Nicole, sympathies. I really feel for you. I got a pelvic stress fracture five weeks before Comrades (ultra)Marathon this spring, having trained for it for eight months, and I was gutted. Frustration and anger and so on are normal responses, but try to get through those to a more positive frame of mind: "I WILL come back from this, even better" if you can - studies show that can actually help with healing.
1) Volunteering. See if you can help at the cross-country races - be part of the team even if you are not running. Having a team mate pop up shouting encouragement at key points can be really helpful. Mentor/coach younger runners, as suggested above. And if you're not already involved with your local parkrun, get involved and volunteer there as well.
2) Is there some cross-training you've always neglected, even though you know it would help your running, such as swimming, or cycling, or weights or Pilates or Yoga? Now's the best time to try it, while you're not risking affecting your race performances through being tired/having sore muscles or whatever.
3) Choose a non-running project that you've not done because you're busy with the running, and do it. Preferably one with a specific goal so you can tell yourself "I didn't run in the cross-countries but I did do X that season."
4) Meditation. A useful skill that will help you cope with this and other things, and may even assist with making your running even better in the future. Start with 5 minutes, aim to reach 20 or 30 minutes.
5) Mindfulness. Doesn't work for me, but might work for you.
Congrats all on those races. RR, I hope the Achilles gets sorted soon. Terry, good to hear your calf strain didn't reappear.
At this rate I'll be having to go run Manchester again for my qualifier. Rather do the New Forest one in February... And I have to actually bite the bullet and enter Comrades (or not???) in the next month. See what the scan shows me and then make some decisions.
Becca, that's reassuring, but I'm worried how I'm supposed to work back up in terms of both distance and speed if every time I try to do so I get a stress fracture... Maintaining fitness isn't a problem, seriously - it's not fitness holding me back each time, it's trying not to increase mileage and speed too rapidly. I honestly thought I was being sensible. I worked up to a 21.5 mile run, then I decreased the mileage while doing some shorter fast runs - thought that would be okay, but obviously it didn't work.
Terry: Hope you have a good run at Chelmsford, whatever your finish time.
Sadly, I won't be running Beachy Head marathon on 29th, nor a marathon this side of the New Year, and I may have to put my Comrades plans on hold again: I ran a fast parkrun on Saturday (0nly 12 seconds outside my PB), went for a little job on Sunday and felt a sudden pain in my right foot after about 1.5 miles. Nothing on x-ray but classic clinical signs of a metatarsal stress fracture: pain on pressure over the third metatarsal and I totally fail the hop test (as in, I'm not even prepared to TRY to hop). Very, VERY frustrated. Bone density scan next week after which I'll have more idea whether I have a real problem with low bone density or have just been very unlucky. I know I did more speedwork in the last few weeks but I'd also dropped my mileage quite a bit...
Hi Marty: yes, I've run Beachy Head before, although that was in 2012 when I was at my fittest so I expect to be slower. Sausage rolls are useless to me: I'm vegetarian!
I ran Manchester in the inaugural race, memorable for all the wrong reasons: 4 degrees Centigrade before windchill, gale-force winds, rain and hail. And a total mess with the luggage (I was lucky - my stepmother took me there, stayed and had my kit). Playing with hypothermia on that one did however mean that I took the warnings seriously for SDW50 the following year and had enough layers (and proper waterproofs) with me - I looked like a drowned rat on the photos but I was okay temperature-wise.