One of the darkest times of my life was when I had stopped running due to my foot injury, and then a few weeks later realized that I wasn't going to be able to run anytime soon. When I initially stopped running, I had assumed that I would go to the Doc and get some help and be back to running soon.
It didn't work out quite like that.
After a month or so, when it really started to sink in, that I wasn't going to be returning to running I was depressed. I had been running almost every day for the previous three years. Suddenly I wasn't able to run at all.
I had always heard people say that one of the most important things was your health, but I didn't understand that until I had an injury that directly and permanently affected my everyday health. It totally makes sense to me why professional athletes have a hard time stepping away when the time comes. I know why football players with concussions want to get back to playing as soon as possible. Admitting that an injury or age has permanently limited you is scary.
I've been able to return to as a runner, in a much more limited fashion. I only run a couple of times a week. I wear custom shoe inserts all the time and keep ice on my ankle after running. I'm slower than I used to be and really can't run more than about 3 or 4 miles at a time.
While injuries definitely suck, I did get to run around the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, along the beaches in Mexico and Texas, and in sunny California last year. I make the runs count! Going to do more awesome runs this year.