It has now been about 5 months since I sustained a tibial stress fracture and, although I was cleared to do weight-bearing exercise in late October, I haven’t run much since then. When I first was cleared to run, I decided to take it slow and ease back into a regular training program. I could still feel a slight pain on the inside of my right ankle radiating up my lower shin, so I was a little wary that I’d injure myself if I was too ambitious about running too soon.
But it’s been a few weeks now and I never really got my momentum going again. For the past month or so, I have been running 30 minutes about 3 times per week, spending my “off days” swimming or using the elliptical. It might sound like a lot of exercise, but in comparison to the ~70 miles per week that I was running last year as an NCAA D1 athlete, 12 mpw at a glacial pace doesn’t feel like that much at all. Just the tip of the iceberg. Pennies to a millionaire. A mile in a marathon. Zilch. Zippo. Nada.
Coming back from a major sports injury takes time and perseverance, but I’ve pushed through similar experiences before and come back full force, hitting the ground running (literally and figuratively) once recovered. Something is different this time.
The feeling I’m talking about is not the fact that, after a ~4 month hiatus from running, I can’t keep up with people that I once left in the dust or that I become exhausted running up minor hills. Physical weakness is pretty much a given after taking so much time off (even with cross-training).
I am talking about the fact that I no longer get excited about going out on a long run on Sunday morning or pushing my limits doing 400m repeats until every part of my body wants to explode. The fact that an hour run once was my easy day and now it’s a struggle to run half as long. That the drive and desire is no longer there. That feel like I am parting ways with my past as a competitive runner.
The weirdest part of all this is that I feel okay with the transition. This year has come with a lot of changes–I graduated from college, started my first “real” job, got a boyfriend, and solidified my decision to apply to medical school rather than matriculate into the PhD programs (despite already being accepted). Cutting back on an admittedly insane running program, I guess, was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made this year, albeit still a big one.
Running has always been and will continue to be a significant part of who I am, but it’s not the only thing in my life. Training to be a top distance runner takes a toll on your physical and mental health, social life, and ability to focus on school and work. While I still love running, I’m pretty happy being an average Jane and keeping my exercise regiment in check. For now at least.
My house is hosting a holiday party tonight, so we’ve been making nice spiced drinks and snack foods all day. I made some ginger cookies because, um, what would a Christmas party be without Christmas cookies? While I would like to report that they were delicious, the reality is that they are just okay. But then again, I am not the biggest fan of snickerdoodle or butter cookies and these definitely fall into the same genre. So, if you like those kind of cookies, then maybe these are perfect for you.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 and 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 diced ginger chew candies
- In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, and brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients and then mix in the diced ginger chew candies.
- Form balls of cookie dough about 1/2 inch in diameter and roll them in sugar before placing them on a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes.
- Add chocolate ganache frosting (50% heavy cream and 50% dark chocolate) if desired.