the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A battle with my brain

Last week my ankle prevented me from working out or running, minus one 45-minute low-intensity tour of the weight room. Since I started training for the NYC Marathon (now just a week from Sunday), I’ve logged a little over 105 miles, nothing compared to regular runners, but a lot for someone like me who only started running on August 29. That injury plus a week of being unable to relieve stress through exercise plus LIFE have really screwed with my head. Not unlike the safety seal a manufacturer glues over a lid of sour cream that ensures the container will spit all over your shirt when you peel it off.

Not that I’m eating sour cream. I mean, I used to. LOOK AT THAT GRUDGE.

As of right now, this minute, I don’t know if my ankle is going to be healthy enough to run the race. The anger that twists my stomach when I write that is just so unhealthy, but it’s not an emotion I can control. So I don’t try to. I hold it in my hands, stare at it, turn it around to see it from different angles.

I had a miscarriage in 2007, and in the weeks and months that followed I couldn’t look at a pregnant woman without my throat involuntarily closing up. The curve of a woman’s belly blurred my vision, not with jealousy or rage, but with the thought of my own failure. Intellectually I understood that this was an irrational response. I had not failed. Pregnancy is not a measurement of one’s ability to succeed or fail. But there it was, my tightened throat, and because I was still feeling so vulnerable the intellectual part of my brain cut me some slack.

What I’m going through now, while not nearly as devastating as what I went through with that miscarriage, is similar in that my intellect is laying off a bit. It knows that I am reacting irrationally when I see someone running and I want to turn around, go home and crawl under my bed. Because although I know it’s not my fault that I have all these injuries, it pretty much is all my fault.

While this is certainly not the most uplifting post I’ve ever written, I wanted to be honest with you guys. I sat down and tried to mine my life for a laugh, but this is what I’m feeling. I know there are hundreds of other marathons and races (and far worse things in life, YES, I KNOW THIS), and next time I’ll have more time to train, more time to build up to longer runs. I know in a few months I will look back at this anger and shake my head at the idea that it kept me awake at night, that it woke me up and tortured me until the alarm finally sounded hours later.

But then maybe I will run that race, and all of this worry and exasperation will have been a useless exercise. And even if I don’t, when it’s all over I’ll think, wait, did I make this so much harder than it had to be? And that would be different from everything else I do, how?

  • amy

    2011/10/27 at 1:46 pm

    I can relate. I didn’t finish this year’s Twin Cities Marathon and had to ride the sag bus back from mile 17. I went into the race knowing there was a good chance I wouldn’t finish – I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time and had missed a month of training leading to the race due to total nausea and fatigue – but the part of me that can’t let shit like that go (after all, I’d trained all summer) meant I was lining up anyway. The feeling when you see other runners? You should be the one who gets dropped off by a freaking BUS at the finish when thousands are walking around with their medals draped over their necks, doing what you’ve done seven times before but just couldn’t do today. The whole pregnant thing may have been a decent excuse for a normal person but for me? Eats me up and now I just HAVE to sign up next year just so I can prove to myself I can finish again.

    Whether you run NYC or not, I hope you keep running. You’ve made some awesome progress running, and it’s all for an awesome cause.

  • crivens

    2011/10/27 at 1:45 pm

    I haven’t been able to run for over a month, and it’s not looking likely in the near future either. I empathize completely with your frustration and feelings of failure, because I want so badly to run. And yes, saying that there’s another race just doesn’t cut it.

  • luv and kiwi

    2011/10/27 at 1:47 pm

    Oh Heather 🙁 I SOOO know what you’re going through. I was injured once AND four of my friends in four different races injured themselves and were unable to complete their first run. I hope you still plan to go to NY and watch…In the mean time, has your doctor cleared you to work out in a pool while your ankle heels? Maybe your foot isn’t lost just yet.

    There’s a documentary about marathons I can hip you to if you’re interested. Shows professional athletes and what they do when faced with injuries.

    Do you have anything you can punch that won’t get you in trouble?

  • LesleyG

    2011/10/27 at 1:57 pm

    I know this doesn’t help now, but I have been in your position (also running a marathon for a charity that I really, really believed in, put my heart and soul and body into) and was injured STEPPING ONTO MY FRONT PORCH three days before leaving for the race. I went anyway, though, and cheered on my friends who I trained with, and complete strangers as well. And that did soften the blow a little. And no one asked for their donations back, either, which was an irrational fear of mine.

