Post-Injury Status Update

October 20, 2023

Thank you for all of the love in the comments yesterday – I really appreciate it. I especially loved hearing how common this event is — made me feel less anger towards myself for the lapse.

I wish I could say I was doing wonderfully. On the plus side, I still don’t think anything seems broken. On the minus, there is still a lot of pain. I’m functioning, but every time I get up or have to reach for anything I am instantly reminded that my body is not even close to healed. My right quad/knee is slowly improving (but not normal) and my back seems to be a bit worse (something like a bad muscle strain and/or bruised rib).

And . . . my attitude is not that great.

I *know* (or at least feel 95% confident) that in ~6 months, none of this will matter. But — and I recognize, this is not ideal or very stoic of me — I still feel sad about now. I also think my “running as positive biochemical neuromodulator” hypothesis is very true and I am really REALLY missing those endorphins. Josh keeps showing me the chapter in Daniels Running Formula that demonstrates how little fitness is lost with a short break from working out. It is . . . maybe kind of comforting? But doesn’t help my mood in the moment.

(Note: I also know my temporary injury is nothing compared to what it could have been, and nothing compared to what many have gone through or are going through right now. So then I also feel bad about having sad thoughts about something I know is trivial. Tertiary pain?)

I might try a test run tomorrow but am fully prepared to take about 10 steps and have to stop, because if I’m limping or my gait is compromised that could just invoke a brand NEW injury which is definitely not what I need right now. Based on how hard basic movements are right now (getting dressed, turning over in bed, putting on shoes) I don’t have high hopes for this attempt. But I feel like I want to just give it a try . . . with very low expectations. Cross-training is one idea but I’m not entirely sure biking/swimming would be much less stress on the most injured areas. (Also, I have never in my life swam as a workout and cannot really imagine starting now! And I am the only one I know, basically, without a Peloton).

I just need to take things one day at a time, and unfortunately that is not my natural inclination. HOWEVER, I know what my own advice to others has been in an uncertainty-filled negative scenario and that is generally:

ZOOM IN. Focus on now. Structure your days based on what you CAN do and build in some fun and rest NOW rather than waiting for things to be different or better. After a two-day hiatus, I did my usual planning routine today.




FIND POSITIVE DISTRACTIONS. We are seeing Into the Woods this weekend so that should be fun at least!

Unfortunately I am on call next week so the lovely idea of “rest” is just . . . not going to happen. But maybe that’s ok (better to be otherwise occupied).

Yesterday I managed to go to G’s field trip. I was in pain (through max doses acetominophen/ibuprofen) but I could walk and she was so glad I was there.

Well. One day at a time. Will work on following my own advice!


  • Reply Susan Haven October 20, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Would you be able to run in a pool? I had a bad tendonitis and trained running in a pool for three months (with a floation belt in 8 ft of water) and did not loose cardio or muscular fitness. the key is keeping the cadence the same. The only loss is bones forget what it’s like to make contact with the ground, but that comes back.

    • Reply Susan Haven October 20, 2023 at 1:01 pm

      I should add I was marathon training at the time. Was still able to do the race, albeit it wasn’t a PR, but was comfortable.

  • Reply omdg October 20, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    If you move around, does the pain get better or worse with continued movement? If it gets better, maybe try a walk or – if you have access to one – some time on the eliptical tomorrow. If it gets worse with more activity, you probably need to take it easy for a few more days. Maybe try some easy stretching, and ice or heat. Maybe sit in the tub (or a hot tub!) for a while. Also (+)NSAIDS, lidocaine patch, tylenol. If you can’t walk without pain, chances are running will be worse. Don’t make your muscle injury worse by pushing too fast too soon. You will be back to normal in a few weeks, most likely.

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns October 20, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    In 2012 when I was training for the Des Moines marathon, I got a horrible case of bronchitis that totally leveled me. I missed one of my 22 mile training runs and had to take a solid week+ off. This all happened about 5 weeks out from the race but I was still able to run it and I had a big PR. 4:05 from my previous 4:22 PR. Nowhere close to your goal but I still ran a strong race. So you could still race as planned even with this hiccup in your training plan. I hope you feel better and the pain subsides soon. Back pain is so debilitating.

  • Reply Elaine October 20, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    Oh Sarah, my thoughts echo a lot of the previous, sorry to hear you went through such an ordeal, it would have been terrifying. I’m glad to hear you’re ok (comparatively).

    Also reading today’s post it makes me think of what Dr Becky Kennedy, who is a clinical psychologist and has a parenting podcast, says often: “Two things can be true.” It’s ok to feel sad and frustrated right now, while acknowledging things could have been worse. One doesn’t negate the other and both are entirely valid feelings. Not being able to run when it’s something you invest a lot of time into and get a lot of joy out of IS difficult (I’ve been there, done that and bought the tshirt). Hopefully you feel less sore each day and you’re back to those endorphin filled runs soon.

  • Reply Marie October 20, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    Wondering if you’ve thought of (or if it would make sense) to do PT for a bit? It might help with both the recovery and also provide some of that structured training that you seem to so enjoy. I’ve always found PT after an injury or surgery helps me as much mentally as physically… even if time is really the cure, it helps to feel like I’m *doing* something to make progress as well. Wishing you well!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 20, 2023 at 7:36 pm

      Definitely a good idea. Thinking of seeing my primary Monday in part to see if a chest xray useful and also for PT referral).

  • Reply jennystancampiano October 20, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    Ah, this is so hard. Josh is correct- you really don’t lose fitness that quickly. And there’s still enough time before your marathon that you can take some time to recover from this, get back on track and still have a great race. But I know- right now, this sucks. It’s so hard not to be out there running, when you’re used to your daily dose of endorphins. But… patience. I bet this will heal up quickly. Get through these days and you will be running again soon!

  • Reply Gwinne October 21, 2023 at 7:48 am

    Wow!! Just catching up. So glad you are okay in the big scheme of things….but how terrifying. Glad it wasn’t it wasn’t worse

  • Reply Kim October 21, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Hi Sarah,

    Several years ago I had a similar thing happen to me. We live in Canada and it was February when I pulled into my driveway after work. Our garbage cans were at the end of the driveway so I left my brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee running and brought them into the garage. While I was putting them away I noticed a boot my son was looking for sticking out of a storage cabinet. I grabbed the boot and threw it in the house. I wondered where the other boot might be so I started looking inside the storage cabinet. That is when I hear tires crunching the snow on the driveway and wondered who was pulling in? I turned around to see my Jeep inching up the driveway with the driver side door wide open. Our garage has two separate doors with a divider between them. It was all I could do to slam the door shut as it was about to hit the brick divider. Luckily the Jeep drove itself perfectly into the garage without hitting either side. Not so luckily it didn’t stop until it smashed into the back of the garage (house). There wasn’t a ton of damage to the house but the front corner panel had to be replaced on the Jeep. If it had not been very cold that day I would not have heard the snow crunching under the tires and I could have been pinned against the house or run over. I had nightmares about this for weeks. Thank goodness you are not seriously injured! Take care, Kim

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 21, 2023 at 10:53 am

      WOW!!!!! Cars are really incredibly powerful and scary forces and I think I will remember that forever. You can bet I have double checked both the gearshift and the emergency break every single time I have gotten out of the car since.

  • Reply lawandcreative October 21, 2023 at 9:50 am

    Sending healing vibes! ❤️

  • Reply San October 26, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    Having to be patient when you’re injured is the WORST. I hope you give your body time to heal, but yeah, I understand that you want to try and see if you can run.

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