Wednesday, June 06, 2018

National Running Day

Today is National Running Day. Yes, those of us whom run know that there is such a thing. Last year I tried to ignore posts on FB as friends and pages I like showed how much they loved to run. It was painful to feel pained while seeing them. I felt filled with envy, with hurt, with depression and anxiety. I felt a whole lot of things that I didn’t want to feel. I was kind of embarrassed of myself that I felt so low regarding not actively running.  I learned that I was more than a runner. I didn't realize how much I was wrapped up in the way I identified myself as a runner.  I let the feelings come, I cried, I went for an easy walk. I remember the day clearly. It was rough. Kind of like National Dog Day when I no longer have a Topaz.

I had a rough year. I had to learn to be ok with not running. I learned to be ok with not being a runner, with not identifying myself as a runner. I had been a runner for many years and not being a runner hurt me deeply. I truly felt that I wouldn’t run again. I had to be ok with it. I had to move on. I did. I learned that  I could. I learned that I could be sober and not be a runner. I never thought about drinking during this time period. 

I moved on, I learned to embrace not running. I learned to no longer pine away for it. To no longer force it.  I tried other activities. Hot yoga. Painting. Hiking. Knitting. All to fill the time, the void, I had in my life due to not running. It was hard but I had to move on. I had to cry, feel the feels, let them go and move on.

I ran a total of 7 miles last year. Every day I tried to run. Every day I wasn’t able to run. My feet hurt or my knees hurt or my hips hurt or my back hurt. Every damn thing hurt. It was crazy. I cried as I would stop after running a few steps .. and walk. At least I could walk.

I tried CrossFIt again and hurt my damn knee during a 15 minute box jump workout. Oh jeeze. I couldn’t believe it. Now I couldn’t walk or hike either. Unreal.

Hot yoga helped. I could stretch and sweat. I jumped into 5 classes a week. At least it was something. I changed my outlook. I no longer cringed when I saw others running along the road. I was no longer envious.  I was able to be happy for them. I remembered the happiness I used to feel while running. It was good. I was glad I had been able to feel that joy from running.

When others would ask about running I would say I was cutting back, when in fact I wasn’t running at all..but I didn’t know how to say that. I thought it would make them uncomfortable and they would ask more questions I didn’t want to answer. After 6 months I simply said ‘I’m no longer running’. Ugh. Not easy. 

Over the winter I tried a few knitting classes. I learned, I knitted, I spent hours in the chair, knitting.

Finally snow came…for some reason I decided to get on my snowshoes and hike. I wanted fresh air. I was tired of knitting.  My body didn’t hike. It ran. I was running on snowshoes for over 5 minutes. I was puzzled. How did I just run??

I was overjoyed but scared to be joyful over the 5 minutes I had just run on snowshoes.   The next day I tried a few more minutes running in the snow. Nothing hurt. A few days later I tried it again. Wow, 8 minutes total running out of 45 minutes walking. SCORE!

The ice storms hit and the trails became treacherous. I looked at my trusty treadmill. It has thousands of miles on it. It had been waiting for me for over a year. I started it and walked 8 minutes, then ran 2 minutes. Nothing hurt. I did it again. And again. Nothing hurt. Wow. I was overjoyed but scared. The pain could still come.

Fast forward 6 months. I  am a runner. Tears fall from my cheeks as I type out those words. I didn’t think  I would ever use them to describe myself again. I am a runner. I love running. I LOVE RUNNING. How can I love an act? How can I feel so deeply about the act of running?  I don’t know…but I LOVE running. It encompasses me like a friendly warm blanket. Unless it is a hot humid summer, then it is a fresh cool breeze. Yup, running is all that is good.  It is kind of absurd, unless you are a runner..then you know. 

Vacations are planned around races, camping around runs, I use vacation time to get in a long run some mornings…oh how I love it. I know that we wouldn’t have visited the places we have if I hadn’t been a runner. I wouldn’t have had the experiences that I have had if I wasn’t a runner. I wouldn’t have the friends I have had  if I hadn’t been a runner.

My knees aren’t swollen, my inflammation is low, I’m eating an anti inflammatory diet, I am taking cold baths, I am hydrating fully but  not too much, I am fueling my body…so that I can run and not become injured. That is my goal.

I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself, not looking for race goals or time goals or any of that.  I’ve been there and done that and loved it. It made me who I now am.  I am  just being myself, enjoying myself, enjoying running, while I run. I do strive to find the line between enough and too much, that is what I am on the look out for. I don’t want to snuggle up too closely to that line and I certainly don’t want to cross it. I am no longer afraid of it though. I need to learn to manage myself so that I am fully aware of the line. Sometimes I ignore it, sometimes I become too fixated on a goal and I cross it. I would rather not do that again.

Morton's neuroma in my left foot will need to be surgically removed as done in my right. It hasn't changed at all without running. It is still there, letting me know of its presence. I am wearing the toe separator and wide Altra shoes which really help. 

I am so black and white. So all or none. I have to wonder if my mind wasn’t able to allow any running for some time. If it had to be none. I don’t know. I don’t know.

National Running Day. I am a Runner. I am happy to be a Runner. I am grateful to be a Runner and to now know that I am so much more than just that!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hmmm, I already commented, but not sure where it went ... into a cyberspace loop?

I found your blog researching running after hysterectomy, specifically ultra running.

Last fall I did my first ultra, I thought I trained so hard for being a newbie, but come race day my bladder plagued me. I knew a few hours in that it wasn’t just “ nervous per syndrome”. I finished the 12hr loop race with 42 miles, 8 shy of my realistic training goal. A few weeks later I ran a slow marathon and then had some family issues that thwarted my training.

I signed up for a spring marathon but struggled still with my bladder on long runs. I ended up bailing on the marathon and going to the dr instead. Turns out I had a big ole tumor attached to my uterus and surgery was in my future. I’m now 10 days post-op and walked my first continuous mile today. I know I could have gone another, but will wait for my 2-week check in a few days. Dr knew I was a runner and told me he thought I would be good to run in 6 weeks and good to sign up for a 5k walk at 4 weeks post-op.

It’s tough having an ultra mindset. Limitations for normal people just don’t ring the same true for ultra junkies. I don’t want to push to hard too fast, but it’s hard to just take it easy.

I’ve read several of your posts and appreciate your perspective. You are so brave to share so frankly and I take inspiration from you.

I look forward to reading more!