    Go and cheer. It won’t make it okay, but it’ll make it a little bit better.

  • la_chica

    2011/10/27 at 1:58 pm

    Quit beating yourself up. You made AMAZING progress with your training, and after you recover from this you be better and smarter. I don’t understand why you put so much energy into feeling bad about this. You did a great job, you had a setback, it happened so deal with it and move on.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/10/27 at 2:01 pm

    When I was 18, I went through U.S. Army Basic Training & Military Police School. After being a scrawny pipsqueak for my entire life, I grew two inches and gained 26 pounds over that four-month period. I was in incredible shape (albeit mentally deranged and brainwashed). And during the second-to-last week of M.P. school, prior to our final physical test, I rolled my ankle so badly, I ended up on crutches. And I couldn’t run for the rest of our time there. And I felt like a complete fucking loser. I would have done just about anything to have avoided standing out amongst my platoon mates as the guy who couldn’t cut it. But there was nothing I could do about it.

    You’ll run if you can. And if you can’t, you can’t, and it’ll hurt like hell either way. I hope you’re able to do it, but if you can’t do it because of a physical ailment, you need to give yourself a pass. There will be more marathons.

    But, yeah, I know what it feels like to work so hard only to flame out before reaching your goal. It sucks. Sorry you’re experiencing that frustration.

  • waitimaprincess

    2011/10/27 at 2:11 pm

    I can’t make you cut yourself some slack any more than I can make my adult sized breasts finally show up. In adulthood. But I can damn sure tell you I am impressed that you’ve logged as many hours as you have (some uphill! the hell?) having started so recently. Plus, I’d much rather know how you’re truly feeling rather than being fed magical unicorns and fairy bullshit.

    No offense, unicorns (look at all the fairies folding their arms at my diss, flying out of our 12-step meeting).

  • smithie1996

    2011/10/27 at 2:19 pm

    You have every right to be angry and disappointed. Your ankle dealt you a raw deal and if it were me I’d be walking/hobbling around yelling at my ankle. “You stupid stupid ankle! What the hell did I ever do to you?” It may see irrational but it doesn’t make your anger any less valid. Think about how awesomely strong you are and kiss those biceps and tell yourself, “I’ve still got it. So fuck you ankle.”

    Yeah. Ankle. Fuck you.

  • tokenblogger

    2011/10/27 at 2:25 pm

    On a side note: I wish we didn’t have to login to comment. I keep forgetting my password and by the time I get through everything and logged in I’ve forgotten what kinda of helpful, not helpful, hopeful, witty, or whatever comment I was going to leave.

    I think it had something to do with installing one of those padded dummies in your house to beat up on instead of yourself, but idunno. Seems kinda lame now.

  • bubbytoots

    2011/10/27 at 2:40 pm

    For your mind’s sake I hope you will still travel to NY to cheer on the rest of the team and walk the beginning and end with your team. You are still part of the team even if your ankle doesn’t want to participate.

  • hshellen

    2011/10/27 at 2:53 pm

    I am strangely in a similar boat and can really relate. I too had two miscarriages in 2007 and I also could not look at a pregnant women, hear about pregnant women, talk about them etc. I hated them all, I hated their babies and I hated myself for it. Of course, (as my 19 month old eats something he found under the couch) I see that was silly and I am embarrassed that was the way I felt about people. While I am not running a marathon, I have been dealing with a back injury for the past 6 months (well, my whole life really but it has really gotten bad in the past few months.) I am doing what I can to fix it but I seem to keep re-injuring myself. I am stressed and worry about it all the time. I look at all these people around me who can “bend over” and “lift things” and “walk normally” and I basically only think one thing: they are all assholes.

    I suppose a lot of people out there have it a lot worse than me and my husband is probably right when he tells me that this is temporary and I will get through it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever.

  • cory212

    2011/10/27 at 2:58 pm

    Just switch to yoga. Much healthier for your body and mind. And you can take some killer 100 degree hot awesome yoga that will knock your socks off. Worlds better than running. Namaste!

