My Non-Running Outlook on Life

The last time I ran was on July 4th. I attempted to run last week, but had immediate pain in my tibia – in the exact spot where I had a stress fracture last summer – and honestly have had no desire to try again. I’d had discomfort on & off in both tibias all summer, and was honestly shocked that I felt so good for the Firecracker 4 and was able to run/walk (3/1 intervals) the whole 4 miles. I have been hiking a lot and never have pain during a hike. Sometimes afterward I can “feel” my tibia but nothing that requires ice or ibuprofen…or worse, rest.

But getting back into a daily exercise routine after vacation brought me to some at-home HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. I had pain jumping around, doing anything that involved big jumps on single legs or jumping jacks, where my legs are at an odd angle. So I had to modify those portions and eventually found some low-to-non impact workouts that still got my heart rate way up.

My dad and I both happily bailed out of the Boilermaker two days prior – the 15K for me and the 5K for him. I considered dropping down to the 5K, but did not realize it started a whole 45 minutes earlier than the 15K, and that would have required us to leave the cottage around 4am, get to bib pickup before they closed at 6:15am, and then run 3.1 miles at 7:15am only to get back in the car and drive two hours back to the cottage. On my last day of vacation. No thanks. I loved the 15K and would absolutely do it again, but only when I am trained and excited about running, and have been neither of those things for several weeks – going on months – now.

So, for the third year in a row, I am ashamed to admit I am bailing out of the Falmouth Road Race that so many people get rejected from. I’ve been lucky to get in three years in a row, but the first year finances kept me away, last summer I was in the boot/crutches, and this year I am just not finding joy in running.

I’ve had a really trying year physically, mentally, and professionally. I made a conscious effort to stop doing things that don’t make me happy, and especially the things that make me UNhappy, and focus on the things I love instead. So that means no running, no Facebook, no toxic relationships. And instead lots of hiking, quality time with family, alone time, and reading, and nerdy stuff like making spreadsheets of all my completed and planned hikes and all the data that goes with them. Of course I have to work, but I’ve gotten really good about setting boundaries as well as realistic expectations. I have practiced saying “no” instead of uprooting my entire personal life to accommodate last-minute, off-hours requests. I’ve stopped taking on so much that I don’t have time to breathe.

I also stopped being OK with my body. I’ve gained a lot of weight since last summer, when I was forced to sit on my rump for 3 months and felt sorry for myself the entire time – eating and drinking whatever and whenever I felt like it, which was a lot and often. I looked in the mirror and saw an overweight but strong but sad person. I constantly put up a front and assured myself and others that I didn’t care how I looked or what size my pants were or what the scale said, and perhaps that was true for a while, but when summer came along and I straight-up declined offers to do things I like doing because of what I’d have to wear or expose, I knew something had to change.

It’s funny that with this new mentality and my refusal to run because it doesn’t make me happy, I’ve also decided to take back my life and get back into shape. For me and so many of my friends, running is life. It’s the only reason I’ve met some of my closest friends, and it’s funny that I find myself drifting away into daydreams when the conversations inevitably turn to running, races, Boston Marathon recaps, and future running plans. Even talking and thinking about running has stopped exciting me, and instead turns me off entirely. I don’t have many people to share my passion for hiking with, and while I’m not necessarily looking to grow my social circle and suddenly start going to happy hours with other hiking enthusiasts (when I could be working out in my living room or hanging out with Chip), it’s been such a wake-up call to me that running isn’t life and there is so much more to me than just that one aspect. And if relationships are only based one a single shared interest, that relationship is doomed. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with my friends, but it’s definitely helped me see the difference between acquaintances I share an interest with, and true friends. I’m all about quality over quality, and surrounding myself with people I genuinely care about and enjoy spending time with.

All that said, I have been happier this summer than I have been in a long time. I’ve focused on what makes me feel good and stopped doing or stressing about the things that done. Running and I are no longer in a relationship, but I bet that it’s only a short-term break, not a permanent break-up. I kinda hope it’s not forever, because I brought brand new running shoes after DNS’ing the Covered Bridges Half Marathon, thinking they’d motivate me. They haven’t been worn outside my apartment yet…

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