An injured runner’s despair

It’s dark here.  Real dark.  Lotta Bruce Springsteen.

Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife, baby,
Edgy and dull,
and cut a six-inch valley
through the middle of my skull.

It’s as though a close friend died. Or some piece of me was just cut out. I’ve cried and cried until I’ve literally had no more tears. At least once a day I sob, and a few other times there’ll be tears eeking from my eyes. It normally happens when I’m in the car, or at the gym, or walking out of yet another appointment where I leave feeling like crap. And I get caught up in the fact that I’m injured, I have a marathon in 3 ½ weeks, and I won’t have a run further than 16 miles. To be blunt, it’s a constant feeling that, “Holy shit, I’m fucked.”

I don’t even love running. I’m not one of those people at this point. But for the last 2 weeks, particularly this past week I’ve been a wreck without it. I guess I’m heartbroken? And anyone I see running is a dirty skank stealing my man.sorry-if-i-run-you-over-while-youre-on-your-run-im-injured-and-angry-50458


In all seriousness, I feel as if I am going through life about as well as I did after my father passed away. I feel stupid comparing the two, but I want to be honest. I’m pretty down… I find it hard to get myself off the sofa, and when I do I’m limping so that’s not really encouraging. I can’t sleep, instead I spend all night stressing over if I’ll be able to even make it across the start line, let alone the finish. Scheduling out if I’m able to get in X miles before April 12- is that enough? After last Tuesday when I was instructed to take another week off, I sobbed for close to 5 hours. And I mean messy, messy sobbed. I was too upset to binge eat (and if you know me- you know that’s a problem).

Being in a situation in which you have no control over, can’t go back and change the outcome, and helpless to everything, no matter how hard you work….It’s the worst feeling in the world.

Yeah, maybe I put a little too much emphasis on this marathon. I was doing my first before I was 30 (since I missed my initial 25 goal). It gave me purpose as a non-working expat housewife. It gave me routine and a reason to get up in the day. It was my outlet to make Scottish friends and feel part of the Aberdeen community. It left me feeling accomplished. It finally got me back into running since my father passed away (because neither coaching Girls on the Run or training for a half marathon (did not actually make it to race day) did). It was my way to prove to the world that I had grit and determination. That I’m not a quitter. That I can work hard for something and achieve it. To prove that I could.

And so where does that put me now? Feeling like a failure. Feeling utterly embarrassed. Upset. Sick. Angry. Gutted. Helpless. Hopeless. Shameful. Pathetic.

And what’s worse is I did it all right I thought. Before marathon training officially started in December, I spent 3 months prior very slowly building up my weekly mileage and getting to a nice comfortable 6 (after basically 2 years off). I followed the NOVICE plan to a T. I cross-trained, I lifted, I foam rolled, I even stretched some… When my knee started bothering me I went right into physical therapy and actually listened to what he said and did the exercises. Did the exercises RELIGIOUSLY. I drank liters of water a day. I got fitted for new shoes. I logged all my miles. I scheduled maintenance sports massages. I read and researched. And. And. And. It didn’t matter.

And it’s hard for people to understand. Being injured in general sucks and is hard to deal with- I know from my surgery last year. But being injured when you’ve dedicated 3 months of your life to accomplishing one goal, and that injury is stomping all over your goal, it’s on a very different level. It’s not like there’s a second chance. I mean, it’s not ONE baseball game. It’s one race that takes months to train for. It’s my game 7. Yes, there will be other marathons. And, yes I will finish and crush them in due time. But I wanted this one.

I know I sound horrifically dramatic. I know I’m not dying of cancer. I know my life’s a walk in the park. But right now, this is how I’m feeling. Maybe you can sympathize or empathize. Maybe you think I need a dose of the real world. But I am putting my emotions out to the universe and off my shoulders. I hope this sends them on their way and they don’t come back. Because running is at least 80% mental. And I knew the mental aspect would be my hardest (even without the injury). And I’m not going to throw in the towel just yet.

{setbacks} are a natural consequence of taking a risk and trying to improve. They are temporary, however, and are actually opportunities to leave and reevaluate your situation. –Running Within

And I now need to focus on mentally changing my self-imposed limitations, ridding myself of doubt, learning from the failures and hurdles, and adjusting my expectations into an up-to-date reality. The marathon’s still the goal, but I need to appreciate the process, take from it what I can, and even more so: enjoy the process.

Any marathon begins and ends with


  1. Adrienne

    I am so sorry Lauren. I had to check to see what had happened with your training. I think the reason it really hurts is that you are in a new community, trying out a new life, and you have put a lot into your running program. Did they give you a diagnosis? Is there anything else you can do? Acupunture? Naturopath? Are you looking at what is causing the injury? I hope you take the time to heal properly and get your spirit back.

    1. Lauren (Post author)

      They think it’s muscular…that I have Lower Cross Syndrome (upper as well but that’s not affecting my running!). It’s funny because it’s a ‘syndrome’ for those who sit too much, but I haven’t had a typical desk job in years. I’m wondering if sitting on the floor so much as done it. It seems that most people have a weird posture and back pain, I can’t find much on people who are limping and in my sorry state! Trying acupuncture, dry needling, physio, and a ‘quack’. I’m back running but a long way from where I want to be and where I need to be in the future….but the fighting spirit is coming back!

      1. Adrienne

        The good news is you have a diagnosis which means you have a starting point. I have piriformis syndrome, which is a muscle in the hip, and this has caused sciatic pain all the way from my hip to my foot. The acupuncture has helped for me, I think it is the dry needling, physio with exercises. I can relate to your frustration! It is terrible when you get on track, do all that work, and then have to begin again.I hope your treatments start to work for you. Patience! Stick with it and it will come together!

  2. Kristen

    sorry to hear about this! take care!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *