Running to Recover

by Michelle Davis

Running is a huge part of my life for a variety of reasons: the social aspect, mental aspect and the health aspect. I also love to work on my whole well-being through weight training, yoga, an occasional bike ride and obstacle courses.

I am a huge fan of American Ninja Warrior and was always inspired to try the obstacles. I was very excited to find out a ninja gym opened in Clifton Park! The first time was a wonderful experience hanging from rings, tires and monkey bars. I also made it up the 12’ warped wall on the second try! Needless to say I was hooked and couldn’t wait to go back.

My second time there, I was determined to get up the 14’ warped wall. I was getting closer and closer then… bam! On the first step up with my left leg I heard a pop and felt a rip in my lower leg. When I landed I was surprised no one else heard the pop. At first, I was in denial that I heard and felt anything until I got up to start to walk. Then it hit me that I did something bad since I could barely put any weight on my leg.

I was lucky enough to get in to see the doctor the next day to find out the exact diagnosis. After an ultra sound he determined there was a small tear in the calf, no surgery needed (HUGE relief).  Unsurprisingly, my first question was “When can I run again?” The first week was the worst since I could barely hold myself up to walk. The second week I was stable enough to go to the gym to work on my upper body and core. The fourth week I was able to complete my first run/walk of 3 miles at the first Winter Series. It was very uncomfortable trying to find my rhythm as my whole body was thrown off. Towards the end of my fourth week my run/walk was much better and I was ready for something more. The beginning of my fifth week I completed my first run! 4 miles, straight through!

When I tore my calf I had a lot of support from friends, family and coworkers. From the time the injury happened until now, I experienced small wins and huge improvements every day. Throughout my recovery my coach, Matt Nark, encouraged me to try new exercises and find my range of motion with my leg. Many times (all the times) I was skeptical and too scared to try deadlifts, squats, lunges etc. All those times he was right in saying I CAN do those things. The feeling of finding out you can do something after not being able to, is one of the best feelings someone can experience. That’s why I really got into running in the first place, pushing boundaries of fitness and finding out you can.

This injury allowed me to find the appreciation of the small things like going up and down stairs, walking and even walking to the bathroom. It also allowed me to run with people I would not normally run with and experience runs in a different way by volunteering. Hopefully with continuous careful recovery, I will be able to be back to normal soon!

Michelle came in 1st Place Female Overall in the HMRRC Grand prix 2018!

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