I have beat myself up trying to figure out what is wrong with my hip, why it hurts when it does and what I might have done to cause the most current flare up. Maybe I should have taken more rest days after Robie? Maybe I did too many runs on hard surfaces? Maybe I should have done a better job listening too my body on that long run when my hip was hurting? As my counseling professor would say, I am “shoulding all over myself.” And that is not a good thing.
Last week someone suggested to me that my body is telling me that it is time to hang up my running shoes and find another sport or fitness activity. My immediate reaction was to become angry and dismissive of the comment, but deep down inside I started to wonder if maybe she was right. What if I am getting too old to run? What if my body can no longer handle the miles I attempt to log every week? My heart ached as I began to imagine a life without my running goals and dreams, a life without my running friends, a life without running. A life without running is totally unacceptable to me.
I am a runner. For the longest time I had difficulty owning that statement. “I run sometimes,” I would say. I thought I had to be a certain kind of runner to actually be able to call myself a runner. Like one who ran track in high school, one who consistently runs races or one who runs at a certain pace. But now I will call myself a runner instead of just saying “I run”, and this is how running enriches my life: Running brings calm and sanity to my otherwise chaotic mind and life in a way that no other sport or physical activity ever has. Yes, it can be hard, painful and brutal, but as with life, that is also part of its beauty. Running is both my time to be social and my time to be with my own thoughts. I have met some of my closest friends through running. I have seen the beauty of nature and the beauty of humanity through running. And I intend to run for as long as I possibly can.
I have struggled with several bouts of depression in my life. When I have been in the depths of depression trying with all of my might to climb out I have sometimes felt that perhaps I was not trying hard enough. That maybe if I worked just a little bit harder I could beat depression. But that was not always the case. I did not always need to try harder. Sometimes I just needed to try differently. A different approach, a different medication, a different therapist, an alternative type of treatment.
So I am applying this approach to my hip ailment. Try differently. It is easy for me to feel frustrated that I am injured in spite of the fact that I do an inordinate amount of hip strengthening exercises, core exercises, cross training, and increase my mileage slowly. However, the negative energy and negative thoughts do no good. I am here now searching for answers and trying the next thing. And keep trying I will until I find some answers and find something that works. Because giving up is just not an option.