Snap out of it

I have been feeling overlooked lately. Overlooked and underutilized, as if I am not invited to the party, and it's making me feel small and petulant and uncool.

And then I hurt my foot.

To back up, I will tell you that just over a year ago I started running with my older son. I wrote about it here, about how we started doing Couch to 5K.I kept running all winter and joined the rec center near me to run on the track, and I've done a few 5Ks by myself this year. Along with the weight I've lost, running has helped me feel healthy and strong. It has changed the way I feel about getting older. It is something I can do, and I feel good about doing it, and working at it, and not quitting. (I almost wish I could have another baby so I could experience labor and delivery now that I've learned how to keep going even when I don't want to.)

In this post I figured out that another reason I need to run is that running is the only time I let myself feel raw, painful emotions these days. It's also a safety valve. When I do start to feel bad–rejected, angry, less than, even just unsettled–I go for a run and I get the exercise and challenge but I also get that physical stimulation of the raw place (what I'm beginning to think is the key for us tension increasers) in safety, so the feelings don't tip me over.

I have been stuck at 5K, but decided to spend this fall training up to 10K, and to run a 10K at the end of October. Last Wednesday I ran 4 miles and felt really good about it, except that my heel and toe felt a little weird when I was done. And then later that night they, and the rest of my foot connecting them, were killing me. On Thursday I decided to skip Friday's run to rest. And then by Sunday morning I realized I'd re-sprained the same foot I'd sprained in December 2010, and was going to need to give it another week plus a lot of fish oil and ibuprofen.

So I'm feeling at a loss, and I don't have my coping technique. (I've been swimming, too, but swimming doesn't hit my emotional center the way running does. T-Tapp keeps me energized and sleeping well. Pilates is fun. But they're not running.) And the "oh, poor me"ness I've been feeling about this is making me even more annoyed.

How do I get the patience to let myself heal, when I'm short on patience in the first place and that's why I need to run?

I feel a lot like Veruca Salt right now. Maybe with a side of super-dramatic Anne Shirley.

Who wants to tell me to snap out of it?



21 thoughts on “Snap out of it”

  1. I would say…be easy on yourself. I have had various injuries while training for races (10K, halfs, and a full marathon) and each time it felt like I was done for, finished. But each time, I kept moving forward as much as I could and I searched for solutions. I contacted other runners and asked for advice. I went to the doctor when it seemed necessary. I did physical therapy. I went to the chiropractor. I tried different shoes. After one 9 mile run, I thought I had seriously injured my foot and as it turns out, after some googling, I figured out I had most likely tied my laces too tight. And that was really it.The other thing I wish I had realized earlier, is a week or even two weeks off of training, isn’t going to completely tank the training done thus far. I used to think if I missed even one 3 mile run, my training was over but now I know it’s okay to miss even a week or two if there’s a serious illness or injury to tend to.
    Good luck and take care. It always seems worse when you’re in the thick of it.

  2. I’ve trained for short distances up to halfs, and recommend two things…. 1 – follow Another Mother Runner on facebook or their blog, great community of women runners of all levels that can help with any type of question, 2 – pick up a training book that explains how to ramp up mileage while trying to avoid injury. I have “Run Faster” by Hudson, but have been curious to pick up “Train Like A Mother” (probably a more entertaining read).Good luck with it all and congrats for going for it!

  3. Take your time. Please don’t tell yourself to “snap out of it”. I have had multiple injuries running. The first one was I ripped my calf muscle. I stopped running for almost 8 years. I’ve been fighting plantar fasciitis for months now.Accept that this is an injury and not “getting older”. Also, I agree with Jen, one or two weeks off will not kill your training.
    take your time and wear shoes at home (I love going barefoot, but I sometimes need to have my shoes on to support the injuries)
    I have also tied my shoes too tight (your feet swell when you run) and it HURTS.

