If I could go back in time: Part 2 of a 3-part series on running injuries

I write this post from the perspective that  SO MANY runners are injured right now! It seems like 1/2 of the runners behind the blogs I follow are dealing with injuries. NOT FUN.

This 3-part series is about what I would do differently if I could go back in time. Maybe you’ll learn something or be able to prevent an injury in the future.

PART 2: If I could go back in time, I would go back and tell myself, “Stop comparing yourself to [insert name]. You aren’t them. Your story and your journey is unlike anyone else’s.” 

d4882846462cc9826325048afc551641If I counted the times I compared myself to others and wished I hadn’t, we would be here all day.

Let’s start by introducing you to my training group. Beth , Audrey, Tiffany, and Jon. These are the people I run with on a daily basis. When I first moved home to Jackson, the group comprised of Beth, Audrey and Jon. They were fast. There was nothing to it. Jon (the super tall guy below) was training for a sub 3-hour marathon, Audrey (blonde hair next to Jon) and Beth (far right) both just ran sub 1:25 in their half-marathons, and at the time I hadn’t even raced a half-marathon before. Wow.

20140515-152117.jpgI learned really quickly I was sloooow compared to these fast folks. It was humbling beyond measure. It felt like every.single.day I was panting for air just on our easy runs. However, I also PR’d in every distance from the 5k to the half marathon because of these people. They are beyond encouraging.

Despite how encouraging they are and how much I absolutely love training with them, I oftentimes find myself comparing my times and my fitness to theirs. I run those extra few miles instead of the amount I planned for that day. Who wants to be the girl who runs the least, anyway?

You can probably tell where this is going.

Last December (2013), I really increased my training intensity as I planned to simultaneously decrease my volume so I could make sure to stay injury free. I wanted to focus on the 5k and even run in a few track meets, so it made sense that I would focus on intervals rather than a lot of long slow miles. Despite my training group being really supportive of this and even offering to run some of the workouts with me, I found myself running extra miles at the end of a workout “just to get in a few miles”, when in reality, I did it because I didn’t want to be the one in the group to stop early. I wanted to finish the run with everyone else.

This was not smart. You can guess what happened next.

While it wasn’t a serious injury, it did put me back a bit and make me reevaluate my training and my approach. I had some pretty intense Achilles pain needing attention and rest.

While reevaluating, I realized I have truly come so far. I’ve shaved AN ENTIRE 20 minutes off my half-marathon time (1.51 to 1:31), taken 7 minutes off my 10K time (1:48 to 1:41), and I could go on and on. I could have never accomplished all I have without my training group I owe them so much.
 

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However, I am still Katie. I am not Beth, Audrey, Tiffany, or Jon. I am Katie, and I have strengths they do not. I have to remember, and I will continue to remember comparison steals joy, it does not create it. Finding what works for you and thriving in that is best. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Thrive in your own skin and use your strengths and talents to build others up. Don’t try to be someone else or do something else just because someone does or says it is right. Be you.

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What happened? Where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Wow! Almost an entire month passed without a single post.

Life got crazy and things happened and I’m still training, but wow, does time fly by or what?!

Here are some of the crazies in dates:

April 28th: I began a new training cycle with a new coach. It’s a totally different perspective on training, very different from how I’ve coached myself in the past, but I am loving it so far! I did a lot of research on various coaches and coaching programs, and I can say I am really happy to be working with Nick out of Memphis, TN. I may not update my training each week day by day, but I’ll let you all in on what’s happening 🙂20140508-094851.jpg

April 29th: I presented my master’s thesis! SUCH A HUGE BURDEN LIFTED OFF MY CHEST! For my thesis, I studied corporate wellness programs and I presented a guide for corporations to use in implementing wellness programs for their company. I loved this topic so much, and I cannot wait to start implementing this research when I begin my new job.20140508-094831.jpg

Oh yea! We are moving! and I got a new job! Why are we moving??20140508-094738.jpg

May 2nd: Jon found out he was accepted to Memphis! He will begin his Masters in Pharmacology in July. I am so incredibly proud of him.

May 3rd: Beth, Julia and I registered for Rock’n’Roll Chicago!! WE ARE SO EXCITED. Tennessee folks headin’ north, ya”llllll. My BFF lives there, so we have an entire weekend to hang out and enjoy the city with her! Are any of you running Chicago!? This is my Chicago bestie below on the right. She and Jon literally drove 8 hours and through the night just to watch my final collegiate cross-country race. Those two amaze me. 20140508-100126.jpg

May 5th: I became aware of some really difficult news from some friends of ours. This week has been really rough, to say the least. To witness families and couples splitting apart is one of the hardest things. I, myself, come from a blended family (my parents split when I was younger), and while I can’t imagine my life without my amazing stepfather, divorce is never easy, and never will be. It is not peaceful, and it is affects everyone around you. Life goes on and the bitterness and anger will eventually subside, but the wound is fresh and I’m having a hard time, knowing the implications and the hurt involved.

May 6th: After tough news the day before, and legs being really tired from training the week prior, I had a phenomenal run after work. It was really warm, I sweated so much, and ran with the sun beating down. I was just so happy. I let go of everything for 30 minutes and just ran. Because it was supposed to be a recovery day to be ready for my hard workout the next day, I was only supposed to do 6 minutes easy pace, 12 minutes a little slower than tempo pace, and 6 minutes easy pace.  Those 24 minutes, although short, were just what I needed.20140508-094906.jpg

May 8th: Today! It’s Thursday, almost Friday, and I really cannot wait until the weekend. Nothing really on the agenda other than tying up final loose ends on my thesis paper, a farmers market visit, and taking some things to Goodwill to get ready for our move next month!

I hope you all have a great weekend!20140508-095114.jpg