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.
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.
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).
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.