Today is my Almost Two Month Anniversary of No Running. Seven weeks and 5 days to be exact. Of no running. Zero. Nada. Not a step. Lame-o. Not the best anniversary to “celebrate.”
Actually I lied, I threw in a 30 minute jog about 6 weeks ago to see if my foot magically undid 7 months of pissed-offness in a few days, but no dice.
So yeah, like I was saying, zero. Nada. Not a step. Lame-o.
But for some reason, it’s not so bad this time around. I’ve had more than my fair share of injuries over the years, everything from the most common kind that you just kind of manage to hobble through for a few weeks, to the less common requiring more prolonged amounts of time off, even a surgical intervention thrown in for good measure.
I would venture to guess that a safe estimate would be that roughly 92% of my own setbacks are generally stupidity-and-stubbornness induced, but to be fair, sometimes my body doesn’t always seem to boast particularly spectacular durability–at least, not relative to what I expect from it–or stellar biomechanics for that matter. So at times those factors tend to put a damper on my enthusiasm to run hard on every run and gleefully pile on as many miles as I can, which, as I am coming to figure out, isn’t always ideal anyway. But the thing is, I used to get legitimately angry at myself for not being able to do as much as I felt I “should” be able to do. To me, it was unacceptable, like a huge flaw or a failure or shortcoming. Add that to the fact that when you’re perpetually surrounded by elite runners logging big miles followed by even bigger performances, you get to feeling, in a way, downright inferior. Not that we should be comparing ourselves to each other but…damn you, human nature. But it can seem as though nothing’s ever enough, and having one great training week or race only leads me to demand an even better one from myself the subsequent week, and so on, every week of every month of every year. And when that course of action inevitably fails then well, hell hath no fury like that of a runner thwarted by their own body.
But I dunno, this time it’s like, what did Ron Burgundy say? “Honestly, I’m not even mad. That’s amazing!” I don’t feel slighted, or like I had nothing to show for any work that was done, or like I got jipped, or like I’m done. It’s just like, okay, here’s another bump along the Road of Running, and it’s occasionally frustrating, but we’ll get over it, even if it takes longer than anticipated, and continue on and be fine, because that’s how it always ends up.
I know that shouldn’t be anything to get excited over. It should be the typical, healthy response that anyone should elicit toward any setback, yet it is such an opposite mental/emotional response than what I am used to from myself that it’s actually kind of freaking me out. I keep waiting for the Dark Cloud of Runless Despair to descend upon me and blind me to the point where I cannot differentiate between my minor, temporary, so-called “problem” that I get to deal with versus, say, living in Ebola-stricken west Africa.
Don’t get me wrong, being sidelined is never fun if you enjoy what you do. It’s disappointing. It sucks to be in the midst of the most beautiful fall I think I’ve ever seen in Colorado (which is saying something), and reading up on everyone’s amazing performances at all the marathon and trail races across the country, many of which I fully intended on being in, and instead having to plan in huge chunks of time everyday to cross train and do PT stuff, not having any cool workouts or races in the foreseeable future, and not to mention going broke from getting treatment, then factor in the even more depressing thought of rebuilding your running self once you’re back out there. It’s a long road, and it’s a lot to potentially get salty about. But this time there is an absence of–not to be too terribly melodramatic here but I’ll admit it–borderline crippling depression and feelings of complete worthlessness and inadequacy that come as a consequence of wrapping yourself too tightly up in something that you only have so much control over and is ultimately fleeting anyway. I think that sort of sums up the feeling adequately.
I can’t ever remember this sort of acceptance–or maybe my psyche is disguising apathy as acceptance…God I hope not, but I can’t really tell–while dealing with a setback, usually I fight it to the point of making myself pretty needlessly miserable. But I don’t know if I should be glad or terribly concerned that this is the case.
Sure, I feel less like myself sans running, less “whole” so to speak, but instead of having my usual freak-out fest of “Will-I-Ever-Run-Again-Why-Not-Right-Now-When-When-When-Why-Me-This-Sucks-I’m-Quitting-This-Dumb-Sport-Because-It’s-Too-Unfair-I-Don’t-Care-About-It-Except-Clearly-I-Do-Or-I-Wouldn’t-Be-Throwing-Such-A-Fit-Over-It,” it’s just kinda like, why make it any harder than it has to be? Why dwell on what you “should” be able to do “if only”? Or on what you’re “losing” or missing in the meantime? It doesn’t help. It won’t make you heal any faster. The point is, you are where you’re at, and you can’t do anything about it other than just roll with it and accept what your limitations were this time around. And limitations aren’t static, if you address them right, you might be able to up the ante on what you were not able to do this season, next season. And even if you can’t, you at least know what you have to work with so you can be a bit smarter and more effective with it next time. Regardless, you’ll live to run another day. On top of that, there almost always ends up being a silver lining in there somewhere, even if you have to get suuuuper creative and imaginative to find it.
Anyway, it appears that the injury bug has bitten a great many runners lately, so I am seeing a little more injury-induced despair than usual filling up my few silly social media sources, so I’ve been feeling the need to get a little bit Positive Pollyanna Rah-Rah all up in here. Hopefully it hasn’t been too nauseating.