Last night, lying in bed surfing on my iPod Touch for magical quick solutions to my now continually aching hamstrings, I found the following instructive categories of injuries in The Injured Runner:
Grade 1: Symptoms are experienced primarily while running and you can run with only mild to moderate discomfort. Maybe decrease your distance, do a bit more cross-training.
Grade 2: Pain is moderate and may ease after you are warmed up, or pain begins after a certain amount or intensity of running. Pain usually worsens after you stop. Begin treatment. Decrease running to what does not cause pain.
Grade 3: The pain is getting worse, it is moderate to severe. You need to be off of your feet if you want to train! Initiate treatment. Cross-train only.
Grade 4: You are now wearing a cast and probably in need of an anti-depressant. You get the picture.
I have to admit that this approach spoke to me. I seem to be slipping from grade 2 to grade 3; apparently resting for one week wasn’t good enough. So I now reluctantly submit to 2 weeks of rest and TLC to my hamstrings. I’ll even be a good girl and start slowly when the rest period is over – hopefully.
Unlike almost all of my running acquaintances, who aren’t anywhere near being seniors and who have things like work and kids that take up most of their schedules, I am a senior with two years of retirement under my belt. Long distance running is one of my retirement projects. Even though I understood from the beginning that running could come to an end any time, now that it has become an integral part of our lives, it is harder to think that way. Just ask my even more senior husband, who happily went out for his run this morning.
Although I have no intention of considering that a few weeks of rest won’t have me back in action, it does remind me that not only is running something that I should enjoy while I can, so are many other things. Not to sound gloomy, but were accident or illness to deprive us of our ability to engage in something we love, the most important thing is that we have been able to engage in something we love in the first place. Whatever your favourite activities, take the time to savour those experiences. And if there is something you’ve always wanted to try and haven’t yet, go for it.