Thursday, February 23, 2012

It’s Complicated…

Once upon a time, running and I had an easy relationship.  I woke up in the morning, threw on a pair of cotton sweatpants, laced up my $20 Champion shoes from Payless ShoeSource and hit the road.  Sometimes I could even run for two whole miles!  We were so happy together.  I wanted to run more and more, I never wanted to stop running!

Eventually, inevitably I suppose, we had our first big fight:  I sprained my ankle at mile 4 of a half-marathon.  I spent two weeks on crutches and feared that I would never run again.  I fretted constantly.  We’d only been together a few months, what if our relationship was so tenuous that it could be taken away, just like – snap! – that?  Venturing back into the street after our separation, I was flooded with relief.  Running still loved me.  We were meant to be together.

We kept spending more and more time together.  I bought wicking shirts, cute skirts and fancy, cushioned shoes.  I studied up on training plans and fueling strategies.  I ran a marathon.  I bought books about running and more shoes.  I wanted to be the very best runner I could be, so I did everything I could to bring running even closer to me.

That first fight, though, was followed by others – IT pain, tendonitis, sciatica and stress fractures.  My trust in running wasn’t broken, but I was starting to feel a niggling doubt in the back of my mind that hadn’t been there before.  Every injury meant more time away from running and more fear that maybe we weren’t meant to be together after all.  Slowly, I morphed from the exciting, carefree girl who was always ready to run into a woman desperately clinging to an increasingly troublesome relationship.

I felt the problem must be with me, so I made changes.  I ran more.  I ran less.  I cross-trained more.  I ran slower.  I ran faster.  I bought more shoes.  I stopped wearing shoes.  None of these changes brought any real relief, and I’ve actually begun to wonder if they’ve made things worse. 

My current yearlong foray into barefoot running has brought just as many injuries as all those heel-striking years.  At first, my midfoot strike was too exaggerated and I kept having to reduce mileage because of top of the foot pain. Eventually, I gave myself a nice little metatarsal stress fracture and it was back to the drawing board.  It’s safe to say that natural running didn’t come *ahem* naturally to me.

Determined to make barefooting work, I built my mileage slowly (again) and concentrated on my form (even more than before).  Like a bad penny that keeps turning up, though, there was a run-stopping pain as soon as I got to double digits, this time tendonitis on the outside of my ankle near the heel.  An odd spot, for sure, but a clear indication that I am still doing something wrong.  *sigh*

Crazy Running Feet

What’s a girl in love supposed to do?  I’ve had that ring on my finger for six years now and I want it all – marriage, kids, and a house with a white picket fence!  What I really, really, really want is to go back to those giddy early days, when running and I were destined for happily ever after.   But I think maybe running just wants to be friends.

What’s your relationship with running?

15 comments:

Char said...

We're not on speaking terms at the moment. And as much as I'd love to blame running, I have to blame myself. A two month bout of glandular fever (or something that tests positive to glandular fever) is standing in the way of our love affair. But the love still burns strongly. I'm in the pining stage at the moment.

Alma said...

Oh no. I'm sorry P! I wish I had an answer for you. Maybe someone in blogland has some wisdom or a magic wand? I just hope it all falls back into place nicely and that this was just a "rough patch."

Kate said...

I don't love that you're struggling with injuries, but the way you carried the metaphor through the post. So funny, so frustrating, and so so dead on. I hope you find your answers!

I'm a little irked with running right now...in an "it's not you, it's me" kind of way. I'm training for a 50k. It takes up a lot of time. It's made it near-impossible to do a lot of the other things I love. It's my fault; I jumped in too fast. We're spending too much time together...I just need my space. :)

Amanda@runninghood said...

I'm pretty dependent on running but lately I'm feeling like running is a little too demanding of my time and I'm ready to sit down with it and have a heart to heart. Not a break up...just letting running know that I want to see other people once Boston is over and done with. An open marriage kind of thing. :) Hope you figure things out.

ajh said...

Running and i love and hate each other. I think running has found out that I secretly like biking and swimming more and is paying me back for that thinking with slower times and weird injuries.

bobbi said...

We are still in honeymoon phase right now, me and my run. But my secret fear is that it'll all fall apart...I'm sorry it's so sucktacular for you right now - I hope you get it all figured out.

Tortuga_Runner said...

I noticed you said a recent injury began when you hit double digits. Perhaps consider limiting your relationship to single digits? All relationships thrive when you really know each other and yourselves.

My relationship with running right now is in the booty call phase. We don't have a whole lot of time for each other, but an unplanned quickie every few days seems too keep me coming back for more.

Christi said...

My running relationship is exactly like yours. I want to be a runner but I think it doesn't really like me or my body. But I keep trying and hoping that it will change.

The Jesse said...

My running relationship is very similar to yours; injury after injury after injury. I wish I knew what the magic fix is. Until then I just keep hoping that every time I make a change (run faster, run slower, run less, run more, cross train more, lose weight, adjust my form, etc.) it will be the right combination for me because I LOVE RUNNING and I don't want to break up with it!

kilax said...

I am sorry you are not in a good spot with running right now :( It's so frustrating when we love it and just want it to come naturally!

I land exactly like you do in that photo and have for years. I cannot seem to fix it (not that I have tried that hard!)

The Green Girl said...

Oh, I am so sorry, girl. Maybe you just need a 'cooling off' period and then you can dabble with being more than friends again?

Lancer!! said...

Sorry to hear about your running troubles, P. :-/ Running and I are coming up on our one (1) year anniversary and I have started noticing an intermittent sharp, stabbing needle-like pain in one heel. Not during the running, however. Guess I better see the doctor about it before it flares up too much.

I really miss cycling, though. Looking back at my logs I am always surprised at just how much cycling mileage I managed last year before I started focusing solely on running (pardon the pun). :-)

Best wishes for a speedy return to running, P!

-L.

Teamarcia said...

Try pretending you're just not that into running and tramp around with other sports for awhile. I'll bet running will come, well, running!
Running and I are like an old married couple. The love is there but the passion is mostly gone.

Medical Alert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julie Arts said...

I like Marcia's plan. Tramp around. HA!
I'm in a good spot with running right now - it's almost like back in the beginning - where things didn't always hurts. I've been waiting for a few years now for those runs to come back where I don't even notice my lower body...
and it's finally happened. All I can think about now is my lungs!