  • Caren Lynn Cross

    2011/10/27 at 3:01 pm

    Totally been in your shoes. And with a random ankle injury that took me months to get back to normal from. Best thing? You’ll never train for anything without ample time again! Here’s to a quick recovery. If you can, try pool running. I have a friend who maniacally pool ran her way back from a stress fracture. Good luck Heather!

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    2011/10/27 at 3:07 pm

    i like tokenblogger’s post 😉 that might take your mind off what your mind’s on …

    and the fonts are going all kooky on me

  • Janet Payton

    2011/10/27 at 3:07 pm

    What I have learned from being married to a male version of you for the last 21 years is that it’s futile to tell your kind to quit beating yourself up and to stop making everything so hard. Because you’re also the valedictorian of being hard on yourself.

    It took me many years, but I finally understood that people who feel that deeply have to express themselves deeply as well to get clueless folks like me to understand just how shitty life feels at that moment. It’s not easy being you, dooce. But that’s what makes you such a treat.

  • morganlyoncotti

    2011/10/27 at 3:11 pm

    I totally get it. I ran the Deseret News Marathon this summer, and heard so many horror stories about dehydration that I unknowingly over-hydrated the day before. This led to me puking my guts out every 6 miles during the race. I gutted it out and was still able to finish in decent time, but I’m still sick about the fact that all the training and planning didn’t lead to the type of race experience I wanted. Hopefully your ankle will decide to be a team player and let you rock the race next week.

  • dragonfish

    2011/10/27 at 3:13 pm

    hi heather. oh the number of times i’ve wished i could call you these last three months. a year ago i had to default on my mortgage after 14 months of unemployment. i had spent all my savings, all my 401k, tried three times to short sell the house. i beat the CRAP out of myself emotionally for doing teh wrong thing by not paying (even though there was no money to pay). bank started foreclosure proceedings. here you have ten days to vacate after sale. i needed surgery bad, so four months ago i had a ‘remodel’ on my foot bones. i moved out of the house into an apartment that didn’t have stairs and where i could handle the 8 weeks on crutches. by doing this i legally changed my game. three months ago my hair started falling out very quickly. my house has now had the auction postponed twelve times. the year is up. the bank now gets to sue me for breach of contract. half of my hair is gone. i am horrified to leave the house. i have tried three different ssri’s to get the anxiety, the trembling, the panic under control. i had horrible, horrible reactions to the ssri’s. one made my whole body so tense my muscles were like cement. i went and had a massage to try and release some of the muscles. they ruptured a tendon in my arm during the massage. every doctor i have seen says my hair loss is due to the surgery stress, and the life stress. well guess what F*ckers – it’s pretty hard not to be stressed out when you are losing handfuls of hair every day. I beg and plead with myself to calm down. I know the surgery was REALLY hard on me, and I did NOT handle the anesthesia well, I lost 8lbs. in the five days after the surgery. I had to come back to work four weeks too early. I have a high stress job. No medication will help me. SO HOW in the hell am I supposed to stop the hair loss? Get a hold of my stress? are you freaking kidding me?
    short story long, i feel ya. be kind to your body. allow it to heal.
    and if anyone in oregon wants to give me some free legal advice on my house situation, yeah. please help me. i’m half bald, i’m all the way scared, and i don’t have anyone to turn to for help.
    be so, so thankful for your husband, your family, and your support system here.
    /emotional vomit. thanks for listening

  • LillyO

    2011/10/27 at 3:39 pm

    Sorry for what you are going through…just wanted to say, THE BEST afternoon I spent in my whole life was at the Portland Marathon (which I had trained and failed for–cortisone shots and all) waiting for my hubby to finish. I could write a book on the stories I saw run, walk, and CRAWL across that line that day. Emotional. And, of course, the best one was my hubby…agony, pride, and “thank F**K” at one time on his lovely face! Whew. Was 7 years ago and I can still be transported to that moment. Trust me, if you can’t run, being there will show you “your cause” is not lost. ;oD By the way? My humor was restored as I saw someone VOMIT pink goo as their name was called by the announcer. Projectile spew in front of 1000+ people…PRICELESS! And they STILL smiled like an idiot at just being “done.” LOL!

