Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Missing running

It's kind of strange how I'm starting to get used to not running. For the last five years, running has been as big a part of my life as brushing my teeth! In 2010, once I got past that initial "I hate this, why am I doing this, I'm going to quit running as soon as I finish that 5K I signed up for..." attitude, it was like I just couldn't stop. I was hooked on it!

My first race: Ragnar Relay Great River 2010
I've dealt with a couple of knee injuries (during most of 2012), but I (stupidly) ran through the pain and eventually was fine again (they would have healed much faster if I hadn't run through the pain). So this is definitely the longest I've ever gone without a run. Any time I would go for more than two days without a run, it became really obvious that I was needing it. I would get really crabby and irritable, and feel pretty restless. Running kept my sanity.

After a couple of years of running consistently 3-5 times per week, I realized I never wanted to stop. It did awesome things for my mind and body, and I was really thrilled that I stuck out the tough beginning to get to where I was.


I love identifying as a runner. I love feeling like one of those "elite people" (or so I used to think of them) that can just head out for an "easy 10 miler" on a Sunday morning. I love that running has become the "easy" sport, and I'd rather do it than any other form of exercise. I love that running allows me to burn thousands of calories, so I can eat the foods I love without gaining back the 100+ pounds I lost.

My favorite race picture of all time. I've posted
this no less than 276 times on my blog. 

It's been five and a half weeks since my last run, which ended halfway through a long run, due to ongoing ankle pain. The first two weeks off from running were torture. I was thinking about running pretty much every moment of the day, and I felt horribly guilty for not running. Once I started deep water running in the pool, I felt a little better, but I don't get all of those "love-y" feelings I mentioned above when I deep water run.

I miss running. I miss thinking about running. I miss writing out training plans. I miss setting time goals, and reaching for them. I miss racing. I miss planning races. I miss that little connection, or bond, I felt with other runners.

I know it's only been less than six weeks, but I don't even feel like a runner anymore. It's not the first thing I think of when I wake up in the mornings. I don't plan my days around running, or fit running into my days. It's actually almost scary when I realize that I don't even really think much about running anymore.

I think I'm mostly scared that this injury is going to push me right back to the 253-pound couch potato I was just 6 years ago. After I started running, and I'd lost the weight, my weight has certainly had its ups and downs--bouncing around a 25-pound range between 130 and 155 several times (even a few pounds higher on a bad day). That's nothing new. But the one thing that stayed very consistent was my dedication to running, and training, and setting goals for racing. Even if I gained back all the weight, I would at least have running.

Logically, I know that my stress fracture will heal, and I won't be forever sidelined from running. I realize I'm being a little dramatic. I'm just afraid of getting so far out of the habit that I won't be able to get back into the habit once I'm able to run again. Make sense?

I hope this post doesn't sound whiney. I'm not trying to whine, just trying to explain this whole thought process. People are injured all the time, and I never think much of other people taking two weeks, six weeks, or even six months off from the sport. But now that it's happening to me, I'm trying to stay positive but still be realistic. Even if I have to take several months off, several months is nothing in the grand scheme of things. It just derails my running goals for 2015. This was going to be a great year for my running! Hopefully it still can be.

I'm hoping that by taking the time to heal, regardless of how long that is, I'll come back stronger than ever. And smarter. I've already been planning some changes: 1) Make cross-training a priority, even if it's just deep water running in the pool; 2) Make strength-training a priority, as much as I hate it; 3) Follow my training program right to the letter, and don't "squeeze in" races here and there. Pick a race and focus solely on that, training specifically for that; and 4) Make my "easy" runs truly easy. Even if the pace is embarrassingly slow, I will do them ridiculously easy.


To lighten this up a bit, I'll end with asking you all a question that Runner's World posted on Facebook recently: What's the most embarrassing thing to happen to you on a run?

Mine was definitely when I got home from a run and realized that I looked like THIS:


Haha! You can read the story here. :)

34 comments:

  1. Are you tracking? I think as long as you track and check in you can prevent backsliding, even without all those running calories you were slaughtering daily.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I am tracking, and I've realized that my body is much less forgiving when I overeat, now that I'm not running, so I have to be extra careful about my diet. That's been the hardest part for me!

