Right now, after nine months of "dying," I'm finally experiencing my regeneration. Finally. And it all began last week.
Some back story is needed in this case. Nine months ago, in June, I became unemployed. I already had been so depressed at the time that I hadn't run in about seven months (since November 2013). The unemployment was a huge blow. For the past nine months, I basically spent all day at home, not wanting to leave the house, move, eat properly, exercise, run errands, pay my bills, none of that. I was a totally empty shell of a person. I wasn't working and I wasn't running, so I basically had lost every part of myself that makes me who I am.
I felt like a fraud whenever I got a message from someone who had read my story saying that I was an inspiration. Because the fact is, over those nine months, I gained back nearly 40 lbs. Yes, me, who had once taken such pride in my accomplishments, from finishing half marathons to losing 90 lbs. Every time someone wrote a nice message to me, I'd look down at my stomach and feel completely sad, like I'd let everyone down, including myself.
I should say (because it's true) that I would never have made it through the last nine months like I have without a chance meeting on July 4, 2014. On that day, I found love at first sight. As I sat at a 4th of July picnic with friends, a friend of the organizer walked up to join the party. I'd never met him before, but both of us just looked at each other and knew. He has been my boyfriend for almost nine months now, and has totally been my rock throughout this whole mess. He too has been going through his own hard time, and we've been able to lean on each other. Were it not for him, I might never have gotten back in the gym and I might never have gotten my eating under control again.
Additionally, my sister will be getting married this July, and I refuse to be the biggest girl standing up at the altar with her. My boyfriend and I both resolved to return to the gym to get in shape for the wedding. I left LA Fitness (which was too expensive and frankly the location near me I hated) and joined a brand new, local Planet Fitness in December.
So, it begins. My regeneration. About a month ago, I was totally ready to get going again. I went to the gym and started up a Couch to 10K program again to get myself back into running shape. I was being consistent and doing well and was on Week 3 when the inevitable struck. It wasn't even a running injury, it was a freak thing. I have a very slippery rug in my main hallway in my condo (I have to get rug grippers for that thing, I swear). I slid on it one night and straight-up Supermanned onto the hallway floor. I got my right elbow out in time to break my fall, but my left elbow didn't quite make it fast enough. The left side of my ribs took the brunt of the fall.
It was sore for the first few days, then the muscle spasms started, and I knew I had bruised one or more ribs on my left side. The spasms were so unbearable and constant and so debilitating that I could barely walk or dress myself.
I was totally gutted. I'd been on such a roll and then immediately, I had to stop. Running was totally out of the question -- as I mentioned, I could barely walk as it was. A few weeks after the fall, I went back to the gym, even though I was still spasming, and tried just to walk slowly on the treadmill. I felt great right afterwards, but then as soon as I got home, the spasms set in with a vengeance. I tried another time some time after that to even run a little bit, and I could barely get 30 seconds of running in before the pain demanded I stop.
Last Sunday, I brought a dog home to live with me. I am fostering him for now, but hope to adopt him shortly, especially since everything has gone so well thus far. On Thursday, I was offered a great full-time job doing what I know how to do and what I want to do. On Friday, I was offered a part-time (weekend) position in a well-known local running store, where I can help people find the perfect shoes and gush on my own favorite gear. In a matter of a week, everything that I had lost had come back again.
Now, I really feel invigorated. I'm keeping a regular sleeping schedule again (having a dog demands that and I'm thankful for it), I'm getting outside and walking the dog several times a day, and I'm kept accountable and productive, knowing that I have this life in my home that is entirely dependent on me. Additionally, I know that shortly I will have my own full life back. I will be working again, keeping a totally normal schedule, interacting with new people and getting a paycheck. Everything is falling back into place. So this week, with my ribs feeling a little bit better, I got back into the gym.
Just yesterday, my ribs were feeling OK, so I decided to really test out the running again. I put a little one-minute running interval in the midst of my walking, and felt fine. So I upped it to two minutes. Still fine. The running was slow for me -- about a 10:30 min/mi pace, but I at least wasn't feeling winded or in pain. I even got to lift a little bit yesterday, which I hadn't done at all since the injury over a month ago.
Today, I strode into the gym feeling confident about my injury.
I completed Week 3, Day 2 of my Couch to 10K program with no problem, then did a series of lifting, including tricep extensions, hip abduction and leg extensions.
Finally, I feel good again. Finally, I want to go to the gym everyday again. Finally, I'm committed to running again. And it's for real this time.