Five people you’ll meet as an injured athlete

It’s Friday, so I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the new Friday Five 2.0. It’s a new-ish linkup, and today’s suggested topic is holiday foods.

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Well, writing about food is difficult when you’re not training and when you occasionally burn your pre-race pop tart. I miss races and long runs as reasons to justify junky eating, but life as an injured athlete is tough like that.

Sometimes, you can combine seriousness and silliness in one post (just ask Hollie), and that’s what I’m shooting for in this post.

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While you’re RICE-ing (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and enjoying NARP (Non Athletic Regular Person) life, you’re bound to meet some interesting characters, like:

The Monday Morning Quarterback Orthopedist

When you get injured, the Monday Morning Quarterback Orthopedist knows why. This person isn’t a coach or medical professional, rather a non-athlete unfamiliar with your training.

According to the Monday Morning Orthopedist, here’s what caused your injury:

  • You weren’t cross training enough
  • You weren’t eating the right foods
  • You were running too much (or too little) mileage
  • You increased your mileage too quickly
  • You need to gain/lose weight

Maybe you’ve heard other explanations. The Monday Morning Orthopedist doesn’t know your training schedule, lifestyle, or much about your sport. Also, he loves throwing around the word “overtraining”, mostly because you trained more than he did. After all, if the Monday Morning Orthopedist were training for an event, he wouldn’t have time to analyze YOUR injury.

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If you’re injured, go to a real doctor who can diagnose you. If you think your training contributed, hire a coach. Don’t listen to the Monday Morning Orthopedist.

The Billy Mays “But Wait! You need ___” Shiller

Just as the Monday Morning Orthopedist can explain your injury, the Billy Mays Product Shiller knows exactly how to cure your injury. This person isn’t a medical professional or coach (but may be a commission-based salesperson).

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The Billy Mays Product Shiller usually has your best interest at heart and wants you to get well- even if getting well means you need to purchase a gold-plated foam roller or powder labeled “Superfood Supplement” (If it has a label, is it really the best “Super Food”?).

It’s tempting to take this person up on offers to spend all the money on things to help your injury- and those things may help. Still, the best person for advice is- you guessed it- your doctor.

The “Wait Until You’re My Age” Curmudgeon

At the ripe age of 31 and looking much younger, I’ve encountered the “Wait Until You’re My Age” Curmudgeon often. You often meet this person at group runs, fitness classes, and running clubs. If you mention an injury or some body part hurting, he responds with “So, you think it hurts NOW? Wait until you’re my age!”

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Whether you’re 18 or 80, injuries happen. Even if you do all the right things, like sleeping/eating well, cross training, taking rest days, and increasing mileage conservatively… shit injuries happen. While younger athletes may have an advantage in recovering faster, no one is invincible.

Check out this picture of the Charleston Running Club at Saturday’s Old Village Harbor 5K. Several runners pictured have finished faster than me in races and some are the fastest masters runners in the state. I’m the only person in this picture wearing a knee compression sleeve.

You can train at a high level at any age- and you can get injured at any age.

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Regardless of how old or young you are, get your injury checked out! Call a doctor as soon as you get hurt and make an appointment. If you feel better before the appointment, you can always cancel. It’s better to cancel when you’re already on the doctor’s list than wait it out, make the injury worse, then wait a week for an appointment.

The Medical Professional Who Won’t Listen

Once you contact a doctor and have an appointment, the Medical Professional Who Won’t Listen is the last person you want to deal with. We have a medical university here, which keeps standards of health care pretty high here and I haven’t had to deal with this lately.

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In 2010, before I moved to Charleston, I was very sick with severe anemia. I made an appointment for bloodwork on a Friday, then got a call that Monday that my results were back and I needed to come in. I had to talk to the doctor in the actual office, not the exam room, which is usually a bad sign. Every item on my CBC was bold for abnormal results, and I had a hemoglobin of 7.3.