      Delete
  2. Katie - I think you have a great perspective and WILL NOT give up on running. Maybe start the strength training now. It will be something new and you can make a plan and set some goals and that will help you keep that mindset and burn a few more calories too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! If you start doing some strength now (obviously not too much leg work that will hurt your fracture!) that will help prevent your stamina loss and keep you strong to dive back in!

      Delete
  3. Katie,
    Can you ride your bike or get a stationary bike? That would save your ankle and let you cross train.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's my 2nd favorite running picture of you. My favorite is the one on the top left of this blog, as it's the one that really inspires me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh man, I totally get it. Whenever I've been sidelined due to injury or illness, i am always POSITIVE each day I gain 50 pounds. Plus because I tend to eat my emotions, and ice cream/cheese and carbs are generally my go to's. Just keep reminding yourself you've done such awesome things and your body needs this break! (well, not BREAK, break, not fracture, but you know what I mean.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, Katie, I totally get what you're feeling right now. I had finally started to feel like a runner when I broke my ankle last summer- had surgery and pins put in. I felt like I'd never be able to run again, but 4 months later, I was back to it. If I can do it, anyone can- especially someone like you who's already accomplished so much!!! Hang in there!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't run since the end of July due to injury and I was running very high mileage before that (my last run was a 50 miler). I also was super scared about gaining weight not being able to run, but I have actually lost a few pounds while only being able to spin. Sometimes it's so boring I want to poke my eyes out, but at least I'm keeping some cardio up (although I've read pool running is a better way to go - so good job!). A break from running doesn't have to lead to weight gain. And hopefully it will be over for both of us soon!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Even though running is my "go to" favorite form of activity... I also feel that cross training and strength training are important to prevent injury and stay balanced. To make it easier and more fun I joined a gym and take the 9am class every day. The classes are different each day of the week and include spinning, kick boxing, and body blast (strength training). You may want to give some thought to taking classes. It makes the cross training more enjoyable. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I feel you sister!! Being an injured running sucks. You'll be back at it soon enough though. You should add some yoga to your routine. Try Erin Motz on YouTube. She's got great 10-20 minute videos of all types. I'm sorry your struggling with it but we are all cheering you on with your recovery! Now my goal is to prove the first doc wrong and get back to where I was and then even farther!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're not whiny, you're enormously brave (so what' s new?) in laying your feelings front and centre on the table. Absolutely strength training will benefit you. Can I recommend a kettle bell and Bob Harper's 2 KB training dvds? They are truly awesome, and KB work has phenomenal benefits and torches calories like crazy. And if you don't want to road bike, you can get a contraption that turns your road bike into a stationary bike (kind of like an aqua jogger!), park it in front of the tv and still be cardio fit while not stressing the ankle. But don't fear you'll lose your running mojo. I don't think anyone who visits you here thinks that will happen. Karen in Sydney.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I COMPLETELY get what you're saying about missing running. If I'm not laced up after about three days, I get in a panic, as though I've lost the mojo to run. (It always comes back to me.) Lately, I've noticed that my depression is winning over my drive to run. Knowing that means knowing that I have to fight it.

    You are not whining, you are defining.

    Also, red 11 was my most embarrassing moment. Long run, white shirt, bleeding nipples, and not discovering it until I was inside the restaurant where I was meeting my wife for lunch.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I dont have much to tell about you except this that you are doing well...keep it up

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for the great read this morning. Keep up the fight. I sometimes feel the same way when I get scared I am injured. I don't want to stop. I have lost 115 pounds and don't want to be that same person either. Thanks for being a motivator. You were the first blog I read about weight loss, Weight Watchers and running. it makes it better because I am from Michigan too.

    Hopefully I can meet you at the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I understand the fear of losing the "habit". I got really burned out on running last year. And I've cut back. I normally *love* winter running and now I have to talk myself into taking the first step out of the door. I'm struggling to find the happy medium where I'm not burned out, but I'm also running "enough". I think you'll fight your way back. I can't wait to see how committing to cross training affects your running/fitness.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You hated running at first, maybe you'll learn to tolerate strength training? I used to hate it, but I like the results, so I ended up liking it (if that makes any sense?).

