I’ve been running consistently for a few weeks now and my achilles is feeling almost normal. To clarify, my current definition of consistent running is slow and steady. Once my achilles stopped hurting 24/7 and I was able to walk without pain I did a few 1 mile runs. In mid December I began with running 2 miles every other day which eventually led to running a total of 10 pain free miles the last week in December. Mileage has gradually increased each week since.
This injury was a pain to deal with, but my body couldn’t have picked a better time to develop an injury. Running was becoming impossible and getting hurt gave me more time to focus on trying to graduate. I still haven’t graduated. I’m closer to graduating than I was a few weeks ago–just not close enough. My internship is winding down, I have less than 10 hours left. My thesis is still an organizational disaster, but it isn’t as bad as it was a few weeks ago. Had I not been injured the above statements would be replaced with, “I’ve done nothing productive”.
It’s not a secret that I am burnt out. It’s also not a secret that throughout the last year I have been miserable in pursuit of this dream and this goal. What I’ve been struggling with lately is how much more I can possibly sacrifice–how much more can I allow myself to loose before I have anything to gain….how many more obstacles, hardships, and setback can I endure at this point?? The truth is, I have no idea. In the last 3 years, 3 months, 1 week, and 3 days since I started this graduate program (yes, I’ve kept track) I have given everything I have to give and I STILL do not have anything to show for it. It has been an agonizingly long road of sacrifices. My commitment to this goal has been tested constantly. It has been tempting to opt out.
With running competitively being my biggest sacrifice over the last 3 years, 3 months, 1 week, and 3 days, I’ve often thought of opting out of that too. I love running, but I also love competing and training at a high level. I’ve been living with a void for the last 3 years, 3 months, 1 week, and 3 days. Yes, I’ve been running and racing sporadically, but it has been compromised and sacrifices have been made. I had no time to train the way I was trying to train and I didn’t want to accept that. I just got to the point where my graduation date kept ceasing to exist and I couldn’t wait any longer to fill that void—-I got tendonitis and I was forced to opt out.
Injuries usually leave people feeling defeated, but I feel more confident despite this injury. On Friday I ran up the back side of a small mountain. It was covered in snow, ice, and mud. I was slipping all over the place. I kept telling myself that it was my choice to run up there, had I chosen to run elsewhere I wouldn’t be struggling. I also kept telling myself that I had the option to stop, walk back down, and run on the road. I kept going up even though it was challenging and risky. I was committed to that choice. It was important to me to get up there. The conversation I was having with myself as I slid around on ice and mud was in line with the conversations I have with myself everyday about finishing graduate school. I’m miserable right now, but this is important to me and this was the path I chose. Sacrifices are brutal but so is quitting.
So, I’ll make a few more sacrifices for a little while longer.