I have avoided this space for nearly two months because to sit here and write about running feels phony. Who am I to write about running when I haven’t run more than 17 miles in a week since the end of March and, frankly, I don’t really like running right now?
It’s frustrating, but running hurts and isn’t any fun. Running has hurt – and I don’t mean because I’m not fit, I mean because I’m injured – more often that not for a year and a half. Runner’s knees, a hip flexor strain, tendonitis in my left ankle, shin splints, and a calf strain have all made me want to throw away my running shoes and find another fitness hobby.
I was seeing a physical therapist for treatment, some form work and strength exercises to alleviate my calf pain. For a month, I was in the office once or twice a week trying to make running bearable again, and I was making progress. Sure, my fitness was shit, but every step didn’t hurt. I thought I’d be training for a race in the near future.
Then I took a step backward. Last Thursday on a lap around the Back Cove, my ankle started to hurt. Saturday at the end of a few 1.5 mile jogs, my lower calf started to cramp. Tuesday, within 3 minutes of jogging, my calf was tight and hurt.
It’s hard not to give up. I’ve been battling some of this shit since last August, and been battling this calf since the end of March. I can’t remember the last time I ran more than 4 miles.
The fact that this is all coming after the best training cycle of my life in 2019, when I was preparing for the Chicago Marathon, makes it even more frustrating. During that cycle, I was doing thing I didn’t think I was capable of. Now, I can’t do things I could do a month into Couch to 5K when I was 50 pounds heavier 10 years ago.
Part of me wants to quit. This isn’t what I signed up for and isn’t something that brings me any joy. It’s just painful and frustrating and feels like it is not worth the effort.
But I want to run. I don’t want to buy a bike and sit in the seat for hours. I can’t swim and I don’t want to learn. Those virtual exercises classes (Peloton, Apple Fitness) with a couch yelling at your for 45 minutes sound like a special kind of hell. I JUST WANT TO RUN, not do any of those other things people have recommend I do instead of running.
So, I not going to give in yet. I’m going to lay low and keep my running to a minimum right now. Walk instead of run. Do my strength work and stretching and soft tissue massage. I will probably try to get back in to see the physical therapist.
It’s no fun. This shit sucks. I just want to run and not hate it.
Is that too much to ask? (Apparently so).