Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde: Injured Runner Brain Dichotomy

If you were sitting around on Saturday wondering why you all of a sudden you felt void of any stress or unhappiness, it’s because I had taken EVERY NEGATIVE FEELING IN THE WORLD and conglomerated it all into my own personal pity party. Yep, all my Friday positivity decided to completely dissipate come Saturday morning, and it took essentially all day to work myself out of my I-hate-everything-and-everyone funk.

Also, if I really could take away all your sadness, that would be very neat and I’m sorry I have not yet figured out how to steal away bad feelings.

It took until late Saturday night (imbibed with Footloose musical fever, tequila, and sleepovers with friends) til my grumpy self got over herself and I returned to a more stable, level-headed place.

Oh wait no, that’s never happened—stable and calm are not exactly my “strengths,” so let’s just say I returned to a happier, I-actually-don’t-want-to-throw-rocks-at-people state of mind.

Why the freak out, you ask?

Well, there are two things that send me into panic mode: picking the wrong dessert and not being able to undo it, and not being able to run. Since I had a fantastic helping of strawberry shortcake Friday night (read: a bowl of whipped cream sprinkled with bits of cake and some strawberries), I bet you can guess why I was pissed.

I want to run, I cannot run, seemingly everyone in the world is running, and I was/am sad.

I got all down and out on Saturday because all I was hearing about were PRs, registrations, long runs, carb loads, etc. and it all felt very far away. Truthfully, I’ve been out of the running game for just over two weeks, but in a runner’s brain that is approximately equivalent to forever. Every day without running counts for about three weeks of real time, and it feels like the further away I get from it, the less accessible it seems.

There is a big, gaping, holy-hell don’t fall in that hole difference between what I know and what I think. My knowing self is rational, practical, and reasonable. She’s the part of me that graduated from college, that listens to my mom, and that decides, “Okay, you probably don’t need dessert number 3 of the night.”

Then there’s my thinking self. The self that spirals herself into a state of senseless panic over absolutely irrational thoughts. She is the over-reactor, the freak-out mode professional, and the reason behind a lot of my less-than-finer moments. Sorry BF for reminding you about all those.

Okay, my “thinking,” of-the-moment self isn’t always such a whiny little bitch, and there are certainly redeeming parts to her, however she tends to get in trouble when her spasms overrule her knowing counterpart.

Case in point: I know I will be fine. I know this isn’t *too* serious. I know I ran a marathon faster than my training and no-shit-sherlock I’m probably still feeling those effects. I know that I can maintain my fitness without running. I know that I will race again before long. I know that Chipotle is the best food ever.

Commence Saturday’s “thinking” routine: I think I won’t run all summer. I think everyone else is going to have fun and run fast and improve while I disintegrate into a running-less glob of rage. I think I’m going to have to start  over from scratch when I can run again. I think I will never stop being injured. I think everyone loves their life while I have to be sad all the time.

STOP ME NOW. And eventually I did. Shut the eff up Robyn…that’s what my knowing self eventually came and said, while she fed me lemonadey cocktails and hit me over the head with my running shoe.

Fact: No I can’t run right now.

Fact: I will run again.

Fact: Things could be a lot worse, and I need to eat my own words.

Seriously, one of the things I like about blogging is that it keeps us accountable. Despite the fact that I kind of hate the power of the internet, it is pretty impactful to go to your own website and see the words that you’ve so ardently preached. It’s a really good kind of humbling, and it keeps my in check with my rational self when my crazy lady takes over.

So I can’t run for now. I still have all my limbs, a roof over my head, a very wonderful male friend who lives with me, and a lot of other good things going on. Yes I’m sad I can’t take off on a long run, or even a mile-long run, without fear of IT pain. But hopefully maintaining a more sensible outlook and a relative perspective will keep the storm calm.

I apologize for revealing the whiny pity-party that I went through on Saturday. Afterward I felt silly and I actually a little embarrassed. However, I think it’s an important message for runners to remember, as I am always and endlessly reminding myself of it:

Running is important. It’s part of who we are, and we love when we get to do it. However even when we aren’t doing it—we’re still runners. Being injured is a part of being a runner, the two go hand-in-hand. I know I still think of running friends and bloggers that are injured as runners, and there’s no reason I should count myself out of the game due to a temporary decrease in mileage.

The hardest part is keeping this lesson in the front of our minds. Even as I was typing all that out, I could hear the small voice in my brain aching to be out running, and crying over the fact that I was not.

Those voices don’t need to be shut out, in fact they should be listened to, but they shouldn’t overwhelm us. All the sad non-running thoughts exist because it’s something that we love—and, frankly, because you always want what you can’t have.

But you know what? Bodies heal. And the best part about running? It’s going to be right there waiting whenever that healing is complete. Races are always going to be happening, training is always going to be readily available, and all the running routes in the world aren’t all of a sudden going to get up and skip away before you get a chance to trot them again.

So what am I trying to say here? Well, honestly, most of this writing was for myself. I hadn’t really planned on this post going in this direction, which I think is a sign that I needed to do some therapeutic reflection. And I do feel better. I’m still confident that the longevity of this lingering pain is getting shorter and shorter, and in the mean time I’ll be planning my future race endeavors (info on that soon!) and staying off my Twitter feed on weekend mornings.

In fact, I think I should do that no matter what my current state of physical health may be. The internet is great, hello stress-relieving-blog-posting and meeting sweet people , but there’s also a black hole effect to it. Stepping back, living real life, and letting all the ramblings of the world sit for a while is always a healthy practice.

And just so you know, I actually do love hearing about everyone’s PRs and goals and such. I was just a negative nancy for a while in there, and please don’t be afraid to tell me about your running-filled fun.

Thanks for reading about my two-faced mindset on being injured. I know I’m not alone in this type of back-and-forth ness between being okay with not running and hating every single person with fully functioning legs. It’s the nature of the running bug beast—that little devil.

Now tell me, if you feel so inspired, what was the best thing you gained from a time when you could not run? Dare I say—how did being injured make you thankful?

Advertisements

One thought on “Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde: Injured Runner Brain Dichotomy

  1. Jesse Baldridge

    I’m conflicted. I want to make fun of you, but on the other hand, I’ve been there. Haha
    Your “two weeks” line made me laugh — that’s how long we were supposed to take off during seasons in high school. I was always psyched to take that much time off, and sometimes would take more. I never understood my teammates when, a week (or sometimes not even) in, they would get antsy and beg Coach to at least let them lift weights, and sometimes would run anyway. I guess my advice to you from that is to SAVOR the time you have off. Have those three desserts! Sit on the couch. (I personally didn’t move for about four and a half hours when I got home last night. YES, from an office job. :P) Focus on something you like doing completely different from running!
    But, you know, also make sure you’re doing stuff for rehab. Plan it out, even. I was the most frustrated when I was injured, yet didn’t know how long it would take until I would be healed. If you haven’t already, maybe set up a stretching/foam rolling/icing/massage/strengthening routine so you know what’s coming and can have something to sort of look forward to? I dunno.
    I feel your pain (heh) on not being able to run. I wish I could give you some of my health — right now I’m struggling to want to run at all. You’ll be fine, I’m sure! Go eat another bowl of ice cream. 😛

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s