At first, it was only a lingering pain before and after my runs. When I ran, it felt fine so I continued to run on it. Over time, as anyone who has experienced an injury knows, the pain became worse. Two weeks into limping and pleading with the running gods, I finally went to see a sports medicine doctor. I had a high hamstring tear that would require months of physical therapy.
The tear affected my daily life. It was a sudden twinge of excruciating pain when I reached into the trunk to get groceries or sat too long or when I walked up the stairs. I carried an inflatable cushion with me to avoid putting too much pressure on my hamstring. My physical therapist bestowed the dubious honor of being in the top three worst hamstring tears he had treated in his practice. He promised that I would get better and that I would run again but it would take patience and time. “How much time?” I hesitantly asked. 12-18 months was his response.
In my short time as a runner, running had become my passion. It was also one of the methods I used to deal with depression and anxiety. If I couldn’t run, I feared my mental state would spiral downward into a dark and shadowy place. I had seen that place and I did not want to be there again. I resolved that I would run again. I knew it would take determination, tenacity and perseverance to succeed. In other words, it would take grit.
Grit is the hours of hamstring exercises, form training and pain to get better. The strength of character to keep moving on when I all I wanted to do was quit. Grit is the resolve to withstand the Graston Technique in a cold sweat gripping the exam table. Twice. It is the ability to overcome the frustration of not being able to do basic tasks like vacuuming or gardening. I could easily have given up. It would have been simpler.
It was about this time that Skirt Sports came into my life. As I slowly started to recover from my injury, I was allowed to take short runs. It will hurt initially, I was told. I was also told that it was highly unlikely I would re-injure it but the fear of doing so persisted. I was simultaneously hesitant to run but itching to get out the door in my running shoes. A new outfit to help me get my mojo back and to make me feel more confident was what I needed. A quick Internet search of cute running clothes helped my find my comeback skirt. It became my talisman to ward off fear and to help me feel like a runner again.
Over the months, I was able to run farther with less pain until one day it wasn’t there anymore. The grit to persist and overcome the pain and frustration had finally paid off. This period in my life had a profound effect on me. It taught me a lot about myself and that I can do hard things. When I am pushing in the final miles of a difficult race, I chant to myself, “you can do hard things, you can do hard things.” It just takes a little grit.