A Month without Running – Lessons & Resolutions



You haven’t heard from me in a while because, quite honestly, I’ve been in somewhat of a blue funk. At the behest of my physio, I took time off after the Scotiabank Half Marathon in June to recovery from a lingering injury. I was meant to start running again after ’10 days pain free’, but 10 days stretched to a month and the pain hadn’t quite gone away.

Last week, I decided to give it another go. I managed two short (3 and 4km) runs. Finally, today, I did a 7km and – fingers crossed – I still feel pretty good.

During my ‘run-free July’ (and I don’t mean that in the good way like ‘pain-free’ or ‘carefree’ – more like ‘love-free’ or ‘happiness-free’, as in lacking the things you want/need), I had a lot of time to mull, and to be a bit angry. However, I also  learned a few things:

1) I’m addicted to running
When I was able to run without pain, there were certainly days I didn’t want to run. But once I was told not to, that’s all I wanted to do. I felt frustrated and anxious. I wanted to be out pounding the pavement. When I saw other people running, I was envious (and in a city like Vancouver, that happens a lot).

Last weekend, we took the train down to Seattle, and then drove out to Central Washington. As the train headed south, I saw folks running in the fields near Delta. In Wenatchee, the path along the Columbia River beckoned me, despite the 35+ degree weather. Even in Seattle itself, I wanted to run those hilly streets. But I couldn’t.

2) Core shorts are emasculating
My physio recommended Under Armour ‘core’ (compression) shorts to help with my groin injury, and provide support while running. They hold everything in – tightly. I guess they work. But they’re certainly not the most comfortable item of clothing I own.

This is not what I look like in core shorts
This is not what I look like in core shorts

3) Wine does not promote a flat belly
Without the promise of early morning runs every Saturday, and with Vancouver temperatures soaring, a cold glass of wine on a Friday night – followed by another – becomes very easy. That, combined with the lack of regular cardio workouts, has taken a toll. Plus, I have a weakness for potato chips and assorted crunchy, salty snacks.

4) I miss my running friends
There’s a degree of envy, too, when I see posts on Facebook highlighting the athletic achievements of my Forerunners cohorts. And I feel a pang of something…regret?…when I get the weekly Forerunners newsletter. The weekly training sessions have been such a part of my life over the last couple of years, and those people so integral to the small successes I’ve had during that time, I miss them all immensely. I hope they’ll take me back when the time comes!

5) Pilates is a life saver
My injury (which I won’t get into here) is definitely core related. I had never tried Pilates until a couple of weeks ago, when my friend finally convinced me to go with her to the YMCA. I’m a convert. I believe that the work I’ve done in that class has given me the physical strength and healing needed to get me to today – my longest run since the end of June. Coupled with weekly yoga classes, I feel like I’m making progress.

Where do I go from here?
I’ve made up my mind about a couple of things.

1) I will run the Honolulu Marathon, come hell or high water
I refuse to give up on my #42for42 plan. Honolulu is booked, and I will run it. I don’t expect to better my Vancouver Marathon time, but I intend to finish it regardless. I believe with steady, careful training, I can still make it happen.

2) It’s time to cut back and pay more attention to my diet
I’ve been lazy. I’ve allowed the dog days of summer (not that I’m complaining!) to lull me into a sense of recreation where another beer doesn’t hurt. But I know it can. So while I won’t be teetotaling through August, I’ll be a lot more aware of what I’m consuming – both food and drink.

3) I will continue cross-training
Pilates – check. Yoga – check. Some strength training at the gym – not my favourite activity, but an area to concentrate on. Swimming – I’m a clumsy swimmer, something I’m not confident about – but another activity I want to explore. Cycling – I don’t own a bicycle, and the aggressiveness of Vancouver biking terrifies me, but I’m thinking of trying out some spin classes…

Most runners face setbacks at some point during their training – injuries, illness, and serious life events, to name a few. I know my experience has been mild compared to what others have been through. But I would certainly welcome comments, encouragement, suggestions and the like on getting back into the game. Because that’s what I’m ready and eager to do!


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