  • gretchie

    2011/10/27 at 4:13 pm

    It’s so maddening when you know your emotions are irrational. But you’re doing right by taking the “zen” approach of just accepting it without judging it. Those gut-churning emotions pass so much faster than when you resist or judge them. I hope the feeling passes in time to go to NY and participate in whatever way you can. It’s so important that you go, even if you can’t participate the way you originally planned to. You’ve brought so much awareness to this issue, it means a lot to those who will run, and even more to those you’re trying to help. 🙂

  • JoannaSmith

    2011/10/27 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for posting this today. I needed to hear that it was ok to feel like a failure :o)
    I worked really hard for something, it hasn’t worked out like I planned, I think I ruined my life, and nobody gets why I’m so depressed. I’m blowing it way out of proportion, and I realize it, so I’m kind of embarrassed to talk about it and let it go. Your post today REALLY helped me put it all into perspective, and accept that it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the end of this moment today, or this week – but life is bigger than this one letdown.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

  • soba

    2011/10/27 at 4:28 pm

    I’m so sorry you are injured. I love to run too and have been sidelined by injuries a few times over the years. I hope you are OK to do the marathon and if you do, please run (or walk!) your own race…don’t try to keep up with anyone else. If you decide not to do this marathon, definitely go and cheer! Cheering the participants on is SO MUCH FUN and so inspiring, plus it means so much to the runners. I admire you for even taking up this challenge. For my first marathon I trained for six months…you really didn’t have much time to train. I’m going to make a donation to Every Mother Counts right now, and I want to do it whether you do the NYC Marathon or not…you are a great member of the team. Take care.

  • tinacolada97

    2011/10/27 at 4:41 pm

    Yeah there’s worse things, but feeling disappointed or upset with yourself after all the work you’ve put in is….wait for it….NORMAL. So quit beating yourself up (oh wait, you can’t…you’re running a marathon!! HA)

    Congratulations, Heather. You’re normal.

  • JuliaA

    2011/10/27 at 4:42 pm

    i’m sidelined from a variety of activities i love, and when i get this sort of feeling, it’s not so much a feeling of failure as it is vicious envy and overwhelming self-pity. loads of fun, that.

    i take deep breaths and remind myself that it’s part of being human, feeling like that. and that’s true. but it still feels like crap.

  • Issa

    2011/10/27 at 4:56 pm

    Oh Heather, I’m sorry.

    It’s not irrational. It’s rational. You want something so bad it hurts and it’s okay to be sad/scared/in pain about it not going how you thought it would. It’s normal even.

    You don’t always have to be funny. Just being you is enough.

    Anyway…I’ll cross some fingers for you that you do get to run.

  • Anxious Annie

    2011/10/27 at 5:23 pm

    I think I hear the perfectionist in you talking. You’ve done an amazing job running so far and in such a short amount of time. You just didn’t have enough time to prep for a marathon.

    On another note, did you change FONTS in the last day or so because what I’m seeing looks awful in places. In one of the posts above, 401K has the last 2 characters smooshed together and lots of words have really bizarre kerning going on.

  • eedo

    2011/10/27 at 6:04 pm

    How about this? Even if you were fully healthy enough to run the race, your mind would play all sorts of games with you prior to the race, during the race, and likely after. Either way the mind wins. Unless you don’t let it.

    I qualified for and ran in the Boston marathon and 19 months later I’m still annoyed with how the race went. It is really really hard to be a zen marathon runner.

  • Wonderfun

    2011/10/27 at 6:16 pm

    I think any runner, biker, swimmer, athlete or armchair athlete can relate. I did my first triathlon this August and days before was unsure I would be able to compete. The shame and frustration was overwhelming. It definitely overwhelmed the first time triathlete who whispered, “well, next year you’ll be able to train longer and do better anyway.” Just look at your poster of the kitty hanging from a branch and “Hang in there”.
    ; )

  • NoLongerEvil

    2011/10/27 at 6:37 pm

    Your are the valedictorian of anger and irrational thinking. Does that count for something?

    All jokes aside, what you are feeling is normal. You will run the NYC Marathon if not this one, then next year and it will be awesome!

    I was feeling pretty crappy this morning as my day didn’t go as planned. Thank you for making me feel better.

