Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Running Analysis Paralysis

As a long-term maintainer, what do you do when you lose interest and don't love your primary form of exercise anymore?

Well, if you're me, you agonize and you torment yourself that you don't want to do it anymore. You try to force yourself to do it, desperately hoping that you'll start loving it again.  Then you waffle about whether or not you should convert your Thanksgiving 5K registration to a walker but in a show of sibling solidarity convince your little brother to run the whole thing with you.

It was a particularly cold and miserably windy Thanksgiving morning for my first and longest outdoor run in months.  Nate and I made a pact to stay together the entire way, even to the finish line because neither of us had been running regularly for quite some time. We needed each other to make it without any walking breaks. We stuck together and chatted a bit for the first mile and a half. Since we were chatting, we were obviously not running at a racing pace but more of a leisurely jog. I'm glad for that because I'm pretty sure we would have needed to walk otherwise. We finished in 33:11, which while not our best time ever, is perfectly acceptable given our total lack of training.

I had hoped that after Thanksgiving I'd have some more insight into whether or not I really want to keep up with running but I'm still torn. After we completed the race, I felt that rush of accomplishment and joy that I'd pushed my body to do something like that. The next morning however, I felt like I'd gotten into a fight. My quads were extremely sore and all my nagging little hurts (shoulder, hip) were exacerbated. I'm not an idiot; I know that's because I pushed myself to do too much the previous day without sufficient training. But still, it's hard to accept the reality that I'm not as running-fit as I was before I got hurt.

It's been almost exactly two years since my first injury and I recall clearly the muddled mess of emotions I felt about it. I was sad because running was the only thing that gave me that mental clarity and emotional stability that I craved. I was scared because running was how I had lost and kept all the weight off for two years. I was angry because I felt like 26 was too young to be injured.

Now?

I've realized that running isn't the only thing to give me the mental clarity and emotional stability. It's not the only way to keep the weight off. And I was a ticking-injury-time bomb with my abnormally large range of motion and complete lack of control over it. I adore my Reformer classes and Zumba gives me the cardio I need. Neither of those things gives me the sense of accomplishment that finishing a run does though, and that is what I miss the most.

For right now though, running still isn't an option and the only thing I can do is to focus on shedding these little nagging pains. Perhaps in a month or two I'll have some more insight into the situation.