My Strava log looks like a barren landscape, devoid of life. Empty space with zero weeks after zero weeks. The injury to my right hip, which I ran through from March to August finally hit its tipping point at Squamish 50 at the end of August. I had modified my gait so much to compensate for the lack of range of motion that the alignment of my hip, femur, lower back and all the way down the kinetic chain was messed up.
Out of necessity, I decided to do nothing for three months. Let the injury go down in swelling, and see what happens after that. During the process, I was in active rehab, engaging in massage therapy, acupuncture, active release, and chiropractic work, in addition to physical therapy exercises. The best result I encountered was with two old school chiro appointments that realigned my pelvis, which allowed my right leg to go higher than 45 degrees. Yay, I could go up stairs again without holding a railing.
One of the elements of being sidelined is the change of habits that occur in your lifestyle. The social aspect of meeting with friends on the trails, exploring new terrain, summiting peaks of mountains and having that connection with nature that trail running allows is all gone. The escape and return to a simpler state, where your relationship with a more silent you is easily achieved in the mountains, so how do you regain or replace that when the geography is no longer achievable?
I was fortunate start a new job at the end of September as GM of Chambar Restaurant which focused a lot of my energy into new challenges and reinvigorated my creative and organizational side. It also expanded my passion for coaching, connecting and developing individuals, so cerebrally I was able to destroy any potential boredom that could have occurred with such a dramatic drop in running activity.
We had our We Run Mas anniversary run in November, Year III, which was amazing, as close to sixty of us all showed up and laughed and frolicked through the trails of the North Shore. We did draw some disapproving glares for having such a big group, but hey, a once a year gathering of friends in the forest is what the community, and our group is all about. Many of us had achieved epic accomplishments, from injury recovery, Personal Best Times (like my Cypress race where I passed close to 40 people!), FKT's or a massive goal such as a first fifty mile to one hundred mile finish line! The anniversary run let us all decompress, enjoy each other's company, and share in some hilarious and heart-wrenching stories, supported by the love and care of those who know each other on such a deep level.
Just this last week, I saw Dr. Roberts at the Sports Science Centre at UBC (he's also investigating my gut issues) regarding the hip. He had access to my X-Rays and history, and his final assessment is I have a hip labrum tear. They don't recommend surgery anymore since the recovery time is the same, so it's going to be close to eighteen months of rehab and physical therapy to get back up to full speed.
I'll be able to start slowly, working in the 5 to 8 kilometre range and building back up over the next several months. Speed and aggressive downhills are out of the question for at least six months, and a close monitoring of pain will ensure the inflammation is not aggravating or causing more damage. Basically if it hurts, stop.
So this leaves me in a funny head space. I've always followed the mantra formula of "title equals activity." For example, "Writers write. Painters Paint. Bloggers Blog. Managers Manage. Fighters Fight." And of course, "Runners Run." As it stands, I currently don't run. I haven't "run" for almost four months. Yet, in my mind, I am still a runner. Physically, I am going to have to start from a new beginning. Chances of an Ultra for 2016 are not going to happen, so a realignment of goals is necessary; first and foremost being "get healthy." Work on the strength, balance and coming back stronger in every other way. So that way, when I do return to the trails, I'll be in a prepared state and excited for the new adventures and opportunities.
I am finding that so much of the work that I have done, mentally coordinated with the reading, flow state practice and spiritual development (not religious spirit, but more willpower, perseverance and getting to know the deeper "me") has allowed me the drive and vision to stay on course. I know what is possible in trail and endurance running. It has taken me to places both physically and emotionally that I never dreamed possible. I know that there is so much more, and I am yearning to discover what those secrets are, the unlocked experiences that are waiting to be unraveled and absorbed. This promise is unquestionable. It's what keeps me motivated for what is to come and I'm running towards it the only way that I know how; by chasing excitement.