  4. Hmm…have you tried “assisted” pull-ups and vertical crunches at the gym?I’ve never been able to do an unassisted pull-up so when those pull-up machines came along (where you add the weight you need to balance out what you can’t pull on your own) they made me feel so powerful and strong. And the vertical crunch apparatus that has you standing with your arms 90-degrees, holding handle bars, and crunching your knees to your abs is also fabulous. Potentially both substitutes that could help the physical side of things while you’re missing running?

  5. I can’t run, really. I have a knee issue and my doctor advised me to avoid it. I’ve thought about doing it anyway, foolish as that would be, because I remember how wonderful running felt when I was a kid and teen.Swimming may help, despite your previous experience, if you focus on it differently. When you HAVE to, sometimes you find a way, you know? Swimming for me isn’t the raw sort of release that running is. Instead, it’s zen. It’s about finding the quiet place away from the noise. Instead of releasing the tension, I set it aside. I focus so completely on the one thing, swimming in something approaching good form, that the other stuff just slips away. Might be worth another go.
    And keep the adage, “This too shall pass,” close at hand.

  6. last year i fell while running and landed spread-eagle in the road. i broke my hand, which was in a cast for four weeks. i felt miserable.the next day, i flipped on tv and there was a show about albino women in madagascar. apparently, some africans believe that the limbs of albinos are good luck or something,so they hunt them down and cut off their hands. after i wrote a check to an organization that helps these women, i realized that this was the universe’s way of telling me to stfu.
    it helped when, two months later, i pulled my left calf muscle and had to stop running for six weeks. during that time, i walked my neighborhood, including a path with 47 stairs, and thought about how it would be over eventually, even though it seemed endless.
    don’t beat yourself up, magda. just hang in there.

  7. I think it’s so great that you can recognize and then articulate where you are, emotionally. “I have been feeling overlooked lately. Overlooked and underutilized, as if I am not invited to the party, and it’s making me feel small and petulant and uncool.” So many people (myself including, but I’m working on it) would lash out in a dozen different ways, at everyone around them, in order to distract themselves from the real source of their discomfort (that small, petulant, uncool part of us). Can’t and won’t tell you to snap out of it (does that even work???), will tell you that sitting with your discomfort and acknowledging it is probably the only way to move past it, or so say people wiser than me.I really do hope you get back and up and running soon.

  8. I don’t think you need to snap out of it! Injuries suck and frustration and “I’m never gonna get there, there’s something that specifically prevents ME” are normal responses. Furthermore, the expectation that we can be relentlessly positive in the face of any disappointment sets us up to feel worse. If it were me, I’d need to give myself time and permission to fully experience the anger and disappointment, and then build back from a yoga place.Meaning, once you’re ready, look carefully at what is. You are injured. That’s real and it sucks. There are things you can do to care for yourself. Do you have enough support?
    You might miss your 10k. That’s more of a fear than real at this point, but there it is. You’re afraid you might miss that race. *That emotion* is very real. Totally fair. While there is probably another one you could do in a month or two after, you’ve been planning toward this one – and you’re a smart, organized, planning person who’s put a lot of physical and emotional energy into this training, so no wonder you’re frustrated when your plans look like they’re not going to work out.
    Lots of things are going fine, but have also taken a TON of energy over the last couple years. It’s so, so normal for creating even really positive change to deplete a person, a lot. The feeling that we ought to *done* at some point is huge, at least for me. And I have this great yoga teacher who said one time “did you wake up in earth time today? then you have to do it again.” and I don’t know why that comforts me, but it does. We aren’t done, but then nobody is.
    I guess my point with this rambling is that, even though things are going fantastically in many ways (it sounds like from over here) – the book, school, family, etc. – you would be extremely normal if you felt exhausted. And if you felt like you ought to be done, and therefore something must be wrong with you/stopping you if you’re not done. Which is so absolutely fair, it’s just not quite how it actually is and so it’s painful.
    I think you need to be filled up with help and love and fun, and then you’ll slide (more or less gracefully) through it rather than snapping out. I’ll also make a crazy hippie suggestion: have you ever tried EFT? It’s a technique for getting yourself to a calmer place with things you’re feeling, but you need someone to teach it to you, ideally in person. If you’re interested, look it up – I bet there’s someone local. I found it really helpful in unhooking my anxiety and self-blaming reaction to certain triggers.

