Hey you! With the running injury. You identify so much as a runner that you are currently calling yourself an injured runner to explain your lack of running.
We know that every serious runner has been injured, yet that doesn't make it any easier when you're the injured runner. It's so easy to lose track of how it feels to be sidelined when you're not, no matter how many times you have been before. The hole in your daily life seems ever-present.
This wasn't your plan, and you may never embrace it or even get beyond disdain for it, but it isn't about that. It is about adapting to the new plan. God's plan is better than anything we could dream up, even though it often doesn't feel that way, especially for us Type A planner runners. When our plans don't work out, it's because He has better ones. Trusting that is hard no matter how strong your faith.
But faith also means knowing that tomorrow will be better than today. You'll be back there; never lose that faith. It may not be tomorrow, or the next week or month or even year - or without false re-starts and bumps in the road - but you will get there. Never stop fully believing.
It's okay if your belief falters sometimes though; don't feel guilty if this happens. It's okay to not be positive at all times. It's okay to mourn for the races you're missing. It's okay to be disappointed as the DNSs accumulate.
It's lonely. It's likely many of your closest friends are runners, and you're not seeing them as often since you can't meet to run, plus no one wants to talk about cross-training (including you!). Maybe not running makes you less energetic and social too. It's okay that as you become more and more excited about your friends crushing races, that you become more and more sad that you're not.
Other runners often say, "It's only running," but it's okay to disagree with that. Sure, it IS only running, but it overflows into countless other areas of your life.
People tell you to do the things that you avoid when you're training, but maybe you realize that you don't feel like you miss out on anything at all? You don't want to stay out late or have another glass of wine or go camping or skiing. You want your normal routine and passion back.
People will say "enjoy your well-deserved rest" and "your body needs a break". It's okay to roll your eyes when they turn away. They have the best intentions, but they don't understand.
It's okay to feel bad about how upset you are about not running. It's okay to think, "Who am I to be so distraught over this when so many people have so many bigger problems?" while simultaneously having a breakdown.
Big goals take big risks, and any time you are training for PRs you are riding the line between running your best and getting hurt. Take what you learned about yourself and move forward. Address your weaknesses; this will help your injury recovery plus it will also help your times later.
And finally, keep calling yourself a runner; you still are.
A runner with injury experience
**I wrote this while was injured, but didn't hit publish until I began running again. I had this fear that I might never run again and then what right did I have to tell anyone else who was injured anything? But I ran a glorious 64.8 miles last week!
I made this face most of the time I was injured