand until after the fact and then we have one of those Aha moments. I don't get tons of advice because I don't ask. I have my own demons that I have to work through.

  2. going through the overwhelming grief when my Dad died changed my life. I never knew I could be so grief-stricken. And, I thought it would go away. When it didn't I ended up on anti-depressants for a year. I hated it. I stopped taking them before the year was up, because it was just numbing me but not really helping. I should have just realized that grief is something you have to go through, rather than around. Now I can see clearly, and I know it's not something you can avoid if you love someone and they pass on.

  3. Yes, Nora, I agree that we go through things sometimes so we can help others with similar things. Ms. Cabo...Sorry to hear about your dad...whenever it was. I think no matter the age we are when we lose our parents, or those we love, it is painful. My dad died when I was very young and it is something I still work through to this day.

  4. Amanda--I'm sorry you're struggling. I know it's something everyone does at one time or another, and that it can make us stronger and more focused, but in the moment of struggle it can be hard to take comfort in that. I wish you peace, my friend, and I commend you on being willing to do what you know is right even if it's not what you want to do.

  5. The choices you made are all too common if you ask me. Don't we all do those things at least once? Heck, more than once (me, guilty). I've probably got 20 years on you and I'm still learning. Keep practicing the last bullets.

  6. Amanda, you are sooo wise to listen to your body and be patient! I'm glad that you have learned so much from your experience, but I am also sorry you are still feeling some pain with the hamstring. If you are patient enough I'm sure great things will come you way! Thank you for sharing your story, I really enjoyed reading this! This is such a great example for other people who are struggling with an injury! :)

  7. Oh, I've been there, done that, said I would not do it again, but did it anyway! Pain is so difficult to predict. I managed to run through ITB issues, pain and swelling of my foot, knee pain for over 1 year when I trained for my first marathon...they all went away without me having to rest. They could have turned into something bad, but they did not. What I am trying to say is that it is so hard to know whether the pain is just transitory and it is going to go with time (my knees, ITB, feet, got stronger with miles), and when it is dangerous (I did manage to break my pelvis running through the pain). In a gist, don't blame yourself, if you can. Injuries are part of the game, you are not going to lose much fitness, and if you do, it will come back quicker! Hang in there!

  8. You are becoming wiser earlier in life than most people. Keep it up and applying common sense (like you do) and that will help you maximize life.

  9. This is a mama talking... take care of that hamstring. This is a former elite athlete talking... TAKE CARE OF THAT HAMSTRING! There is time, Amanda. There is plenty of time to do all that you want to do. You will NOT lose it by taking care of yourself :) It is sooooo hard to trust these words, I know.

    Got my PhD from the College of Hard Knocks ;-) I think we remember best and grow the most from those tough lessons.

    Hard things that forced growth: do you really want to hear all of this? lol My father's death. My shitty home life as a child. Getting cut from teams. Getting injured right before Nationals. Breaking up with my few boyfriends (or, rather, being dumped by). Marrying a man with 6 children and a "challenging" ex situation. Losing pregnancies. But I'd have to say that finding out about my older kids was hands down the hardest, most depressing, most painful, most deeply emotive thing I have ever been through. And as weird as it sounds, I am deeply thankful for all I have learned from every single one of the aforementioned situations. There are more... but I won't monopolize ;-)

  10. Being an injured athlete is TOUGH...I wrote my senior thesis on it.. My Senior year in college I was in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE...muscles everywhere.. I had worked out 6 days a week all summer.. 2 weeks into practice I tore my ACL...done all the muscles in my left legs turned to mush and it has not been the same sense..

    I was peace...why??? Because I could not change it.. all I could do was decide how I would react... and guess what? Because of that knee injury I met my husband :) Everything happens for a reason, even the bad things..

    Hang in there. And WOW to comfortable 7 minute miles..

  11. I think this post resonates with anyone who has ever been injured. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20. When you're in the midst of everything, it's difficult to distinguish between pushing yourself to the limit and pushing yourself too hard.

    In the aftermath of everything, you just have to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. It doesn't always feel like forward motion, but you have to keep moving just the same.

    A very well written post. *hugs*

  12. I'm glad you re-posted this...again. I actually wondered about this earlier today too. You are awesome and I totally understand. Injury is my number one fear and I'm new to running so everything I have worked for (nothing compared to others) would be ruined so easily and I would have to start from scratch....and would I if I had a major set back? I'm glad to hear your words...take it easy and good luck!

  13. I have to come back to this tomorrow as it's almost midnight and I'm way tired but wanted to say hi, I did read this, and have more to write. Hang in there girl...

  14. I am not in a place to comment with personal experience, but I love this post and what themes it represents at it's core. Your writing style is just lovely.

  15. Hey sweetie. I haven't blogged for 10 days because I too am injured. It's not major, but I'm having a hard time remembering to take it slow, not to push through pain. Your blog has reminded me to do so.

    Running means so much to you, and running well means so much to you, but take your time. Take your time healing. And then take your time coming back. And please, please, please let yourself off the time hook. You're no longer dependent on your speed for your scholarship. You're an inspiring mother, wife, journaler, blogger and runner - when you get back on the road, and it's when, not if, just let yourself off the hook.

    And as for "Don't compare yourself to others...Be the best YOU you can be" - that is MY mantra of the year. Thank you for reminding me of it.

    This is the first time I've ever not really agonised when I've been injured because I've taken it as something that's done, and something that I'm dealing with, and now I'm using my time to do things I couldn't otherwise do. Go to the cinema? Read a book? Running will still be there when you get back.

