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On The Run: Training Week 2 Recap

I write to you from the couch, where my butt will be most of the day because, surprise surprise, I’ve got an injury!

To say I’m frustrated would be an extreme understatement. Over the past couple days, my left knee has grown increasingly sensitive and unstable feeling, to the point where I’m now taking a full day of rest in hopes that it will feel better in the morning. Don’t worry, I’ve got an appointment in with a doctor in case things don’t improve.

It’s just that, with the recent experience I had in the medical system, I am not optimistic that doing so will really do much good with this kind of issue. The hours and dollars I wasted only to be repeatedly told different things about how to fix a problem that still hadn’t been identified are fresh in my mind, and so I’m hoping this knee will handle itself.

I am not good at being still. I love long walks, filling my weekend with the outdoors. I love running and yoga and being the able-bodied person I typically have the privilege of being.

But I’m so active, so constantly in motion, that my body sometimes gives me incredibly forceful reminders to slow down and be still. Which I hate. 

Running, taking long walks, getting outside is how I cope and refresh. When I’m laid up with an injury, I tend to spiral into negative thinking and/or have a pity party. I’m prone to the thought trap known as catastrophizing, where I’ll take a small issue like having a hurt knee and totally spiral off–what if my knee never heals, what if I can’t ever run again, what if my tendons snap and I have to have major surgery. The ability to see a small thing for what it is goes completely out the window and I’m left in a panic about things that haven’t happened yet and aren’t that likely to happen.

Add in the fact that I’m currently on my cycle and mercury is in retrograde and you’ve got the trifecta. I am not a fun person to be around right now.

I try to ground back into myself. Remind myself it’s an enormous privilege to live the life I’m able to live most of the time, that most of the time I can walk and run and do the things I love with relative ease.

But none of that really seems to matter when I’m stuck on the couch with a dull throb in my knee listening to the sounds of feet hitting pavement outside the window. I get so jealous of those running people, those walking people, those people whose training is going according to plan. Being unable to move like I want to is one of my least attractive modes, and I know it.

Here I sit, catching up on video lectures from online courses I signed up for and haven’t made the time for. Here I sit, reconnecting with what I do as a person who’s being still. I’m not sure when this got so hard, when the girl who used to sit and read for hours at a time lost the ability to take a single day off from long walks and running.

As much as I resent my knee for not being stronger, I try to see the silver lining. Try to view these moments as invitations to slow down, to pause and take stock. To think about this thing called running and why I do it, to consider how much it’s become a part of my identity and what that means when I experience setbacks.

Losing my half marathon last year created some new thought traps for me. It’s week 2 of training, which means the best possible thing I can do right now is ease off and let my knee heal so I can continue on strong. There is no real reason for me to fear I won’t be lining up for my 10K on race day come the end of September. And yet it’s hard to shake that nagging fear that I’ve signed myself up to fail–again. 

This post feels like it’s swinging up and down, back and forth, and I think that’s because it’s what I’m doing here inside my head. I try, try, try to spin this into a positive while I sink into frustrated rage. I want to be the kind of person who bounces back quickly, who always has an optimistic turn of phrase at the ready. But sometimes (especially when my knee decides to act up when I’m about to start my period), I just don’t have it in me.

So for now, I’ll practice accepting the moment. I accept that my knee is injured. I accept that I’m pissed about it. I accept that I’m sitting on this couch and trying to heal as opposed to getting out there for my long run.

This is my moment. I hope that my Week 3 recap brings better news.

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