My doctor wrote me a script for iron supplements, then told me how bad running was for my body. Surely, running “caused” my severely low RBC counts </sarcasm>. Instead of going to my one month follow up, I found another doctor who listened to me and helped me get my hemoglobin levels up, return to running safely, and I finally broke 30 minutes in the 5K.

Most doctors are great and have the patient’s interest at heart, but just like every other profession out there, there are crummy doctors. If your doctor just won’t listen, “fire” him or her and find one who will. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.

You must be your own advocate and push for the medical care and answers you deserve. No one else will do it for you.

The True Friends Who’ll Stand by You

Injuries suck, but messages, phone calls, texts, and hugs from true friends are the best. You find out who your true friends are when you’re injured because they are still your friends even if you’re going insane from not being able to run or do your workout of choice.

They’re the friends who legitimately miss you at group run- and let you know you’re missed. Maybe they make suggestions or give you recovery tips, but not in a demeaning, curmudgeonly, way.

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If you’re healthy and are friends with an injured athlete… just be there for them and be nice. It’s completely free and doesn’t take much time out of your day to ask how they are feeling, hug them, or show you care. It means a LOT!

Have you “met” any of these people when you’ve been injured? Met any other fun characters I should mention? Tell me about it in the comments.

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25 Responses to Five people you’ll meet as an injured athlete

  1. This was funny, Amy! You need to write posts like this more often. 😉 That doesn’t mean I think you should get injured more often though. I was thinking about you today on my run. My biggest regret from my knee injury was not getting a second opinion sooner, That was a huge clusterfuck situation that I try not to even think about because it makes me angry- MOSTLY at MYSELF for not being more… hmmm.. aggressive? And advocate? I’m not sure what the word is but oh well, now I know for next time! Hang in there! I’m here if you want to talk. If we lived in the same town, I’d totally Arc Train with you and we could talk running and politics. 🙂 Actually, the arc trainer aggravates my ITB… so… we could walk. 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks. Yeah, I’d love to write more funny posts, but I’m typically super busy with training and then of course, work and writing for a living. I actually wrote this Monday morning when I got up because I couldn’t sleep.

      You do have to push for the medical care you need. Second opinions, even alternative therapies, are not always a bad thing. I’ve been to chiro. Massage was honestly the most helpful thing for some hip issues I had back in 2015. Sometimes the only thing you have to lose is well, money… and a clean bill of health, or a second opinion to confirm the first, is always a nice piece of mind I don’t mind paying for.

  2. Oh man. This post is spot on! Fortunately, I haven’t dealt with a ton of debilitating injuries over my running career (knock on wood). I feel like we runners deal with these 5 types of folks even when not injured. I can’t tell you how many times non-runners have tried to convince me to use Isagenix or Advocare (or whatever the latest, greatest fad is). I also rather frequently get this, “Back when I was your age, I used to run a 16-17 minute 5K.” Did you really? Lol. True friends that will stand by you are the best! It seems like you have a wonderful local support system and you definitely have a virtual support system as well! I hope your recovery is speedy and your next races are even speedier 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I have never been one for MLM products, although the Mary Kay concealer is a very good product I’ll admit. I’ll also admit to buying Physician’s Formula instead because it’s the same coverage and half the price at CVS…

      I love my friends- running friends and non running friends (yes, I do have some). People are very supportive here. I will say the number of supporters far outnumbers the “characters”!

  3. Ha ha! So true, all of it. My pet peeve is when people tell me about a superfood supplement. It’s the equivalent of applying an ice pack to a broken femur. They often just like hearing the sound of their own voice. I hope your knee gets better soon. I feel so bad for you. 😦

  4. Christine says:

    Ugh. Sorry you’re injured. I hope you can get back up to speed quickly. I kind of deal with this with asthma, but it’s not the same. People who don’t understand asthma think I should just breathe and get over it. Ha! If only it were that simple, right? Rest up and try not to go completely crazy with not being able to run right now. That’s the toughest part of being sidelined.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I was thinking of you with all the air quality problems and how that is probably affecting your running right now. One of my friends/training partners in Tri Club is having to deal with it as well. It is affecting a lot of people around here. And I agree, it is never right for someone to judge someone else’s injury or issue. I know there are worse things I could be going through, but it is still tough to be in pain.

