A time to recover.

I’m finding it hard to tell you.  Hard to say.  You’ve known what running means to me.  I haven’t held back in detailing how it heals me, allows me to cope with what life throws at me.  How the woods bring me back to life and give me the room I need to howl out in pain when necessary.  How I feel most myself, most alive, when running free on a wooded trail.

And that’s gone.  All gone, for now.  For three weeks and one day, and for many more days to come.

Until I heal.  Until I can honestly run pain-free.  Because my method of coping in the last 12 months has been so unhealthy.  It has led to me walking in pain every single day, snarling like a bear with a thorn in its paw.  I knew what I was doing was nuts, but I told myself it was my only way of coping.  I was wrong.

After the Roller Coaster Run, I ran twice.  The pain had not changed (funny that!).  Even after I bought a new pair of running shoes.  So I agreed to take two weeks off running.  To allow my plantar faschia and tibialis posterior the time they needed to heal.  To strengthen myself.

So, instead of running 50km a week, here’s what I’ve been doing. Swimming 1k twice a week.  Teaching 3 BodyPump classes.  Doing cardio on the Elliptical Trainer or my bike twice a week.  I’ve been doing lots of calf raises, single-leg squats, and exercises to strengthen gluteus medius and the gluts.  I’ve felt healthier than I have in ages.  I can feel my muscles coming back, the ones that had been eaten away by too much running.

Do I miss it?  I miss my woods and trails with an ache I am unwilling to study too closely.  But I don’t miss every single step hurting.  I don’t miss feeling obsessed and willing to run through injury.  I don’t miss forcing myself out when my body really has had enough.

Running had overtaken me.  Instead of being a cure, it had become an illness, or, at least, a pathway to illness.

So this period of my life is about healing.  Healing mind and body, and coming back strong, stable, and light on my feet.  This is strangely (at times) okay.  I’m playing the piano more, thinking about writing my next novel, and trying to be a little more aware of the sane voice inside my head that says, ”no”.

I know I’ve been quiet since the Roller Coaster Run.  For the first time in a while, that quiet hasn’t been a whitewater.  It has been a calmness.  A centering.  A trying to feel myself again, to hear myself and what my body needs.

In time, I will run free and fast again, but that time is not now.

This is a time to recover.

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4 thoughts on “A time to recover.

  1. Best wishes for a healthy path to running . . . I’ve found that working with a Feldenkrais movement coach has really helped me toward this goal. Also: walking barefoot on trails (when it hurts to run), never fails to cheer me up. Going slowly this way allows for lots of time to notice and appreciate all my fellow creatures that share this beautiful wild world. Happy trails!

    • Thank you so much! I wish I could walk barefoot – it hurts too much at the moment so I’m in padded shoes. Huge change from feeling every step. I shall have to be present in other ways and your message is a great reminder of that. Thank you!

  2. I can relate to this at the moment! I have written a couple of blog entries lately about this myself. Saw a specialist today who says I really need to break the cycle and that means no running, riding, gym work or long walks for a number of weeks. As a personal trainer it makes it very hard, but like you, I am okay with this at the moment. More family time, yoga, swimming and strengthening my upper body. When I do return to the running that I love I will be more appreciative of it and have more respect for my wonderful body and its capabilities. Enjoy your rest x Hopefully we will both be back out there before we know it! Thanks for sharing.

    • I hope you heal quickly and that we both gain wisdom and full health from our similar experiences. Thanks for writing and sharing your experience – from someone in a similar situation it is really helpful.

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