Carpenter: When injury strikes


It never fails.

And it truly is my own fault.

I always get injured at least once during a marathon training cycle and I always get sick.

I say it every time, but I never embrace the remedy - cross training.

But this time is different.

I will embrace the following two words: cross train - because I have to.

I was scheduled to run 20 miles last weekend and it didn't happen.

To say I'm bummed and disappointed would be an understatement. I've got a pulled hamstring and groin.

I had the flu.

The stars are just not in alignment with a 20-mile run.

I am the master at dishing out advice to my friends when they get injured.

But when it comes to myself?

It's not so pretty.

How do you overcome an injury and not let it crush your goals?

Well, I usually start by calling my mommy.

Yes, I call my mom in tears. She says all of the right things that usually start with, "Oh honey..."

Then, I call my dad and he reminds me it's not the end of the world, I've still got plenty of training time and we'll just rework my training plan.

Finally, I admit it to my husband. His response is always, "I told you so." And fiddlesticks if he isn't right!

And then I talk to my running girls who know what I need but not necessarily want to hear.

The reality is that when you do one activity all of the time, you really aren't getting stronger or becoming the well-rounded person that you could be. This time, I need to embrace cross training to become a better runner. I need to embrace it because I'm not getting younger and my whole body deserves the attention.

I won't be waiting to do this until after Boston. I will be starting now. Each week will include one spinning class and/or one step aerobics, stability ball or swimming.

The thought of swimming makes me want to vomit, but I feel like it is time to suck it up and face my fears.

It will be a learning curve so I just have to do it.

I have a hard time changing things up. Putting on my shoes and heading out the door is so convenient and easy to do. I "know" running. Doing these other activities pushes me out of my comfort zone and works muscles I rarely tax.

My kids have taken their bikes down for the spring, so I hope to get some bike rides in with them.

My mom and husband are training for a half marathon in June, so I plan to tag along with them on their training miles.

I may even bike with my dad as his co-pilot when he goes on his long runs.

My dog is on the mend from her knee surgery, so we have already started some new exercises for her.

I have lots of plans.

Here's the other thing; these "goals" are in print: (a.k.a. facebook, blog and now the newspaper!) Talk about accountability!

It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn each year and especially during my training cycles and big goals. They almost never turn out as I planned, and yet they turn out just right.

I have to believe that cross training is going to help me reach my goal of getting to Boston strong, healthy and able. After all, Boston is just one drop in my bucket. I've got a lifetime to think about. I want to enter my 40th year looking and feeling fabulous in all areas of my life, not just with my running shoes on!

Michelle Carpenter is writing a series of columns for the Union-Bulletin as she prepares to run the Boston Marathon. Follow her training on her blog,


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