Is Running Really Worth It??

This has been a tough week; both mentally and physically. When I woke up on Monday morning, I was barely able to walk. My hip has been bothering me for the past few weeks and I knew I was taking a risk by running the 10K Across the Bay on Sunday, but I decided to accept that risk. And Monday morning, I sure was suffering the consequences. I googled my injuries while I was getting ready for work and convinced myself that it was something serious this time and I pushed myself just a little too far. I couldn’t lift my leg high enough to put my work pants on and had to shimmy them on, while only lifting my foot about an inch off the ground. And boy did I have tough time getting into my van. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to lift my leg high enough. I ended up having to lean my butt against the seat and swung my legs up together. It felt better to lift them together than to lift them one at a time. And driving? I hoped I didn’t have a reason to slam on my brakes, because going from the gas pedal to the brake pedal, was taking a little longer than it should have. It was at this point that I considered going to the ER. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in with an orthopedic for at least a few days. I have ONE MORE race this year and it is SATURDAY!!! How can this be happening??? I dropped Gabby off at daycare and did the only logical thing. I called Steven on my way to work and cried. Yes, real tears. Look, I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous. There are far larger problems in this world to have. Why in the heck should I be crying about not running? Especially when I despised running up until a few years ago? I called around as soon as doctor offices opened and got an appointment for Thursday. I decided not to go to the ER.

So, this got me to thinking. Is it really worth it? Why am I even so worried about running? What if I do have a major injury? What if I give myself a permanent limp? Maybe all those people are right who love to tell me how bad running is for me. The races are expensive anyway. Maybe this is it for my running “career”.

Monday night, Steven told me I should ice my hip and take it easy and I listened to him. I went straight upstairs and got in bed with an ice pack. It was hard for me to get around anyway and I was just getting frustrated. I was going insane though. I felt like I was just wasting time. I looked up some hip flexor PT exercises on youtube and did a few of those.

On Tuesday morning, I felt significantly better. I still had a limp but it was a lot more manageable (I didn’t look like Frankenstein). My spirits were much better. I was feeling well enough to be open to the possibility of running the 8k on Saturday. I would just have to switch races at the expo. I won’t make any final decisions until I see the doctor on Thursday, but things were looking up and I remembered why I love running so much.

Yes, running is a sport. As with any sport, there is always a risk of injury. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that running is bad for me. YES, I know that there is a chance that I could injure myself.  I try to lower my risk as much as possible. I try to make sure I train properly (in most cases). I try to stretch and do yoga. I went to the cardiologist and got cleared to run. I know there is still a chance of injuries. But let me tell you WHY I accept the risk.

When I first started running (couch to 5k), it honestly was more about losing a few pounds and trying to be healthy. But when I started distance running, it was not about losing weight anymore. I was having a difficult time dealing with the loss of someone very special to my family. My BFF (and neighbor) unexpectedly and tragically lost her young son. As you can imagine, this was a very difficult time for her and her family. It was also a difficult time for me and my family. I didn’t start distance running until about 9 months after his death, but I honestly feel like it helped me grieve. I later found out that many runners start running after a life changing event. I don’t ever remember “choosing” running as a way to help, but I can say with certainty that running helped me grieve. As if that wasn’t reason enough, here are some other reasons I choose to run:

I get to run with some of my favorite people. Most of my mileage has been done with someone at my side. Whether it’s my BFF, my husband, or a really close friend, I have logged hours of quality time with these people. We get to spend hours chatting about things we would NEVER get a chance to chat about if we weren’t running. Sometimes it’s light and funny conversation. Sometimes it’s deep, thought provoking conversation. Sometimes it’s venting about our loved ones 🙂 And sometimes, it’s just running in silence with good company. Life is just so busy and I find that when I miss my runs, I also miss my chance to catch up with my running buddies.

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A sense of accomplishment. The feeling of crossing the finish line will never get old to me. Something that I learned when I first started running longer distances was that the race is not about that single day, but it’s usually about 16 weeks’ worth of hard work. Seeing that finish line and giving it everything you have is the icing on the cake!

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Stress relief. I’ve found that some of my best runs have been on days when I was stressed out.

Traveling. Yes, I can travel without running. But once I started running, I decided I wanted to run in 5 states before I turn 40. Well, I’m almost there (plus DC), and I am NOT 40 yet. Running has taken me to a few places I had never been (Outer Banks, New Jersey) and its taking me to Key West in January. I don’t get a huge amount of time to visit, but I still enjoy seeing different places.

Being Outside. I’m not going to pretend that I am the “get close with nature” kind of person. I mean, I was a girl scout when I was little so I did a lot of camping, but as an adult, I’d rather grab a nice hotel room. But I do enjoy being outside on nice days while I’m running. Some days I appreciate it more than others. The world can be such a beautiful place.

Not gonna lie…its about the bling. Enough said.

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There are plenty of other medical benefits to running (prevents high blood pressure, strengthen lungs, strong legs, stronger immune system, etc.), but for me, bottom line is that it makes me happy.

So, for now…YES, Running is worth it! Running is worth losing toenails. Running is worth an injured hip. Who knows what the future holds and maybe at some point it won’t be worth it to me anymore. But I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!

Tonight, I have iced/rested once again and I am looking forward to getting some answers from the doctor tomorrow. I am hoping I can still run on Saturday. I am even thinking maybe I can still do the half marathon. I don’t want to get my hopes up though. Wish me luck!

4 thoughts on “Is Running Really Worth It??

  1. Love it! Great write up! I can relate on SO many levels! I love you! Listen to the doctor so you can be ready for KW! We are going to have a blast! And don’t stress…there are plenty more races out there. Rest/Recover and get back at it! xoxoxo

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