I like running.

I like to be in control.  There I said.  I wouldn’t call myself a control freak but some might.  My need for control is not a surprise to my husband or to anyone that’s vacationed with me.

In some respects running fits my need for control perfectly.  When I look at a training schedule and know that I have to run 5 days a week – great.  I know exactly how many miles per day I need to run too – even better.  Most of the routes for our long training group runs are archived online so I can look them up ahead of time and know exactly where we are going and where the water stops will be, etc. – perfect.  Weekday runs are up to me and I take control and plan where and when we run.  This part of running, I love.  I love knowing what’s going on.  I love the discipline and routine that it provides me.  The regimen that goes along with marathon training gives me my control fix like a shot of heroine does for a junkie.

However, there are a lot of aspects of running that I can’t control.  The non-control parts of running, like training for 5 months for a marathon, only to hit the wall during the marathon makes me want to crawl out of my skin and my anxiety goes through the roof.  Good and bad races and runs, come and go and not being able to figure out why one can be good and another can be bad frustrates me greatly.  I will rehash a bad ran, over-analyze it, complain about it to my husband and in general I stew about it until I eventually give up because my husband tells me he doesn’t want to hear about it anymore.  But I’ve gotten used to this part of running.  I don’t like it but I’ve come to expect this lack of control.  I don’t like it, but I’m getting better at accepting it’s just part of running.

What I can not deal with in the lack of control department is that which an injury can bring.  I don’t understand injuries.  In the big picture, I get it.  I get how the body can at any point scream “I give”.  But when it relates to me and my running, I don’t get it.  I don’t get how I can run stride for stride alongside of my husband and friends and when we’re done I’m the one sporting 4 ice packs while everyone else looks like they just walked around the block.  I don’t understand how I can cross train, stretch and work on my form while others look at me as if I’m going overboard yet I’m the one limping to my car at the end of a long run.  If I didn’t know better I’d think I was a hypochondriac or just a major excuse maker.  But I don’t want to throw out the “I’m injured” statement to get sympathy or to get out of a workout.  Actually it’s just the opposite.  I’m embarrassed when I’m injured because there’s a great sense of being a pussy that that goes along with an injury that I can’t handle.  Besides, I don’t want to get out of a run or training to the point where I keep running when I should probably take time off to heal.

So as embarrassed as I am to say it again, here it is.  I, once again, am injured.  Yes, I still have Runner’s Knee and it makes it painful to bend down and walk down stairs or sit for a long period of time.  But that’s not my major concern this time.  This time it’s a hip injury.  It’s what halted my running in 2011 and what kept me from achieving my 1,000 miles.  I took 2 months off last year to heal my injury but it’s back and I’m terrified it will knock me off of my feet again.  Gotta love Google, because after an extensive search I think my problem is bursitis of the hip.  That sounds better than saying my left hip is inflamed.  I don’t understand inflammation.  To me that’s just a fancy medical way of saying “puffy and swollen”.  Well, my fingers get puffy and swollen all of the time when I eat too much salt.  Give me some water and a couple of hours and the swelling goes away. But apparently this oversimplified, and incorrect, definition of inflammation isn’t what’s happening to me.  After my husband spend 10 frustrating minutes trying to clarify that it’s not the same thing as my puffy fingers, I finally decided it’s once again time to go see a doctor.

I haven’t had success with pain and doctors.  That’s because they’ve never been able to help me.  I’ve always been told there’s nothing they can do.  Well, you know what, I can sit on the couch, not pay hundreds of dollars towards my deductible and come away with the same treatment.  Not only can they not make me feel better they give me lame diagnoses.  I don’t want to think that something as simple as Runner’s Knee will keep me from running.  I don’t want something as simple as bursitis or inflammation of the hip to keep me from running.  In my mind, if I can’t run, it damn well better be because a bone is broken and not something is inflamed.  Inflammation sounds like Turf Toe.  And Turf Toe to me, means shoot me up and get me back in the game Coach.

But why do I care if I get sidelined or if I keep running?  After a bit of soul searching and a few tears (Yes tears… sue me.  I did not run 16 miles, including Scrays Hill in snow and ice or 18 miles in 25 mph winds with gusts up to 40mph to be sidelined prior to the marathon.) I realized I LIKE RUNNING.

I’ve had many people over the years ask my why I like running. My answer always was, “I don’t like it, it’s not like I enjoy it, it’s just something I do”.  But with the thought of being so injury prone or worse, the thought of having chronic, non-healing injuries makes me realize, I do like running.  I don’t want to give it up.  I like being able to go outside and run in nature when it’s a picture perfect, spring day.  I like being able to push myself to do something I didn’t think I could ever do.  I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after a really tough workout/run and knowing I gritted it out.  I like doing races and the sense of camaraderie that goes along with it.  I love the medals and free t-shirts too.  And as stupid as it sounds, I don’t even mind the blisters, scabs and lost toe nails.  It’s a badge or honor.  And I really love running with my husband and friends.  Over the past few years weekends-away and even vacations have revolved around running and races.  If I had to sit on the sideline while everyone else participated, that would damn near kill me.  That’s a sense of control that I’m not willing to give up.

So, tomorrow I’m going to call and try to get in to see an Orthopedics Doctor this week.  I’ve got a big year of running ahead of me and I need to know what to do to make sure I can run the marathons I have planned.  I guess if I can get in now to talk to the doctor, find out what I can do and plot a course of action… that in itself is control.  Maybe I need to focus on taking control of my recovery!?!?

Until next time.

Gotta run (I hope)

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