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Before I was injured I was a different runner. It seems like such an obvious statement that it’s almost silly to say. But Denyse Whelan’s Life This Week prompt is “hobbies” and I’ll be damned if I let it roll by without a mention of running.
Honestly, though, I thought the way I ran and my athletic “ability” was ingrained or dictated by my genetic makeup and not subject to change. When I tore the cartilage inside my hip joint a few years ago, I knew it would be a long road to recovery. I didn’t expect that it would turn me into an athlete with a different running approach and mindset entirely.
Long story short, I’m yet to get the surgery that will most probably fix the hip pain and the issue. Like many runners (I suspect), I just keep putting it off in the hopes that:
- I’ll return to Australia and get it done there
- It’ll magically go away on its own
Both of those scenarios are unlikely, so I’m running with a plan that gets revised by my fantastic coach Zoey, every time she thinks she can tweak things to help me out a bit more. I think having a different kind of training plan and mindset has turned me into a different runner.
Pre-injury Katherine would not dream of walking during a race. She’d only walk one water stop for a drink, if she needed one. Her goal was always time-based: beating personal bests, shaving minutes or seconds off, and finishing feeling like she earned that medal with sweat and sometimes pain.
She was great for feeling accomplished. There’s always some further distance to conquer in a shorter amount of time. It put a smile on her face, a spring in her step and got her out of bed insanely early on chilly mornings.
Post-injury Katherine is a different beast all-together. She doesn’t run hills if she can help it, and sprints are the exception rather than the weekly rule. She walks whenever she needs to. That can be in the middle of a 5km, after 2km, or in the middle of a race.
And she doesn’t care.
She (this third person thing is getting weird), ran Bay to Breakers on the weekend and walked a fair amount of it. Not just Hayes Street Hill (because that was never going to happen at a gallop), but even in the last km when things were getting rough. Crossing the finish line at all felt like a gift and an achievement.
Because last year I couldn’t have done it at all. And getting any time, no matter if I’d walked the entire thing, was always going to be 10 rungs up the ladder than getting no time at all.
Sure, my endurance isn’t where it was a few years ago and I’m certainly nowhere near as fast as I was, but is that really important to me anymore? Not really. The fact that I’m running at all is good enough for me.
Do you feel as though injury has made you a different athlete?