Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mental Game & Physical Progress

On our run on Monday, Elizabeth and I were discussing my plans for the Fast & the Furriest 5k. I was telling her how I'm anxious due to my inconsistent runs, and how everyone else's belief in me is making me angry. I am trying to be realistic with my recovery; dismissive cheerleading of the Oh-please-you'll-be-GREAT! variety is frustrating. It feels like it erases all I've been through, and if I don't perform well those same people won't get why.

But Elizabeth knows, and she gets it.

She told me: "There are three ways this race could go. Maybe you surprise yourself and run it in like 28:30 and are like holy crap. Or maybe it's humid and gross out and you have a solid but not great run and do it in like 31 minutes and miss your goal. Or, and I hope not, but maybe you'll have a really bad day and your legs will hurt and it'll be slow. But no matter what, the fact that you are four months post-surgery and racing is a huge accomplishment. And we are running together again! And when you were first running again, we walked like every two minutes, now look at us! We are running a mile or more before we walk!"

I stopped her long enough to tell her that I need to listen to her more often.
I ran two days in a row this week! Go me!
No matter how Saturday's race goes, the fact that I'm racing is kind of amazing. I never thought I would again. Even if 5ks are all I can ever race from now on, I think I could be happy with that.

When it comes to a chronic injury, the mental stuff is just as hard to deal with as the physical stuff - sometimes it's harder. I'm so grateful I don't have to go through either alone.

(Also, after Monday's run my legs felt downright normal, and they felt normal on Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Wednesday's run, too. Has a corner been turned? Has a mental weight lifted? I guess we'll see!)



  1. I am so glad you're running with Elizabeth again! She sounds like a smart woman. And I agree with her, no matter what happens, you are out there racing and will do the best you can do on that day. I am sure that's what people mean when they say you will be great!

    1. They probably do mean well. The particular reaction that I've been getting is why I say I'd like to complete the 5k without walking, and they kind of scoff and dismiss that. Like OF COURSE I'll be able to...but I honestly don't know if I will be. It makes me feel like I should be further along than I am!

      Elizabeth is pretty dang smart. I'm glad I have her around!!

  2. Elizabeth sounds like the ideal running partner!

    I find it annoying when anyone who is not a runner who has been through something similar gives me encouragement or advice. I am sure they mean well but this is so important to me and hearing anything from "just take it easy" to "i'm sure you'll be back to your old running in no time" drives me nuts. ...I know being annoyed is an unreasonable response to someone who has good intentions.

    1. The fact that she totally gets that I sometimes want to run alone but is also ALWAYS up to run with me makes her an ideal running buddy. The fact that she also totally gets longterm injury and the mental anguish of recovery because of her own history with it in gymnastics makes her an even better one!

      Maybe I'm being petty but even when these comments come from other runners I get annoyed. It's like they equate my actual surgery with a pulled muscle they had once. They seem to expect me to be back to my old running self NOW, which is so odd and frustrating.

  3. I hope you do well! I don't want to cheerlead you or give you a fake comment... You know what you are capable of, and you know how you are willing to push yourself. Best of luck!! I'll look for an update on the race!

    1. Thank you, Ana! This is the perfect kind of encouragement.