Today was filled with a lot of emotions. Joy. Shock. Fear. Hope. Pain. And everything in between.
There were more tears and smiles than I could have possibly envisioned when I awoke at 4:06 a.m. Sure, yesterday's run was a little rough, but I held myself to 5.28 miles. I didn't push the pace and I even iced my pelvis. Today's run was going to be a good one. No pain...and certainly no tears. Everything was going to go according to plan. My body was going to follow through with whatever I decided to put it through.
Except, that's not the way reality works. Shit happens. The tears come out of nowhere. And our bodies aren't made to be injury proof.
Things got emotional before I had even run a single step. When, for reasons that still aren't clear to me, I put running first. I voluntarily choose to run away from a situation that I knew was going to hit me straight in the feels. I thought that, just maybe, running myself to the point of extreme fatigue would make facing reality a little easier. Would stop the tears before they had even begun. Would make me strong enough to smile through the anxiety.
The ironic thing is, I spent the entire 7 mile run in pain and feeling like the world's worst friend.
Like, how on earth had I gotten to this point with running where I couldn't take a step back and realize just how much it has been destroying my body lately. How much I have come to invest my whole identity in it. But, I'm not just a runner. And, furthermore, I don't want to become someone who uses running to avoid their feelings. To escape to an alternate reality where everything is all unicorns and rainbows and life is easy peasey lemon squeezey.
There is more to life than running. And that fact became crystal clear to me as I rode the struggle bus hard for those last 4 miles.
You only have one body. One life. To experience everything, all the ups and downs. To make memories that really do last a lifetime. So, why waste even a single precious second running from reality. Pretending that without running (or whatever activity your're passionate about), you're somehow less than. That, your're fine when you're really not. That each pain filled mile you run isn't just making your injury worse and prolonging your recovery. That, eventually, your injury will just fix itself without time off...because that's the reality you want to live in.
I have less than two weeks to reconnect/catch up with my best friend before she leaves for Texas. Race day is in T-minus 3 months. There's never going to be a "right" time to take a step back from running.
And that's why, I had to ask myself as I lifted today, " Why not now?" After this mornings shit show of a run, it's obvious that my pelvis is still messed up. It was probably a bit foolish on my part to think that 3 days off from running would be enough to fix things. Now, I don't even know that a whole week off will fix things. Or, how the heck I'm supposed to get through the next 7+ days without running. Do I only take off 6 days and try running next Friday...or do I hold out until next Sunday? What if I'm never able to run pain free again?
The list of what ifs is never ending. But, one thing I know for sure, is this: It's time. Time to face reality. Time to be flexible with fitness. And with everything in life.
And besides, taking time off doesn't make me, or anyone else weak. It makes you strong...even if in the moment it feel's like you're letting your weakness win. In the long run, continuing on would make me weak. And stupid. But, mostly weak...because I couldn't be "me" without running. Even though...I've done it before. And will probably have to do it again. It's all part of what it means to be a "runner."
Bottom line: I am a runner...but I'm also a writer, a blogger, a daughter, a friend, a weight lifter, AND SO MUCH MORE. So, here's to being an injured runner yet again and being ok with it. And to obviously taking recovery really serious this go around and putting on my happy face while walking EVEN THOUGH I'D MUCH PREFER TO BE RUNNING.