  9. I don’t know if this is relevant for you, but this is one of the best pieces of advice I ever saw when I was running myself down too much: If you find yourself lagging throughout the day, around the time you get your second wind at night, go to bed instead. Give your body the gift of that energy to heal itself. I find that at around 930 I get a boost and can keep going till midnight productively. And that’s great when I have to get things done. But when nothing is *urgent* I need to give myself that rest and go to bed “early” because I’ve asked a lot of myself over the last few years and my reserves are still really low compared to what I need for the adventures of having these little ones.

  10. You know, sometimes a person just needs to wallow for a bit. I find that if I let myself mope for, say, half a week, I get sick of myself sooner rather than later. If I try to fight off the feeling, it lasts longer. And by wallow, I mean I do what needs to be done for work and around the house, but I don’t force myself to stop thinking about whatever’s bothering me. I may “waste” my down time by being utterly unproductive. But you feel what you feel, and forcing it to go away won’t help. If you realize that a few days of self-pity seem to extend indefinitely, then you address the root causes, like Charisse said.I too like to figure out the worst-case scenario and then plan where I’d go from there. Usually it never materializes, but I find having a Plan B reassuring. So, for example, if running is your thing, and you’re afraid you’ve injured yourself too badly for it to work for now, and swimming doesn’t do it, what about biking (same feeling of moving through the world with less stress on your joints)? Or hiking (perhaps the strenuousness of the terrain will compensate for the speed you’ve had to forgo for now)? Or weight-training (the repetition can be meditative, and the focus on breathing is soothing in its own way)?
    I hope you are feeling yourself soon. That sense of being out of sorts really sucks.

  11. I’m not a regular runner, so this might be terrible advice, but depending on the severity/type of your injury, have you considered using an eliptical? I started doing this when I got pregnant as I was concerned about the impact of jogging, but walking never seemed to get my heart rate up enough to feel like I’d worked out. The eliptical allowed for a good, heart pounding workout without much impact on my knees or feet. Might be a good way to keep using similar muscles and get in cardio without stressing your foot as you heal. See also, spinning/cycling.Otherwise, I agree with others that it’s ok to wallow a bit and feel sorry for yourself. I always feel like as long as I’m able to label my negative feelings and acknowledge that they’re happening, I don’t need to rush to get rid of them. Then again, I’m a tension decreaser, so …

  12. Maybe this is your body telling you to feel those emotions and work through them. You have been going full tilt for so long that when you stop and the adrenaline fades a bit, you are going to feel weak and weepy. That is just biology and it is good to let that constant rush die down a bit. It can wear out, which is not a good thing (that is, your body can get accustomed to that level of adrenaline and constantly need more to stay enthused).I frequently am forced by my body to be sedentary and it is always frustrating.
    If swimming does not help, can you manage the recumbent bike? I do find that it is kinder to the feet and knees, but still lets you goasfastasyoucan and fight the machine, which helps get out my “can’t stand to just sit anymore” feelings.
    I still cry sometimes at what I can no longer do. It is ok to feel bad from time to time.

  13. So much awesome advice on here!RE: this: “running is the only time I let myself feel raw, painful emotions these days. It’s also a safety valve. When I do start to feel bad–rejected, angry, less than, even just unsettled–I go for a run and I get the exercise and challenge but I also get that physical stimulation of the raw place (what I’m beginning to think is the key for us tension increasers) in safety, so the feelings don’t tip me over.” The end is telling. What about the feelings makes you feel like they will tip you over if you let them, and would that be so bad, to be tipped over once in awhile?
    I think there’s also a natural evolution happening where you’re becoming more and more of a celebrity, which must be exciting and scary at the same time. From all of us to you, you seem like a lovely intelligent person and don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m sure you’re sexy! Find ways to feel sexy if you can. Maybe there’s some work to be done around that. Sorry to get personal. OK I’m gonna be anon for this one *blush*

  14. Running does so much for me mentally that I fall into a type of depression when I go too long without it. But a break of 2 weeks, a month ( which may seem an eternity at the time) doesn’t really have that much of an impact on your general fitness. Probably will actually do more good than harm as far as your training goes too.Practise the RICE principles, rub on some ibuprofen gel for inflammation and do some cross-training ( swim to heal, not as a running substitute). If you don’t make it for that 10k, there will always be another when you are feeling stronger.