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really don't think your whining and as someone already said, you are brave for sharing yourself. Running is now apart of you and your personality, you will get back to it! And yes, you need to cross-train, it can suck but is worth it. Strength training isn't so bad and I now love it. I love how strong I can be!
    -Kim

    ReplyDelete
  17. I know what you mean. My most embarrassing moment wasn't when I was running, but it caused me to stop running for a while. I was finally feeling like a runner, just started the sixth week of C25K and was getting healthier, and decided to go for a walk during my lunch hour at work when I stepped on an uneven part of sidewalk and sprained my ankle, hurting my back and scraping my elbow. I actually almost ended up in the Maumee River because the sidewalk is along the river. Two cute guys came over to make sure I was okay, then I had to walk the half mile back to my office limping and bleeding with my pants torn. After I went to the doctor, I had to walk with a boot cast and it threw my back out and I ended up with pinched nerves and slipped discs. I'm currently working to lose weight again before I go running again, but your blog inspires me EVERY DAY to do the best I can and motivates me to lose weight in order to start running again. You WILL be back to your old self!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for having the courage to be vulnerable with thousands of strangers. I am inspired by your honesty as you reveal your fears to so many of us. That helps me.
    To run injury free, I'm sure you have lots of ideas. I'll suggest Jason Fitzgerald's program that you can find at strengthrunning.com. I have found his wisdom to be extremely valuable.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think the biggest key for me has been finding other activities. I was told I could not run due in large part to my large body and my poor knees. I was putting to much impact on them. Switching it up to water zumba, yoga, and just walking is helping me get back on track. Find things you love. That seemed like what running was for you, something that became a passion. Find other things that make you feel that way. Good luck. Hope you heel soon!

    ReplyDelete
  20. You're still part of the elite because the elite get injured and have to take time off, too. :) Have you seen the movie, Spirit of the Marathon? Your injury and water running posts TOTALLY remind me of Deena Kastor in that movie.

    As for my most embarrassing running moment, it was when I was on mile 12 of my first half marathon and I pee'd my pants. I was mortified. I've heard since then that it's not uncommon for that to happen.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hilarious picture! I identify so much with your fear of returning to that morbidly obese person you were before. With every pound I see lately, going up on that scale, I worry and obsess about going back there. I think you have done a great job compensating for not running by discovering the water activity. Do you have a clue how many calories water-running burns? I just know swimming is terrific exercise.
    I don't run, as you know, but I walk. Once on a 2.4 mile walk, when I was at the turn-around point (that is, 1.2 miles from home), all of a sudden, I needed to go, and I needed to GO BAD! I turned back towards home and tried to walk quickly, but running only made it worse. Finally it just happened. Thank goodness I live in the country and met no one else on my way home. Another fortunate aspect was that the shorts I had on were brown, or as I called them, "poop-colored."

    ReplyDelete
  22. I didn't know if you're familiar with Gretchen Rubin's work on habits. Her website is www.gretchenrubin.com. It's fascinating and has helped me understand my own nature and thereby understand how habits are developed and maintained. For example, she has a post that talks about how 21 days to habit formation is a myth. You can do something years (like not smoke), but then something happens and you start smoking again. You might just poke around there for inspiration....My most embarassing running story is similar to "dupster's" comment above, but I was actually running a 10K race. I left in such a rush that I got caught by our city's red light camera, so on top of the sheer embarrassment, I had to pay $100 for running a red light (that I would have sworn was mostly yellow!). Talk about adding insult to injury!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I feel you, Katie. I stopped running and setting running goals when I found out I was pregnant last Spring. Now that baby is here, I'm waiting to recover from my c-section. Running is still not going to happen for me for a while. Silver lining: at least we are out of commission during the winter! Maybe by Spring we will both be enjoying the nice weather and a run, even if it's not a hard one. I miss the goals, the challenge, the rewards and the sense of accomplishment. Running is more than exercise. We'll get there again!

