Not Letting Running Run My Life
70 mile run weeks and climbing. Feels great!, tackling epic new routes, heading for that big PR. Then tragedy strikes in the form of a piece of wood from my hardwoods piercing the ball of my foot. A damaged tendon and problem after problem followed, and now here I am 10 weeks later, not running.
The first five weeks of this injury I went through a debilitating depression, having my stress relief and social time taken from me by a piece of wood. I couldn't walk without pain and had no one to talk to, all my friends were running. It was hard and I wasn't sure how to escape it without the one thing that has always provided me relief, running.
Then my eyes started to open.... Not running is not the end of the world. I started going to the gym more often, swimming and doing the elliptical. I started strength training at home on a regular basis. I found TV shows that I enjoyed and started reading all the books on my reading list. I took my dog to the dog park, created new recipes, and most importantly, I started saying yes when people wanted to do things.
As time went on I began to realize that I had letting running take over my life for the past 7 years. How many times have I uttered the phrase "Sorry, I can't, I have to run." I don't remember those runs, and the race(s) I was training for have faded from memory. You know what else I don't remember???, the experience I would have had had I said "Yes" to whatever it was I turned down.
I had let running become the entirety of my social time, and on the occasions I did things outside of running, all we talked about was running; what the weather meant for a race, what training runs a person had coming up, what paces people were running. Texting each other about running, snapchatting about running, instagramming about running, etc. So when I couldn't run anymore, many friendships became awkward because all we knew was running. It was a time for a change.
I began to make it a point to talk to people and steer conversations away from running, instead finding other common ground to connect on. I began to say "Yes" when people invited me to do things. I began to make plans for myself that had nothing to do with a race or a run I wanted to do. I slept in, started going to the symphony, and started going out with friends. These are memories I will keep and relationships that will last.
So even if my foot does heal and I can run again, I do solemnly swear I will never again utter the words "Sorry, I can't, I have to run". Running is great and an important part of my life (hopefully I can get back soon) but I can not let it control my life again. I will not put running ahead of my friendships, having experiences, or making plans for the future.
So my words of wisdom to take or leave as you will: don't let that training run, that training plan, that race, become your whole life. Lest you find yourself with no-one to do things with or nothing to talk about when it is gone.