  • mybottlesup

    2011/10/27 at 6:41 pm

    damn. the brain is a tricky, tricky thing. my heart goes out to you.

    my in-laws did a half marathon at disney a few weeks ago. it was this strange wine & dine event, with the wining and dining taking place in the middle of the night because the half marathon started at like 9 or 10 pm. my mother-in-law ran the first 5 miles and stopped there because she’s not a big runner. she was pleased with her accomplishment and passed the baton on to my father-in-law. he has been running since i don’t even know when. i have seen this man in teeny-ass running shorts more than i have seen him in everyday clothing. honestly, he is a machine when it comes to running. as it turns out, he had been nursing an injury a few weeks prior to the half marathon, “runner’s butt” (google it), but he thought he had beat it. he started his leg of the half marathon and didn’t get 9 steps into the run before feeling like he had been shot in the ass. he walked the remaining 8 miles of the half marathon and crossed the finish line in the wee hours of the morning.

    whether you do this marathon or not, you will make this experience your own. your brain may not realize it now, but you’re sure as hell learning a lot about yourself.

    i wish you luck.

  • mybottlesup

    2011/10/27 at 6:42 pm

    ps: sorry for the long comment.

  • Meranath

    2011/10/27 at 6:53 pm

    Aw. 🙁 I’m sorry your ankle is being a dick.


  • AEMont

    2011/10/27 at 6:57 pm

    Just FYI: I never ever ever comment (and I’ve been reading your blog for YEARS). But I had a similar experience and it straight up did me in. I was up to 20 miles in my marathon training program and got a stress fracture in my pelvis. Serious, hard-core exercise abruptly ended and I was DISTRAUGHT. I was not on anti-depressants, but I imagined that that was what it would feel like to abruptly stop taking them. It hurt. If you can’t continue to run, I recommend swimming to at least get your serotonin pumping. And of course you’ll feel terrible about it in general–it feels like a loss–but you’ll be OK soon. Like you, I also trained too hard/too fast and learned that just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should (wanted to post this to you earlier, but not a poster).

    Also, I’m from Tupelo, MS (but don’t live there)…just right South of Germantown! I bet we talk the same, all thick…

    Best of luck. I love your blog.

  • reenielarsen

    2011/10/27 at 7:01 pm

    I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN! Yes, in all caps. About 18 months ago, I planned to start running some races since I was finally starting to be able to run. One severe knee dislocation, two MPFL reconstructions, and two fractured kneecaps later, I am STILL unable to walk. Forget about running. I have to have wires removed from my knee next year, so maybe I’ll be able to run again before I die. Who knows? But one thing I do know is that my brain has an immense capability for being angry with my stupid body. I spent 18 months losing weight and getting healthy and now I sit on my ass day after day, unable to survive a normal workday, my stomach and thighs a gelatinous mess and I want to CRY.

  • Janice

    2011/10/27 at 7:47 pm

    Go anyway. Run, walk, watch. Whichever you choose you have already achieved your original goal which was to bring awareness to your cause.

    Do you have any idea the change you have made in peoples lives?

    Babies will be born that otherwise would die because of you.

    Do you have any idea the awareness you have brought?

    Being there will be so awesome for you. Be a part of it all and take it in. Cheer on other runners.

    Any idea how many people would love to say “I ran the Boston Marathon AND Dooce handed me water?”

    Tell your brain to SUCK IT.

  • NolaMomma

    2011/10/27 at 7:59 pm

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Even if there are bigger problems, that doesn’t mean that this one isn’t big for you right now. It’s natural to feel disappointment after all the effort you’ve put in.

    Staying tuned for the recovery and training, which I know you’ll resume once your body is ready.

  • ClaireinAustin

    2011/10/27 at 7:59 pm

    Not much to offer on anything related to running, but I can get down on myself too, and it sucks. I really hope you feel better soon. Sending good thoughts your way.

  • LisaAR

    2011/10/27 at 8:09 pm

    Well, I just posted a comment and the computer killed it…but basically I said I’m sorry for what you are going through. That this, too, shall pass, and it will mean *something* to you…either you will learn from it or grow…or something..right? Right?? Yeah. Right. It just sucks in the here and now. But remember what came after the miscarriage? So go and give Marlo…beautiful, awesome, wonderful Marlo…a hug. She came after the pain of miscarriage. What might come after the pain of this?

  • darkangel

    2011/10/27 at 8:40 pm

    Hey Heather, I’ve been an absent reader of your blog for a while so I wasn’t even aware of your running addiction and marathon training. HTF did you even get into such a hard to get into marathon like New York?

