Friday, September 8, 2017

Join the League of Injured Runners

The new League of Injured Runners allows you to support and encourage each other through various stages of injury recovery – something we almost all experience at some point.  Nobody wants to need the group, but we hope it will help you stay motivated and engaged when you do. And, when you’re back out there post-injury, you can encourage others through their struggle.

With the support and expertise of the Connecticut Sports Medicine Institute at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, we will bring you a video series of tips on injury prevention, signs and symptoms of common issues and recovery strategies.  The doctors will be available to provide general guidance and address questions through the League of Injured Runners Facebook group.  We’ll also provide those who JOIN the League with email updates on special events and opportunities and share stories from the community.

Community – that’s the most important part of this initiative.  Special thanks to Team HMF member Jeanne Corey and HMF Volunteer Ambassador Jackie Owens for their help in this effort and in rallying the community around each other.  You’ll see each of them at events and hear from them on the Facebook group.  Today, meet Jeanne and hear her story.  Next week, we’ll introduce you to Jackie and her story and we encourage you all to share with us and with each other – sign up to join the League and then talk with us on Facebook too!

When I had my first running injury, I was a new runner and signed up for every race I could find.  Back then, I didn’t own a Garmin, running sneakers or any fancy gear - I used to wear my lucky big hoop earrings during races and carb load the night before my 5Ks. LOL

I started having some pain in my hip when running, did my research, learned some stretches and diagnosed myself with a pulled hip flexor.  I read articles and advice to “run through the pain” so I kept running.  The pain got worse to the point where I started limping all of the time and it would wake me up at night.  I finally went to the doctor, got an MRI and eventually the bad news - a stress fracture.  

I made my list of questions for my 1st doctor visit.  
1.    When can I run again?
2.    What kind of exercise can I still do? (if the answer to 1 was not what I wanted)
3.    How long will this take to get better?

It’s funny, I can still remember that feeling of disbelief and some of the crazy thoughts I had:  “Maybe I can still run using my crutches”…“I wonder how many calories I can actually burn power walking with my crutches”.  

I was also haunted by horrible negative thoughts.  I felt isolated.  I remember crying when I received the automated text alerts about my friend running the Hartford marathon.  I think the worst was seeing runners on the road - I hated them!  I was in such a bad place.  I missed running.  It was like losing my best friend.   

A good friend sent me an article from Runner’s World - “How to cope with the 5 Stages of Injury Grief”, I recommend it and was so grateful to read something that made me realize I wasn’t going crazy!

I had a hip stress fracture and was not allowed to put any weight on my leg whatsoever. I was lucky enough to have a friend introduce me to “Pool running” (if you’re not familiar with this concept watch the video).  I tried it the first time and my legs were like rubber after - what a great workout!  It was probably the first time that I started to feel mentally good again. 

Finally, months went by and I was given the okay to run again!  I asked my doctor if I would be able to train for the Hartford half marathon that was in 8 days.  He just shook his head and said I’d only be able to walk/run the 5K, so I signed up and ran it – without stopping.  

I was given a very strict recovery plan but started up with my own over-aggressive routine again (not following doctor’s orders – bad idea!).  I began running, teaching classes and less than a year later had my second stress fracture.  

I wish at that time in my life I was involved with HMF to know that I could still be involved with the running community even though I wasn’t able to run.  I also wish that I had a support system that would listen to my craziness or even discourage me from doing too much too soon when I got the “okay” to run again.  

I’ve learned a great deal since then.  There is a lot that a new runner can do to avoid injuries; foam rolling, getting fitted for sneakers, warming up, not increasing miles too fast, and the most important – listening to your body.  If something hurts it’s time to slow down.  Not running for a couple of weeks sometimes can make the difference. The bottom line is we are runners, therefore we will get hurt one time or another.  The thing to remember is you’re not alone! 

Jeanne Corey
-Team HMF

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