  15. I have also started running (again, after years and two kids) and was so proud of myself for making this time and effort for myself and REALLY getting into it. And not just for weight loss, for, as you describe, the mental fortitude it gives me. I had just run a 5k race and about a week later I put my back out for the first time lifting my 3 year old. I was furious! I was so unreasonably angry. It was SO unfair! As someone who tends towards laziness and needs the stress-release, I was SO proud of my efforts to get fit despite the challenge of being a full time mother of my two young kids and a household to run with an extremely busy husband and living far away from family… It just wasn’t right that I could achieve this routine and then have it ripped away so cruelly! Obviously, I’m also prone to melodrama, especially when I’m sick or injured. I feel like I will NEVER recover! My chiropractor told me to give up running and I tell you what, that made me MORE determined to run! I found out I had a leg-length difference and other feet related problems (which may or may not have contributed to the back injury) so I have orthotics for my running shoes (the podiatrist had a great can-do attitude and this made up for the sucky attitude the chiro had – what a difference it made to how I felt about being injured!), and although I had to stop running for maybe 10 (long, frustrating) weeks I’m back! And after a few 4 and 5 km runs over about only 2 weeks I have now built up the strength to run 10kms twice over the last two weeks! I have NEVER been able to run that far! I am aiming to do a half marathon in December, and I attribute making that goal and my new-found stamina to having a long break in addition to channeling the injury frustration into determination!! (We are also in the middle of a huge relocation/money/job/family upheaval, exciting and very stressful – I really feel running is the single thing that is keeping me together. Maybe it’s a dangerous thing to rely on one thing so much? But at the moment this is where I’m at and I guess part of the learning curve/achievement is dealing with the set-backs?). All the best, Moxie – well done on your running achievements! You’ll be back with a bang in no time!

  16. I don’t think I have any better advice than anything that’s been said here, just wanted to say that I empathize and nothing sucks worse than being injured. And yeah, you will be back running and yeah, you will be totally fine and trained for your 10k, but that doesn’t stop right now sitting on the couch and *not* running from royally sucking. Remind yourself that sitting there and doing nothing is exactly what you should be doing. If I take a few days in a row off I always feel like I’m gaining a lot of weight. This is ridiculous. If you feel that way, you are not gaining weight. Most coaches say that the hardest day of the training week is the day off because no athlete likes to just sit there even if that is what your body needs. So, ya know, we’re all there with you in spirit. Its not fun. I usually get my emotions out on my rest days or when I’m injured by playing video games. Just remind yourself you are doing what your body needs and you need to be kind to yourself. Then drink something strong.

  17. this is a rough one for me.the short of it, because i LOVE the feeling of running and my body just isn’t there right now, is biking. it’s not quite as raw in the pavement pounding sense, but you can get some great speed up for the adrenaline rush and push yourself plenty hard if you can find a few good hills. I try to bike commute even if it means taking it easy on the way in to stay less smelly, but it is a good feeling.
    i’m stuck in another place. I’m only in my late 30’s, always been active if not competitively athletic. Then I went through crazy complications after my daughter’s birth and my body can’t handle running. I’ve seen the best women’s health PT, working on my multi-faceted kegels, and trying to be active in other ways, but, to be blunt, incontinence sucks and I’m way too young for it. I’ll keep trying, but it’s hard to know whether or not to listen to my body (and a few doctors) and just admit that I need to swear off impact for the rest of my life or keep hoping, plugging away and listen to my heart (and a few doctors) and keep trying bit by bit. sorry to hijack here a bit, but hearing how much running has done for you, especially as I’m nearing 40 and so wanting to be back in good shape, just hit a strong, raw cord.

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