    ReplyDelete
  24. If it helps, I am a comptetitve swimmer that LOOOOOOVES swimming the same way you do running. I hurt my shoulder (repititive overuse injury) really badly a few years ago and the physio made me stop swimming for a few months. Like you initially I was dying without it, but started doing yoga while I was broken and then started to feel like it was actually a nice break and wasn't missing the swimming at all. Magically physio fixed my shoulder, and once I knew I wouldn't be in pain I got back in the pool, even though it felt more like a should do, instead of a want to do at the time, once I was back it was like I remembered again all the things I loved about swimming and all that stuff came rushing back. I think what you're feeling is pretty normal, and once you can run again you'll feel the same. I imagine that it's being able to stop thinking about that one thing you love to do, that defines you as a person, but CAN'T do right now is actually a psychological defense mechanism. Your brain is letting you be ok with no running because you can't do it right now, when your body knows you're allowed to run again, all the feelings will come back too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I feel your pain. I'm nearly 5 months pregnant, and after running the Chicago Marathon 2 days before I found out I was pregnant, I'm now running maybe 3 or 4 very slow miles once or twice a week. I went 6 weeks with no running at all because I was so sick and tired all the time! I'm definitely going to try out thee pool at my gym one of these days and take a lot more walks when it gets nicer out. I'm excited for you to get healed up so that once this baby's out, you can motivate me to get back into my running routine too!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Katie...though frustrating it sounds from all the comments you are not alone. When a big part of your life is running it kind of defines you, and when you lose that, even temporarily you feel you've list a part of yourself. I was out over 3 months post surgery and still am not running like I used to. I felt like a part of my identity and myself was gone. I felt lost because I missed it so much. Remember even the best pros get sidelined and in the long the true test isn't what we are like when we return to running by how strong we become while coping because we can't run. We look for other outlets, like water running is a huge injury recovery program I've read over and over from amateurs to pros. So you're on the right track. Hang in there. You have lots of support!! You'll be running again, hang on to that.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just love your blog, Katie! I feel like I can really relate to this post, although on a lesser level and for a different reason. I've been following your blog for years, and you were a big part of motivating me to run. I haven't become a "real" runner, but I completed the couch 2 5k in 2011, and after that ran in about 1 race per month (not counting winters) through this past summer, when I entered my 2nd trimester of my 1st pregnancy :). I had been able to lose about 50 lbs during my first year of running and had kept it off for 3 years. Running was kind of my "backup" as I really got hooked on bootcamp classes with a lot of body weight workouts. After some issues in my 1st trimester, though, I had to stop exercising altogether for about 6 weeks, and then had to scale way back, so I was mainly walking with a lot of inclines and occasional jogging thrown in. I ended up having an unplanned c-section (baby boy was born December 17th), and with the surgery recovery, newborn, and Cleveland winter, I've only managed a couple of brisk walks. I am afraid that I'll never get back into the swing of exercising/running again, and that I'll gain back the weight that I lost (worse- lose the healthy habits and love of exercise that I had gained). I am registered for a 5k the first week of May, and hopefully that will help motivate me to stick with it, Slow and steady, I guess. Anyway - sorry for such the long post - thank you for always being so real & honest with your readers and for being such an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I can relate to this. I love running. Been doing it since I was 15 and it's been the ultimate "go to" exercise for me that's always been just EASY for me to keep the weight off ....but after 10years of doing it, I can feel my body protesting it. I MISS running, but every time I try, I injure myself or am left with an achy hurt body the next day. Nothing compares.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I totally get what you are saying. I was never a "runner" and it had always been a goal of mine. Last year I slowly worked my way up to 6 miles but about 6 months ago I hurt my knee. I went to the doctor and PT and still to this day it doesn't feel 100% :( I have really missed running and the sense of accomplishment. I hope that your ankle heels soon and that you are back to doing what you love!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Stress fractures are the worst! I ran through the pain of one for a year. I was afraid the doctors would make me quit, and at that point running was the straw I was grasping at, keeping me breathing at all through my determined focus of losing fat, that I was fear-filled. Without it, I worried that I would fail and stop losing.
    My most embarrassing is that when I run I try to be very zen, zone out and let my body do what it needs to do. I keep everything relaxed and 'flowing' as possible. If I need to spit, I spit. Gas comes out when it needs to. And, one time, pee. I was so relaxed and just letting things flow that I actually pee'd myself a little before I realized how zen and 'letting my body do its thing' that I was. My oh my. I caught myself before it got embarrassing and was close to home, thankfully, but still! I don't let myself zone out to that degree anymore. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  31. When I did the Paris Marathon last year... embarrassing moment was having to pee on the side of the road of the Champs D'Elysee and tons of race spectators before the race started!! Not enough porta-potty's to go around!! The things we do!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is exactly how I have felt over the last few months with my IT Band issues. I hate how injuries scare the shit out of us because the first thing we think about is gaining all the weight back.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)