I've been going along on the triathlon train for a few years now, and so far I've avoided major injury. I've had a few minor things happen, ingrown toenails, lost toenails (a badge of honor for runners, don't ya know?), and a swollen foot here and there. My maladies always seem to go away on their own, without me having to stop doing what I love doing (did I say I love it? Yeah, I did!).
I've almost carried my infallibility around like a trophy. I've watched other friends, even my husband, suffer from injuries that have sidelined them for weeks and months. I've watched friends try to fight and compete through the pain. I watched them wriggle with frustration at the thought of not being able to do this training run or that race. And I've been there, nose pointed slightly in the air, thinking to myself, "what's the big deal about taking time off? You want to be at least walking when your old, don't you?"
Because, how hard could it be? To give up the thing that you DO, the thing that, for love and for hate, gets you out of bed at ridiculous hours to train, to race, to suffer, to rejoice? Really, just give it a rest, and you will be back to normal.
It's easy to pass judgment when you've not run in someone else's shoes.
I trained all winter for 2 back to back half marathons. While I wasn't training for marathons or Ironman races, the training was tough, and the training broke my feet badly. The volume, the increase in speed, the pavement pounding, everything. And I even did it the right way, I was careful to never increase my speed and volume too much per week. And I didn't feel the effects of the training until well after the races were in the books, even though I feel that the races are where I cemented the injury but good. So I just kept pushing.
Now, I have developed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. And it hurts. More than I care to admit. I feel old, I feel defective.
And now I have to face the fact that I am probably sidelined for a while. I have to impose a hiatus on running (which, oddly, doesn't excite as much as I thought it would). I have to heal, because I at least want to be walking when I am old. And I look forward to the near future, when I can get out of bed at some insane hour to train, to race, to suffer, to rejoice.