  5. Elizabeth C. says:

    Ha! I can see this being very true. And then there are also the people who say “with all the running you do, it’s no wonder you have a knee injury. Running is bad for the knees.” It’s good to see you keeping your sense of humor- I enjoyed this post and could definitely relate.

  6. laurenweiner says:

    Oh I just love the Monday Morning Ortho. Unless you are my doctor or trainer, or I ask for your opinion – please don’t give it. This is a great post!

  7. Ana says:

    I wish you a safe recovery!

    Do moms count for all of them? My mom has told me at least three of this the “You run too much”, or the “if you drank a glass of milk every day… ” but that is what moms are for, right?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I think it depends on the mom (some moms just tell you to get over it and essentially make you feel WORSE when you need support). I do think many people are combinations of these people- and I think that sometimes people who are in the first 3 categories may have good intentions at heart but not know how to express it.

  8. Rachel says:

    Oh snap, totally!! I’ve been through that same cycle. It’s always good fun! 😉

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks, yeah this is round #3 for me as far as layoffs go. It’s been 2.5 years though so I have a good track record. I think injury is just reality for everyone who runs, at some point or another.

  9. This is amazing! I think I’ve run into every single one of these. I also have one more, but I’ve only run into one person like this – a bit of a unicorn – and he happens to be my dad (a super runner and a doctor). Any time I have anything going on, not even a full injury, but something I’d like to get his opinion about, he just says “oh yeah.” It’s as though everyone has what I have going on … so does that mean it’s a problem? Not a problem? Not sure what I’d call this, but it certainly is frustrating when I want answers!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You know, people DO seem to get injured all at once. That’s legitimate, especially when there’s a big race that people start training for, or a very tough race that everyone runs. Since the NYCM, I’ve seen various injury posts from people who I guess found out they were hurt after that race.

      It’s not necessarily the race, just the sheer amount of runners training for a single event. Of course the greater the number of runners training, the more likely injuries are. Didn’t see as many hurt people around here this summer, probably because the runners who do triathletes were focusing on that, and everyone else was doing more easy mileage since it was so hot. Now, everyone is (or in my case, was) training for Charleston Marathon.

  10. wanderwolf says:

    Ha ha, yes. Nice gifs!
    But I hope you’re recovering well from this injury. It sounds tough and being sidelined is always a mental challenge. Wishing you patience and healing!

  11. Liz says:

    Totally with you on the medical professionals! This isn’t injury related, but I see so many moms who just listen to whatever their pediatrician tells them to do with their kids because they’re a doctor. Doctors clearly can have their own opinions and there probably IS research out there that backs up every single opinion you could have. But how to sleep train, when to introduce foods, how to introduce them- well, make up your own mind. I wish more people took the time to get answers in healthcare that work for them and that they would take the time to do their own research. I hope you’re able to get back to running or cross training or anything that makes you feel like a normal person again! It’s hard going from being so active and healthy to having something holding you back.

  12. Love this, Amy!! The gold foam roller meme was hilarious! I know what you mean about the doctor who won’t listen and how important it is to advocate for yourself! I’m glad you have true friends to support you though this tough time!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Allie. Yes, there are tons of options to treat injuries- both good ones and gimmicky ones. Being hurt, I don’t want to be taken advantage of, and I want to give more conservative treatments a chance to work before I shell out the big bucks for ART, Graston, etc. Those are great things, and I’d happily pay for them if that’s what it takes to run pain free… but definitely not my first step. The PT exercises seem to be working a bit.

  13. supereli23 says:

    Yuck, IT Band injuries are the worst, but hopefully you are nipping yours in the bud and getting it taken care of before it’s gets too bad! PT is always a good route to take, but I’m biased (since I’m one of those and all 🙂 )

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