Saturday I was supposed to run a half marathon. I hurt my foot a week before the race, two days after my ten mile run of fun. I wish I could tell you what I did, but we’re still figuring that out. All I know is that I didn’t tear a ligament, and I haven’t broken anything.
Am I upset? Yes. Not as much as I was Saturday, but yes. I didn’t run very much last year because my daughter gave me a concussion in the spring of 2017. She didn’t mean to. She is always very sorry when she hurts me, but that doesn’t change the fact that the child has been banging her head into mine from babyhood on. At six months old she knocked my front teeth loose.
After that first memorable whack, she’s specialized in hits to the chin, which throws my neck out. This is why I keep my chiropractor on speed dial. The poor man was half way convinced I was part of a fight club. That’s code for ‘I worry someone is hurting you.’ I am beyond grateful to him for having the courage to ask. It turns out that my nine year old is the one hitting me. While it’s sometimes debilitating, it isn’t abuse–but he didn’t know that. I might have needed help getting out of a situation, and he was willing to help.
In any event, it was a bad concussion. I was banned from all screens, all reading, and any exercise over a slow shamble, for two weeks. I couldn’t run for a month. And once I could run, I had to start very conservatively lest I suffered a relapse.
2018 was the year I returned to health. It’s been slow–it turns out that sitting on a couch not doing anything is a signal that my body should start breaking spontaneously–but I’ve gradually regained most of my endurance. I even started strength training semi-regularly. I can’t sign up for a half marathon every three months the way I used to, but Saturday’s half was going to be the signal that I was almost there. A symbol of good things to come.
I’m trying not to think about how long this injury might take to heal. I have two main coping mechanisms–knitting and running. On the down side, this means I’ve (temporarily) lost 50% of my coping skills. On the up side, I have finished a sweater, a pair of boot socks, and I have another pair of socks on the way. Some people go on drinking benders. I go on fiber benders. And the knitting will continue until morale (and my foot) improves.
I run to burn the crazy. I run to quiet my spinning brain so I can recharge in the silence. Running helps me beat the seasonal sads. Somehow, running in the forest in the pouring rain makes the rain less depressing. I have no idea why this is, but it works for me. If I didn’t work remotely, I would never have figured this out.
I run during my lunch break. I hear about people who can exercise at lunch and then jump back into their cubicle. How does that work in real life? I sweat like a crazy person when I’m working out. I sweat so hard that salt crystallizes on my face and I have to be careful about how energetically I wipe the sweat off my brow for fear of scratching myself. And let’s not even talk about the smell. I don’t understand how you can exercise, shower, and get back into your work clothes all in the space of 30-60 minutes. Either these folks don’t sweat, don’t work out very hard, don’t work out very long, or they are magic. If any of you are magic, please tell me how to gain this superpower.
I used to be an indoor exerciser. I was that high school kid who woke up at 5am to workout before school, and that morphed into a gym habit in my 20’s. The gym stopped working for me when I went remote. If I’m not careful, I can spend all day indoors and then I feel trapped. And let’s not mention the existential angst of running on a treadmill and not getting anywhere.
That trapped feeling first drove me to biking outdoors. Biking is fun but ultimately limiting when you don’t like riding a bike in the street. Running though…I wanted to at least have the ability to run. When I first started a couch to 5k plan I told myself that I only had to do it for a week. If I still hated it at the end of the week, I could stop.
Running outside was intimidating for reasons I can’t articulate even now. But running inside wasn’t an option because I needed to be outside for my mental health. And it turns out that when the scenery changes, I love running. It’s hard in all of the best ways. I’ve logged anger miles, sorrowful miles, and miles filled with gratitude. At the end of all of them I feel like my insides have been washed clean. I’m ready to handle whatever comes next.
It makes me wonder what remote work will give me next. Do you work remotely? What does it give you?
If you think about it, you know it’s true. People are great. I love people. However, there are times when you are just going to have a better life experience if you ditch the people and spend some quality time with your workout pants.
Flexibility. People can leave you if you change too much. Your workout pants are in it for the long haul. There is expandable spandex for when your weight waxes, and a drawstring for when it wanes. Your workout pants will stick with you until they literally burst their seams
No judgement. I sweat. The temperature can be literally freezing outside, and if I’m running, I’m sweating way more than is socially appropriate. Do my workout pants judge me? No they do not. They are part of the solution–wicking away that extra moisture and spreading it out into the universe. That’s deep, that is.
Secret pockets. How many people do you know who are willing to hold whatever crap you choose to bring with you? Most of our moms quit doing this somewhere in elementary school. My workout pants pockets just don’t quit. Plus storing stuff in secret compartments makes me feel like a ninja. It’s a storage solution and a morale booster all in one zippered package.
Are people are getting you down? Throw on a pair of workout pants. They will never tell you to change your attitude, and will help you work it out in whatever way suits you best.