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confessions of a running addict

I see a running path
I see a running path

Last week I wrote a post about simple life. About how all of the things I do to simplify and slow my life are essentially with the goal of wellness in mind. When I was writing that piece, there was a slight niggle in the back of my mind. I was questioning whether all of my choices are actually good for my health. You see, I love to move and exercise, and I don’t go crazy with it, but I am a bit of a running junkie. In my head, the world just isn’t quite right if I haven’t run free at least once every second day. It used to be most days, but as my body ages, I’m discovering it doesn’t really like to run every day.

I love the intensity of running, and the way it makes me feel. It’s like meditation in motion for me. And I know that I’m not alone. There are millions of me out there, but this is where my questioning comes in. You see, about two months ago I felt a bit of a twinge in the back of my right knee. If I squatted, I could feel something was wrong behind my knee, and it took a few steps after each squat to go back to normal, or close to normal. I knew pretty much straight up that there was something going on with my posterior cruciate ligament, but I chose to ignore it. A few weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon in May, I did some very impressive kicks of a football with my eldest son. He thought I was the coolest Mum ever…but that night, I could barely walk. Internally I was panicking that my running days were over (either temporarily or forever), but after a few days it felt OK, so I ran, albeit in a fair amount of pain.

So here’s the issue. I am focussed on wellness, and I love to exercise, and I know my body inside out, but am I really listening to my body? I would say yes, generally, but not when it comes between me and my running. So there’s this disconnect when it comes to addiction, which got me thinking about pretty much every other human I know, and the disconnect we all have when it comes to things we love, and knowing when that thing is no longer serving us. People do it with work and stress, with food, with inactivity, with drugs, with relationships…with lots of things…it’s crazy.

I did exactly the same thing when I had plantar fasciitis a few years back now, so I’m definitely seeing a pattern emerge here. I ran, I ran, I ran. I could barely walk when I stopped running, but it felt fine when I ran, and I couldn’t visualise my life without running. When I finally acknowledged the problem, and I stopped running, it took over two years to recover. I would internally curse other runners in the street for being able to run. It was awful.

With my knee, by running on it, I have more than doubled my recovery time. All because I was scared that a) I would have to stop running short term, or b) I may never run again. Both of which are completely irrational thoughts which make no sense when you say them out loud. Which is exactly what I did last Friday when I was trying to rationalise what I was doing with my knee to a very practical ex-physio friend. I kept on running on my injury, because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run again?? Saying it out loud was like slapping myself across the face, and saying “wake up you crazy lady. Are you trying to destroy any chance you have of still being able to run at 80?” Which probably makes me sound like an even crazier lady…and then I woke up. And I’m now listening to my body. And I’m promising my body that I’ll keep on listening, particularly as I get older, and parts of me start to wear out and need more love. I’ll listen, I’ll adapt, and I won’t just run myself to destruction, which is definitely not on my path to wellness.

Linked with Essentially Jess for IBOT