The 5 Stages of
Grief The Injured Runner
Denial ~ there is no injury. I mean, I have swelling, pain and cannot run without limping, but that does not mean this is an injury. When I’m lying in bed at night my shin throbs, but it’s really only throbbing because I’m dreaming about running. The pain that occurs during the first mile of the run is because I’m not warmed up. The pain that occurs during the last mile of the run is because I’ve run too fast… too slow… needed to warm up longer…. Listen people, this is simply a one-day event that seems to be repeating on a daily basis for 3…12…29 days in a row. Oh, and “this isn’t an overuse injury. I TOOK A BAD STEP!”
Anger ~ Sometimes known as the “WHY ME?” stage, the injured runner now looks around at all the other runners in their lives, who are proudly flaunting their RUN on Daily Mile, at the shoe store, or, the most grievous offence, running down the injured runner’s street. (Actually, why do you all have to run down my street? Seriously, there are other ways to bi-pass Lauderdale Drive, why is my street the one you MUST use?).
Bargaining ~ I will cut my mileage back to 4 miles at a time if it means I can just keep running a little. Just a little. “…not enough to get me high, just enough to keep me straight”.
Depression ~ It’s Sunday. Everyone in the entire world is running today, except me. I’m so sad, why bother with anything? Just give me some girl-scout cookies, a spoon, a jar of peanut butter, and leave me (the blank) alone.
Acceptance ~ It’s going to be OK. It doesn’t matter that I took a bad step. It just is something that happens sometimes. I can use Tony’s P90X Ab Ripper X to strengthen my core so I can run FAST when I come back. I can do bicep curls and modified pushups till the cows come home so I have a Gun Show worth showing. I can (hopefully) ride Orange Crush a few times a week. I can surely swim to maintain my cardiovascular fitness, and yes, it will be OK. Even if I have to stop doing everything all together and am allowed only to sit on my couch watching ESPN or LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK, I will get through this. That’s not “looking on the bright side”; it’s just a fact.
I have to admit. I might be able to verbalize the stage of acceptance; I’m not actually there. I am still in the earlier stages, hopping between anger, bargaining and depression. There are moments where I feel a glimmer of acceptance, but it’s usually right around then that one of those smug 10K runners jogs down my street.
The Kubler – Ross model known as the 5 stages of grief was first published in 1969. K – R acknowledges fully that every patient does not experience all stages, nor are they always experienced in order as described in the original publication.