  16. Patience is so very hard. I must say though it does get easier with acceptance. Accept where you are at. Accept that time will be needed. Accept that you will lose some of that hard-won fitness but know that it will return when your leg is strong again.

  17. I love your statement "I need to validate and respect these feelings because I am my most important advocate and caretaker of ME" Profound.

    Injuries suck no matter how many blessings you have:) Not being able to do something you love is just plain tough. I understand all of your feelings:) The learning for yourself is just SO true.....

    Wisdom and growth, I got very unexpectedly knocked up at 22, my sister died....I've got an awesome almost 13 year old daughter and my other sisters are my best friends....Lots of lessons learned and Very thankful:)

  18. This was a very good post for me. As someone who is training for a marathon and has pulled my hamstring, I can relate. Thanks for deciding to keep it posted!

  19. Excellent post Amanda. Thank you for sharing what you did. I hope you give yourself adequate time to heal. I think everyone struggles with that in some form or another, whether it's an injury or even a broken heart. Take time to heal so you can be better the next time.

  20. I love this post. I just broke my toe on Monday and have been ordered not to run for 3 weeks. I am 4.5 weeks in to my spring marathon training. I feel the strongest I have felt (in my running) since my son was born almost 2 years ago. I am crushed and trying to deal with healing. Thanks for your great thoughts and words.

  21. Amanda- It's scary, not knowing how much is too much when you are rehabbing.
    You LOVE running and I will be thinking about you today. Sending up some prayers for healing.

  22. It was a very excellent post. You're speaking to a group that understands all to well about how important running is in life. An injury is devastating and even though everything else is life might be great, running is the thing that makes us who we are and when the potential for that might be taken away...well it's a hard pill to swallow.
    I love that you've learned so much and are going to focus on having a heart of gratitude. I hope the hamstring heals up nicely and quickly.

  23. There is nothing "trivial" about what your feeling. Having an injury when running is a love and passion hits you where it HURTS! I can really identify with you. I always look back and realize that maybe I didn't make the best decisions, and they have to pay the consequences later. Then to sit back and count all of the setbacks it is going to cost you. UGH. No fair!

    I hope that you do take some rest and get to feeling better! Just keep posting, it's about the only thing that makes me feel better when I can't physically do what I WANT to do.

  24. Thanks, Amanda! I needed this post, today of all days. I have been having pain at the site of last year's stress fracture. It is freaking me out, because I think it may be fractured yet again. I know I should rest, but as you know it's easier said than done. It is so hard to surrender, be still and wait. It's so hard that I want to pull my hair out at the thought of it. But, you are right. I need to be still. Deep breaths. Praying for your hamstring and my 3rd metatarsal all at once and for the strength to let it be.

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  26. I could relate to so much of what you wrote and I think that you wrote about it very eloquently! The best thing we can do is learn from our sounds easy but it's hard sometimes. I think it's awesome that: you're taking the time to reflect on what happened, figuring out how you feel about it, learning from it and choosing a positive way to deal with it. You're such an inspiration and I really like reading your posts. Thank you.

  27. Those are a couple of deep questions. I don't know that I can do either of them justice right now - getting divorced was hard and depressings. The lessons I learned were painful, but they were things I needed to know.
    I hope that your hamstring heals quickly. I understand what you are saying about being bummed and thankful for your many blessings at the same time.

  28. I totally feel your pain. I have been off of running for a long time. I ran a marathon with my hubby. I have thought a lot about what I should have done different. It can eat at you. I understand. **Hugs***

  29. Everything seems obvious in hindsight, but at the time, you did the best you could. Learn the lessons, move on, and do better next time. That's all anyone can do.

  30. Excellent post, Amanda. Sorry to hear about the set-back. It IS hard to ignore those emotions, the ones that are saying "You have to keep pushing," and "look how far you've come," and "this means too much to me." Work through the rest period, therapy, whatever this takes and keep reminding yourself of your other blessings.

  31. Amanda, I am truly heartbroken to hear about your circumstance. I am so sorry that you are dealing with your hamstring again. IT SUCKS and anytime you need to talk about it or vent please email me. You are amazing to take this situation and talk about what you have learned and what you would do different. You can get through this and you have so many people here to support you. LOVE YOU!

  32. I'm going to send you an email. :)

  33. I am sure so many people can relate to this post, I know I can. I had to miss the first marathon I was going to run because I hurt my knee from overuse. I kept pushing for a month after it started hurting, It would have healed so much fasted if I had just accepted what it was. That is the hardest part for me, acceptance and patience. Good luck with your journey, I am sure you will come out the other side a stronger wiser person =)

  34. OK, I waited to post on this until I had a minute to think.

    1. Definitely. Times when I do exactly what others--and I--know I shouldn't do. And I'll tell you what, God has protected me over and over again from my self-destructive instincts, no matter how mad He keeps making me.

    2. My first marriage fits into categories #1 and 2. Pretty much everybody around me knew it was a terrible idea, and it was a miserable several years. Having two kids by the time you're 21 when you have no money or responsible other partner is terrible. Being a poor single mother on public aid sucks. But all of that has made me who I am today. I'm stronger that I was, and I have a real understanding for and connection to my students' parents who are in that same situation.

  35. when elijah was waiting for God to pass by, he didn't find him in the wind, or an earthquake, or in the fire. he found him in a small whisper. it is good to be still and wait....and listen. God may have something incredible planned for you in that stillness.

    hope your leg is feeling better! this was a fantastic post!

  36. you are welcome! i am heading over to check out small town runner's blog right now! hope you are feeling stronger!!