Saturday, 21 November 2015

On Running and Not Running

Over the last two years I have slowly fallen out of love with running. I had a serious niggle in one hip that slowly became a serious niggle in both hips and now standing for too long or walking too far results in serous soreness.

I've known for a while that I've been making it worse by not stopping, by ignoring the pain and carrying on, but I'm stubborn and haven't been able to stop. I think I had a fear of not running, of not having that escape, but also a fear of being laughed at and my injury being seen as nothing and me being seen as a hypochondriac. It was actually almost a relief to be told that I should stop running because I then felt justified in my pain (and waddling gait).

Having had two months off now and still counting, I realise how heavily I identify with being a runner. I am a runner and running is my jam. I'm desperate to get back out there again and get some serious miles behind me. I'm desperate to sweat out the frustrations, stresses and worries of life so I can revel in the endorphins. I know I can get those endorphins from the gym, from yoga and from other types of exercise, but there's something special about that post-run feeling that the gym never quite reaches.

Running is my crowning glory and my main achievement. If I don't have running and the ability to run races and chase down a new personal best, then what do I have? Although I'm aware that there are probably things I'm achieving all the time, none of them quite register with me. I've never felt as good as I DID when I crossed the finish line of the Taunton Half Marathon in April 2013 in a time of 1 hour 54. Nothing has ever come close to that rush of emotion.

There are a lot of things about me that suggest I shouldn't be a runner. I certainly do not have the physique of a runner: I'm short and a little on the chubby side, but I have powerful thighs, a strong core, and glutes so solid I shocked the physio (that was a proud moment). The utter shock on people's faces when I tell them I enjoy running half marathons is, aside from a little insulting, always a source of amusement for me.

I've run up mountains in Tuscany, through parks in Amsterdam, along the river in Glasgow, around Central Park, and past the White House; if I could I would run in every place I visit. Running takes you places, it lets you see things differently and experience a different side of a culture. It's my goal to run in every place I visit - whether that's in the UK or abroad - and I look forward to getting back to peak strength so I can realise this goal.

I'm determined not to have to find another sport. My determination has got me round many difficult routes, so it will definitely get me through this. I will run again and I will get that 1 hour 50 half marathon best that's been my goal ever since I realised it was plausible. I'm going to keep going to the physio and having pins stuck in me, I'll keep doing my stretches and exercises, I'll continue to cross-train and I will not run. A few months of not running is a small price to pay for a lifetime of post-run highs.

I'd love to hear if you've had similar experiences or have any thoughts on running! Let me know in the comments.


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