By Amy Stanton
My 2015 season turned out differently than I had hoped and expected. It was the first season I was on Team Podium and I was so excited to represent my team and to be a force in my age group. My plan was to keep getting faster and stronger, but my body couldn’t keep up. Half way through the season, I ended up in a boot due to a stress fracture in my left foot. A common injury, yes, but a heartbreaking just the same.
The dreaded boot.But for once a runner’s feet don’t look like a runner’s!
Swimming and riding the spin bike were my saving grace during my stent in the boot. I was cleared by the doctor to do both, but to be mindful of pain or discomfort. So, like any triathlete, I pushed the limit on both of those disciplines: I rode until I noticed my foot and swam until my healthy foot got tired of doing
all the work.
Amy still joined participated in a Team race while in her boot even though she was only able to swim. Determination and grit.
The boot came off and hesitantly my feet hit the pavement. Injuries have a way of being a mental roadblock sometimes more than a physical one for me. I’d stop at the slightest twinge of pain. I would not push hard for the first few weeks because I was scared.
After 6 weeks in a walking boot, and zero running, I decided to sign up for a sprint at the end of the season, even with my hesitancy. Getting out of the boot and race day were approximately 5 weeks apart: plenty of time to get in race mode. The weeks went by, and the race was rapidly approaching. I was fearful I would be disappointed in my performance. My run was not coming together as I had hoped.
Race day was finally here. It was wet and overcast. The swim was 400 meters. I like to stay somewhere in the middle before the start and then swim my way to the front (or as a friend who has watched me race says, ‘You look like a jack rabbit, you hop, push, fight your way through and over people.’ Whoops). The swim went well, I felt strong. My foot felt great on the beach and on the .25 mile run to transition.
The road was wet, which is never a confidence booster for me because I do 99% of my training on a spin bike in my garage. So, wet, really fast downhills are a scary combination for me. I managed to keep a good pace on the bike. My average was 20.4 mph, which not too bad for spin bike training. I felt strong
physically and was being pushed by a fellow age grouper. Chasing and being chased is always motivating! I got to T2 and then the real race started for me.How was my run going to hold up?!
I put my fancy Hoka running shoes on and off I went. I looked at my watch within the first half mile and my pace was 6:45, and I was feeling good. My legs were getting in stride and my healed foot was keeping up beautifully. The uphills, downhills, turns, the pavement, all of it my foot was fine! I was thrilled and
even picked up my pace. It was a huge relief and I was back and able to do what I love: race and race hard!
I ended up running 20:36 for the 5k and was 2nd overall female. I was so thankful to race again and to place
2nd overall made my first race back even better than I could have imagined.
First race back and grateful to race….and race hard.
Injuries are heartbreaking and game changers, but they don’t have to keep you down and out for too long. I came back stronger than ever and for that I’m so grateful.