Monday, November 22, 2010

Now What?

I shared the doctor's news with my husband and my running partner.  At this point I wasn't sure if I was going to follow his recommendations or throw caution to the wind and run the race anyway.  As far as I was concerned even a DNF (did not finish) was more favorable than DNS (did not start), right?  I am not a quitter.  It certainly wouldn't be my best race but the least I could do is give it a shot.  If worse came to worse, I could run the 15K instead of the 50K.  I had invested so much time and energy into this race that the last thing I wanted to do was throw it all away.  I decided to try a little run. If it felt okay, I'd go for it. If it didn't, I'd be pissed as hell but would accept the fact that I would not be able to run this race.

The next day I optimistically suited up for a run.  God, how I missed running.  I hit the bark chip path by my house and took it nice and easy.  Less than a mile of slow painful lumbering, all my race hopes were snuffed out.  Last month I ran a marathon.  A few weeks ago I ran 23 miles on trails.  Today, the week before my highly anticipated, totally paid for and planned 50K, I couldn't even run a mile.  The closest I would get to this race this year would be as a spectator cheering on my running partner and other gals that I knew that would be running that day.

The last four weeks of not running had been excruciating.  I wasn't seeing and running with the amazing, fun women I run with once or twice a week.  I wasn't getting the exercise I needed and sure as hell wasn't getting the endorphen rush that I've come to rely on.  Seeing runners and hearing about their running turned me into a sulky green eyed monster prone to nasty verbal outbursts.  Jealousy is not an emotion that I'm accustomed to nor one that I do well.  I tried to suck it up and to be happy for those fortunate ones who could still run.  This didn't work so well.  It just didn't feel authentic to commiserate with my husband when he had a tough run or a friend who was jumping out of her skin because she was tapering.  What were they complaining about?  At least they got to run!  I wanted to run but honestly didn't know if I would ever be able to do so again.

I tried distancing myself from anyone and everything remotely related to running.  I isolated myself from others, hid facebook running contacts and blogs, tucked away my running logs, books, magazines, posters, jewelry, clothing and even music.  While it felt good not having running stuff broadside me when I was least suspecting, I felt more alone than I had ever felt before. My own husband and many dear friends are runners.  Suddenly any social interactions with runners felt awkward.  No one could say the right thing to me.  Don't ask me about my injury because it's still there. Don't ask me about my running plans because I don't know what they are.  Don't tell me I'm lucky to still be able to swim and bike because that's not how it feels.  Don't tell me I'll be back running because you don't know that that's a possibility.  Don't tell me you about your runs, prior injuries, inspirational stories or quotes.  This not only didn't work but turned me into a person I was ashamed to be.

Running, running, running. I couldn't seem to escape it.  It was all the buzz.  I must have been so annoying with all my stories of races, runs, athletes, running gear, books, training not to mention my upteen million facebook status updates around running.  Sheesh, running ad nauseum!  I was so over it.  Now all I needed to do was to find some other way to occupy my time and energy.  It was time for me to separate from running and find myself a new addiction, one that I daresay might even be more satisfying than running.

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