The Running Relationship

Let me say, I love running. I guess that is pretty obvious. We have been in a pretty serious relationship for almost 2 years. I love when I get the “free” feeling, I love the cleansing of the mind, the ability to push myself with speed and distance and I love the friendships it has given me. I love that I have been able to travel and run races in different parts of the country. I love that I have been able to raise over $5000 for charity while doing something I love. And yes, I love the bling. :) Let’s just say overall, my relationship with running is full of love. But lately, I feel like we have been fighting.

Over the past few weeks I have struggled with this IT Band injury. Initially it was pretty painful but it has gotten better. Now I have minor aches and pains in other areas of my body from the Physical Therapy and work that I am doing to try and improve it. My hips/glutes are sore from trying to strengthen them and my calves hurt from trying to learn to “run properly” to avoid later injury. All of this has led me to struggling mentally with pain and running. And to be honest, has me questioning why I put my body through this.

(cartoon courtesy of www.runtheplanet.com)
I know not everyone is meant to run. Some people hate it. Some have bad knees. Some are just too lazy. I have been fortunate enough to be “pretty good” at it. My times are good and I would love to qualify for Boston one day (alas, with the new qualifications I may be 70 before that happens, but a girl can dream). I am constantly thinking about the next race, the next trip, the next medal. Some might say I am a bit obsessed (well, at least the non-runners do). I am usually very positive; but when things go wrong the negative, scared part of my brain starts thinking. I start to worry that I am one of those people that is not meant to run.
Why am I hurt? Will I always hurt? Is my body not meant to do this? Will there always be some sort of pain associated with long distance? When will 4 miles feel “great” again with no pain? Am I crazy to continue with the distance? Maybe just 1/2’s and not marathons? Is the pain really not that bad and is it more mental? Am I over looking pain somewhere that could be more than what I think it is? Why can’t I have perfect form? Would that help the pain?
Don’t get me wrong, not all days are “bad runs.” RNR Mardi Gras I actually felt great. But Wednesday, Saturday and Today, eh, not so much. But as I sit here and type this I can look back on the past 2 years and remember that there have always been aches and pains that come and go. They do just come and go, Right?
This is what goes through my head. Paranoid much? A little crazy. Perhaps. Does anyone else feel this way? And what do you do to get out of it?
I don’t want to breakup with running. That is not an option. I don’t even like when we have to take space (a week without running and I am not a nice girl). I just don’t like it when we fight.
What do you do when you fight with your running relationship? How do you fix it?

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Elizabeth

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6 Comments

  • For me, it's a constant balance between running, nutrition and hydration, stretching, rest, chiropractic, strength training and sports massage. It basically takes a village. I expect a lot from my body, so I have to be super nice to it.

    I sure hope you feel better soon!!

  • Ditto what Jill said. In the 20 years I've been running, injuries come & go. IT band & plantar fascitis tend to linger longer than others but I think those are both bad boys that I'll be facing always. You just have to find that combination of exercises and voodoo that keep them at bay. Listen to your body, rest when it tells you to. You'll get over these injuries & learn from then, and you'll be back to your bad-ass self in no time!

  • Great post! I had similar thoughts since my marathon in October. I first had hip issues for 2 months and then I had a lot of fatigue and dizziness problems, which I had no clue where this was coming from. This was the most frustrating thing!! At least when you know what it is you can fix it. Later on I got my wisdom tooth removed and since then all is well.I believe now it is very important not to forget injury prevention like stretching, strength training and yoga in order to enjoy running. Since I do this, my running is getting better! Hang in there!!

  • I think that all the time…when will I once again have a great run where my legs just feel fantastic…or I forget they are there…

    I long for those runs again, but I'm not sure that my memory is that great. Maybe it has always somewhat hurt to run and I've just forgotten that there is always a little pain.

  • I feel you on this post. I had a frustrating race yesterday, and a lot of it was due to what I think is probably IT band pain. I can tell I am overdoing it, but I just don't want to stop. More yoga is my likely solution. I'm sure it will get better soon – fingers crossed for you!

  • Good post – I've had issues with my left leg/hip last fall. I went to PT and fixed one thing then something else would go out of wack. The thing that finally got me back on track was chiropractic (Jill mentioned it). At first I was skeptical due to a experience in high school, but I went to a guy that works with a lot of athletics and also is concerned about your total well being. I now go once a month or whenever I have an issue I can't resolve myself.

    The next step I'm going to be taking is massage (like Jill mentioned).

    Right now, I'm fighting a tight upper right calf. I keep working on the PT things, have been going to the chiro, and like I said, massage is next on my list.

    Hang in there and keep working at it!!!

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