    I’ve run 21 marathons — not quite the valavictorian of marathon running, but certainly enough to speak on this topic. I’ve sacrificed lots in the hopes of having a good race day. Each time, I lined up at the starting line, a little voice said this could be your day. That voice was right less than 20% of the time.

    Rarely do you get the marathon you want; you only get the marathon you are given. And in your case, you were not given. Considering you only logged 100 miles and started training in August (like P Diddy in 2003, the year I did New York), this is probably the universe way of saying 1) don’t do this marathon, 2) if you must do this marathon, take it easy and 3) Seriously, don’t do this marathon.

    You won’t heed these words, so my advice would be for you to live to run another day. Line up and start with everyone and then ease off. Don’t run for time, in fact, do a lot of run walking. You’ll find many interesting people at the back of the pack that you would otherwise not meet if you were in peak form.

    Good luck, a fellow over-believer and wanna be acheiver

  • mama v

    2011/10/27 at 8:45 pm

    I’m not a runner. In fact, I’m not sure I would run if I was being chased. But I am a mom, a mom who has experienced loss. I lost my daughter when I was 22 weeks along with her. 3 weeks after her funeral, I walked into Target, heard a newborn’s cry, and almost collapsed right there on the floor. I was angry. Angry that my daughter had died. Angry that I couldn’t change it. Angry that it was the little girl I had wanted so badly. And I was angry at every single person who didn’t have to know what that felt like. It wasn’t fair, but neither was her death. I gave birth to my 3rd baby boy last December and while I’m grateful for my boys, and oh how my 2 oldest got me through some dark days, they will never replace her and those feelings will never go away. Her birthday was last Friday and all of those angry feelings-they came right back. They’ve subsided and I’ve learned to tuck them away, but they’re there. I can’t look at a little girl without thinking of mine. Feelings aren’t rational or logic, they’re just feelings. And you should never be apologetic for them. We can’t help how we feel. I’m sending postive vibes to you all the way from Missouri. 🙂

  • Canadienne29

    2011/10/27 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Heather –

    I can’t believe I’m writing this, because I know you HATE unsolicited advice. I’ve been reading you since 2005.

    Ten days before my half marathon this spring, I tripped on a rock and rolled my ankle on my last long run. It was awful.

    This thing saved my race:

    I didn’t run until the actual day of the race, but did physical therapy every other day.

    Race was great, slow but great.
    The only part of me that didn’t hurt afterward was my ankle.

    I know how awfully frustrated you must be. I’ve NOT made it to three marathons I’ve registered for – various reasons why, including injury and unexpected pregnancy, and it is terribly frustrating.

    You’ll get there one of these days and my fingers are totally crossed that you’ll be there this year in NYC.

  • MelissaInAz

    2011/10/27 at 9:20 pm

    I cannot relate to this particular situation…but it seems to me that there will always be other races/marathons. There’s no other ankle. Weigh your risks.

  • Jayseaka

    2011/10/27 at 9:29 pm

    I’ve run 2 half-marathons and nearly blew out my knee both times. The 2nd time wasn’t as painful as the first because of all the training I did but after that I ditched the running shoes and strapped on some cycling cleats and never looked at my running shoes again. Injuries and running go hand in hand I guess. Luckily Ive not yet had an injury on the bike. Plus, cycling is way funner than running 😉

    Even if you don’t get to do this marathon I would consider it a huge success that you even took up running at all..a sport most people never even dare to seriously explore!

  • ladygray

    2011/10/27 at 10:55 pm

    heather… Sending you a big hug from Seattle. Disappointment is completely valid right now, and the anger that comes along with it.

    Whatever happens, you are giving it 100% – and that is really all you have control over.

    Big love and healing your way.

  • Palesa

    2011/10/28 at 5:01 am

    Ah Heather, that’s a real shame, I’m sorry to hear that your ankle might scupper your marathon plans. I totally get where you’re coming from. Several years ago, I started running with a trainer – it was great, I started to get super-fit, I went out on team seven mile runs at the weekend, the weight dropped off me (I’d been trying to lose weight all my life) and I felt great and so healthy.

    But the injuries started to come – bursitis, inflamed hip flexors and knee joints, constant pain in lower back and knees, constant physio treatment, podiatrists for orthotics…one physio said to me “you weren’t built for running” (I have chronically flat feet, tight hamstrings and hip flexors, over-tight IT bands, damaged knee cartilage and back problems). But I persevered and did a half-marathon, but it always hurt after running, for days afterwards, and I was always nursing some injury.

