Runner’s Ego

magazine

How thoughtful of Running Times to address injuries in their April issue, just when I needed it.  I’ll need to remember to send them a thank you note.  Apparently I have a case of runner’s ego.  Like runner’s knee, runner’s ego is a common ailment among runners.  Who knew?  This is what the editor, Jonathan Beverly, had to say on the subject:

“In my experience we get injured mostly because our egos are fragile.  We’re so wrapped up in our running that we’re afraid to take a day off, run less, run slower, or, heaven forbid, take a walk on days our bodies tell us we’re not recovered enough for our “usual” workout.  We’re afraid someone will think less of us as a runner; we’re afraid we’ll think less of ourselves.  And, backing off at all scares us that we’ll become less of a runner than we believe we are, than we have already set ourselves up to be.

Our fragile egos also make us afraid to accept and deal with problem areas before they become disabling injuries.  Anything less than 100 percent is seen as a weakness and taking proactive measures a sign of wimpiness.  We’re embarrassed to pay any attention to a pain until we’re seriously injured and can’t run at all.  A broken foot is more honorable than an ambiguous “stress reaction,” even if it takes weeks longer to heal when we finally decide to treat it.  That, and we’re afraid of the possibility of injury, believing if we ignore the problem it won’t be real and will disappear.

Wow.  It’s like he knows me.  Why DO I have so much trouble taking days off, especially when I know I’m hurting?  I think he hit the nail on the head.  It’s fear.  Fear that I’ll never know my potential as a runner because I backed off every time I got a little uncomfortable.  Over the years, I’ve given up on a lot of runs.  Told myself it was too hard, it hurt too much, it was too hot, I was too sweaty.  These days, I really try to push through the pain on those runs.  To prove that I’m stronger than that voice in my head that tells me I’m weak.  And honestly, being able to do that has made me a better runner.  But clearly I haven’t quite figured out when it’s okay to back off.  When taking it easy doesn’t make you a quitter and it doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart.  Sometimes, it’s much harder to admit you need time off than to just suck it up and go for your run.  I think that takes real strength.  The strength to say what I want and what I need are not the same today.  I want to run, instead I will take a rest day/elliptical/do yoga to give my body the rest it needs.   And maybe in this forced time off, I’ll be able to find some of that strength.

nike

I got an email offering me a guaranteed entry into the sold out Nike Women’s half marathon on April 28th.  I didn’t originally sign up for the race for two reasons.  One, it’s the same day as the Eugene marathon which I was considering running and two, it’s kind of crazy expensive for a half marathon.  So registration came and went and I didn’t think much more about it.  When I got the email yesterday, I still had mixed feelings about it mostly because I have no idea what’s going on with my foot.  But in a moment of optimism, I decided to go for it!  I’m REALLY looking forward to getting my Lunaracers back out of their box even if it’s just to walk 13.1 miles.  (BUT OH PLEASE do not let it be to walk 13.1 miles!)

sundae

We went on our weekly Costco trip and after dinner we decided to try the berry sundae.  It may be my new favorite dessert.  It might even beat out Butterfinger Blizzards and that is saying A LOT.  Seriously, it was that good.  So good in fact, that I skipped over my normal blueberries and went for strawberries instead.  Blueberries are out, strawberries are in.  Really looking forward to my oatmeal concoction this morning.  It’s the little things people!

When I picked up the kids from the child care center at the gym, Sean came up to me and said, “Whew!  I was running around and I’m all sweaty!…. Well not like you’re sweaty, just a little sweaty.”  Hmmmm.  Thanks kid.

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