Argh. I felt a lump in my throat when I began writing this post. That's how sad I am about this decision. However, I KNOW it's BEST for my body and mind.

Running and I are separating.
Indefinitely.

Sure, you may read this and think that it is really silly to be upset about. Just hang with me.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have been a big runner for the past four years. It started when I moved to Charlottesville, with the treadmill and television. I've told you a bit about how I was afraid to run outside, mostly do to C'ville being such an active community. I was simply intimidated by the "runner bodies." You know the type-  tall, lean and long legged. I'm 5'5, my legs are muscular and solid like my dads, I'm pear shape with a pretty average build. My body speaks little of being a "runner."

Once my roommates & friends (who were all runners) encouraged me to jump off the treadmill and try out the roads, there was no turning back. They were right, it's SO much better!
The week before we got married I finished my first race; The Charlottesville 10-Miler. It was the first time since high school soccer training (if ever) that I had run that far. I craved it more, and more.
That summer, I trained for my first marathon and completed it in the Fall. Although I had an IT band injury, I allowed it to heal a bit and started hitting the pavement again.



Not only did I enjoy the "runners high", I loved getting outside, feeling like I was accomplishing something, always challenging myself, and even being able to say "I ran x amount of miles." While traveling, running was one of my favorite activities! Such a fun way to explore.
Most importantly, it was also a time to bond with friends & meet new ones. Some of my closest friendships are the ones that have been formed while hitting the trails together. It's what I valued most about being able to run.




But, running has consequences. I found that out the hard way when I got plantars fascias last month. It was my second time getting "injured" from running.

My body has been telling me to take a break for the past two months, but I haven't done a good job of listening. I LOVE being ABLE to run. I love that my body and mind can do it. It's the small victories of conquering more mileage or the huge hills in the distance that continually push the envelope. It's also an exercise I enjoy, a way to give Maizy exercise, catch up with friends, it helps keep me in shape & my heart healthy.
As anyone who has run before knows,"the runners high" is a real thing and it's hard to get out of your system once you've tasted it.




THAT is why it's hard to take a break. It's something I love. I hear my dad talk about how he could never run again because of all of the running he did when he was young, he hurt his body. That story is repeated 100 times over by many people I know, always warning "be careful," "listen to your  body," "take it easy."
Running helped teach me that I could do ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I feel like I'm failing by walking away from it. Like I'm letting go of a long time friend. I realize this sounds dramatic, but when you go through years of your life where your days and weeks are partially planned by when you can run and/or exercise, there is a huge mind shift that has to take place. Also a huge swallowing of pride. Neither is enjoyable.




For me, right now, my body wants a break from the constant pounding. My knees want to recover. Other muscles want to be used and toned. Mentally, I need something new. My hope is that by slowing down now, I'll be able to it enjoy it more later. I know I'm doing the right thing, so although there is a part of me that wants to slap the word failure across my forehead, more of me wants to take care of myself.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the other activities I've been doing to mix up my work outs, and how I'm feeling since I gave running a break, physically and mentally.





8 Comments

  1. You are definitely NOT failing by giving up running. You would be failing by continuing to run because of the temporary pleasure you get from it that will (like your dad and others) keep your body forever beat up. Giving up running doesn't mean you can't stay fit... just like you learned when you first injured your foot... biking is a substitute and can also be done outside... with a little less beating done to your knees :). Go invest in a good road bike... it looks like your area would be great for some biking! Kuddos to you for stopping before you do any major lasting damage to your body.

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  2. It has been 3 years since I ran last. Some days I miss it, but my I was done. My knees hurt, I couldn't find enough time to maintain the mileage, the seasons weren't cooperating and then it ended and I forgot about it. Maybe one day I will pick it up again, but until then there is always walking:-) I hope you find another form of exercise that gives you the health benefits you desire and captures your passion like running did. One day your body will tell you it's time to start again and you will. I am so sorry:-(

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  3. So sorry you are going through this! My body has never been comfortable with running. Right when I start conditioning my body after a few weeks, I get terrible shin splints that sideline me for months. It really is so hard on your body. I don't know if you've tried spin, but it's my go-to workout now and very kind on your joints!

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  4. meredith, i totally feel your agony. i am so sorry you are injured but i commend you for stepping away from running. several years ago, i had my 2nd stress fracture and had to take months off from running. it was silly, but i felt like part of my identity was being taken away. i was crushed. but, i am SO thankful i allowed my body to fully heal and realized that who i am is not wrapped up in running (or any activity for that matter). i was able to run again, and for that i am thankful. but, i also am thankful for the time i took off and that i listened to my body. i will be praying for peace for you as your journey ahead!

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    1. Thanks so much, you nailed it on the head! It definitely is also a pride thing and identity struggle too. Good to know that you were able to bounce back and now appreciate that time you had off :)

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  5. Sounds like a super wise decision to listen to your body on this one - and it sounds like you've already found some new ways to exercise - which is always exciting! Keep going - in whatever direction you head. As you let go, new things are coming in...trust it!

    Ray Doc Wife

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  6. Oh, no! This would make me so sad too. But by no means would I say "failure" - look at all you've done and learned, and the smart choice you're making for your body right now. I hope you've found something else you really enjoy in the meantime! I don't know whether it's hard on knees, but I've really enjoyed spinning classes - especially before I needed to start keeping a bit of an eye on not overexerting (breathing for two!) I found that a really good class, working my buns off, was the first thing that gave me a similar feeling to the running accomplishments...

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    1. Anne, you and some others suggested spinning. I think I'm going to do some asking around here to see if I can find a good gym with classes!

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