    I got SO mad seeing runners gliding round the park or doing races. I wanted to be doing that too, really badly, and I really resented them, so much. But I finally accepted that, for me, running doesn’t work. Now I do yoga and spinning, and a few gym classes when I can. I don’t get quite so mad with the runners, now (although I do get a tiny bit mad). My body just is different, and I have to learn what it can and can’t do and accept that (not as easy as it sounds!)

    Good luck, I really hope you can run in NYC, but if not, I hope you can get back to fitness and run a marathon (if that’s what you want to do) when you’re rested and well prepared. And if not? I hope you find a different mode of exercise that you love and keeps you healthy and happy, that gets the endorphins pumping. I too vote for hot yoga – it’s fab! Take care Heather and hope things get better soon 🙂

  • BrigidS

    2011/10/28 at 5:56 am

    “I hold it in my hands, stare at it, turn it around to see it from different angles.” This is such an inspiring way to approach our irrational emotions. I know you usually want to make a joke out of things, because that makes your audience feel better, but understanding this emotional awareness, thinking about how to do that myself, that’s made me feel better, too.

    As a temporary fix: have you tried swimming? Might help in the endorphin generation, without exacerbating your injury.

  • Steph Bachman

    2011/10/28 at 6:20 am

    Oh, crap. I am so sorry.

    FWIW (and probably not much!), it took me 3 tries to successfully train for a marathon. I injured myself every stinking time. It just plain sucks to be driving in your car watching people out running and knowing that you can’t (or shouldn’t) be doing it or having to park your car close to the building or take the elevator. Not to mention the obvious result of the resulting endorphin deprivation. . . It was during those times that I got really good at swimming, which is nice, but not as good.

    Crossing my fingers that you can get out there walking soon and running soon after that.

  • Steph Bachman

    2011/10/28 at 6:24 am

    OMG, see what I get for not reading both pages of comments? Brigid and I apparently share a brain.

    In the yoga class I took last week, the teacher talked a lot about how you have 2 wings. One for feeling the emotions and the other for noticing them but not reacting to them, for just watching them go by. Sounds like you are doing a very good job of this.

  • kiwib

    2011/10/28 at 6:30 am

    My pre-marathon injury story has a happy ending, and I hope yours does, too! One week before I was supposed to run a marathon, I was out on an easy 6-miler as part of my taper when I started experiencing excruciating shooting pains and mild swelling in my left ankle.

    I limped the 2 remaining miles back to my car and frantically called everyone I could think of that could help me. I saw a podiatrist who thought I may have tarsal tunnel syndrome (like carpal tunnel but in the ankle), but no one could really help in that short amount of time.

    I was very grumpy, feeling a lot of the feelings and jealous pangs you talked about when you see other runners. I went to the gym and lifted weights and did absolutely zero cardio or running that week.

    The day before the marathon, I went to the expo and on a whim described my problem to a sports medicine doctor from a local hospital who has run many marathons and ultras and asked if I was likely to permanently injure myself if I tried to run the marathon. He said probably not.

    So I ran it. And the week I had taken off had mostly resolved the problem, except for some shooting pains on downhills (of which there fortunately were not many). I ran the whole damn thing and it felt amazing to cross the finish line.

    I hope your ankle gets inspired by this and gets its shit together so you can have that feeling too 🙂

  • Funnygirl78

    2011/10/28 at 7:00 am

    Thank you for your breath-taking honesty. I am so sorry you are dealing with such difficult injuries in the face of such hard work. It’s not fair and it really stinks.

  • annabanana

    2011/10/28 at 7:50 am

    I’m not a runner, but I am a person whose own monologue of self-criticism is constant, despite the historical record, which would indicate that I am smart, accomplished, trustworthy, and nice. What you’ve written about holding this aspect of yourself in your hands to examine it, to get to know it, seems to me to be the essential task and lesson of psychotherapy. I heard one person say that what one does in therapy is write the manual to her life, like a car manual: this is how to operate me, this is how to be gentle with me, this is what requires maintenance. All this is to say that I, too, know well how in those painful moments and long periods, the self-doubt, self-judgment, or anxiety is the whole truth.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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