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  • Writer's pictureLinda Eckert

Warning: Injured Runner

Warning: Injured Runner

I am the type of person who doesn’t like to admit to injury. What athlete does? Unfortunately, we only get one body in this life and the best thing to do is to listen to it and take care of it properly so that in return, we can run healthy – pun intended – and be able to perform our best. So…Remember a couple months ago when I was so happy to have completed the Encinitas Half Marathon? Well, the day after the race I started to feel an odd pain on my right leg, starting at the outer half of my right buttock, and stretching all the way down to my right foot. I of course thought that maybe I needed more stretching or that it would go away on its own, but sadly, it’s still there today.

Last month after my 50k the pain was so bad and it started to make my lower back hurt as well, so I finally decided to do something about it. Yes, I lived with the pain for over a month – still logging 20 to 30 miles a week, which I’m sure didn’t help. So I made an appointment to get it checked out, I had x-rays done, scheduled some physical therapy, and got some medications, but most importantly, I got a diagnosis. My doctor said he saw “some arthritis” (his words) but that it wasn’t bad. The cause of my pain, however, was something else. Something I was completely unaware of until I was diagnosed with it: lumbar radiculopathy. According to my doctor, the physical therapy, no running for 3 to 4 months, and the anti-inflammatory medications will help me get better. I hope it heals soon because let me tell you, this pain is no joke! It hurts – and it hurts a lot!

So…What am I to do when I’m told not to run and I am already signed up for some races? Well, I walk! My first race was the Mermaid Run Boulder 10k, which I downgraded to a 5k and did with fellow OMG members Will and Jacob. The Mermaid Run Series is a community that focuses on women but welcomes everyone to participate in their events and experience the joy of crossing a finish line! The events help women chase and achieve goals not only in fitness but in life in general and their races are super beginner friendly and extremely well organized! They have runs in Boulder, CO; Spokane, WA; San Diego, East Bay, San Francisco, and their triathlon/duathlon in Capitola, CA.

The other race was the Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon which I have been running since 2012. It’s a great race and it supports the Dark Horse Marines, 3/5 Battalion, but after this year, I have decided I no longer want to run this race. In 2014, they started the legacy challenge: if you ran the race (5k, 10k, or half marathon) since 2014 until this year, you would receive an extra medal commemorating your five year achievement. Every year we received a different Armed Forces medal, starting with the Marine Corps medal in 2014, Navy in 2015, Air Force in 2016, Army in 2017, and National Guard this year. I had run the half marathon every year – in fact, my half marathon personal best is in that course! – but since I’m injured, I decided to walk the 5k. Other OMG members were out there too: Jacob also did the 5k, as did Johey and her son Evan, who is 9 years old, and Sandra crushed the half marathon getting third place AG! Evan and I walked together, as he’s slowly getting into racing. Sandra was also doing the legacy challenge like me, so we both received the Joint Chief of Staff medal! It was totally worth sticking it out for five years in a row to earn this medal, but I can happily walk away now after running this race for seven consecutive years.

Not being able to run is extremely difficult for me because running is my outlet, my time to myself, my way of relaxing. I feel like I need to wear a t-shirt that says “Warning: Injured Runner” because not running is making me cranky and easily irritated as I’m sure some of you can relate. However, I’m going to trust the process and I keep telling myself that this time off running is only for the better and in the end, it will benefit not only my body but my running altogether. As much pain as I’m in, I just want to think positively and keep cheering on my fellow OMG team members on their races and activities, and look forward to when I’ll be joining them again. I’m keeping my head up and my spirits high! And even though I can’t run right now, I know that I will run again one day! Always remember: Life is better when you run!

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