what i learned on my running vacation.

Today I am finally getting fitted for custom orthotics.  My physical therapist swears I will run again, and soon, but I still don’t know.

Sometimes I am still surprised that I’ve managed to settle into a running-free life.  It felt like agony in the beginning, but in the past couple months, things have changed.  It’s not that I learned to live with it; it’s more that I learned to live in a different way.

sneakers and inserts

Sure, there were some tears.  There were some screams.  But looking back, I have grown an incredible amount, and I’m not sure that living out a dream of running a half marathon would have taught me the same lessons:

  • I discovered yoga.  Running was my outlet for any and all emotions.  Frustrated?  Run.  Angry?  Run.  Excited?  Run.  Afraid?  Run.  I had some of my most introspective thoughts while pounding out the miles.  But with yoga, I learned to shut my  brain off.  I stopped focusing on my body and my emotions, and instead centered on simply being.  That mental freedom is something I will treasure forever.
  • I practiced patience.  I followed the plans I was given, performed the strengthening exercises, stayed in when I knew I shouldn’t walk too much, rested when I was told to.  I did what I should have, but my body didn’t always follow.  I could never predict when I would have a good day and when I would not.  I couldn’t make my own exercise plans; I couldn’t train for a race.  I could, however, focus on what was happening right now.  As someone who always looks to the future, this was a difficult adjustment – but it was worth it.  Patience is a virtue, and appreciating each day as I live it has been a beautiful gift.
  • I started eating to live, not to run.  Most runners I know are a bit obsessed with food – what to eat, when to eat, how to eat it.  While I think the concept of sports nutrition is a fascinating one, it has been nice to take a break from it.  While running, I knew I needed to eat in order to run well (and the feeling of running while underfueled is not an enjoyable one).  But without running?  No longer was I eating for a purpose.  I was eating because it was an enjoyable, pleasurable part of life.  I’ve stopped seeing food as fuel, and I am now happy to approach it as something I love.
  • I realized the mental benefits of exercise far outweigh the physical.  I started seriously exercising a couple years ago in order to change my body.  And suddenly, I found myself forced to rest.  I was shocked to find that not only did my weight not change an ounce, but that I also didn’t care.  Far more than the calorie burn, I missed the high.  Each day I am able to walk, to press up into downward dog, even to zone out on the elliptical, I am grateful for the ability to do it.  I’ve proven to myself that I exercise to better my soul.

So really, who knows if orthotics will be a miracle cure.  But if they aren’t – I’m confident I’ll survive.

Have you ever been injured?  What have you learned from it?



Filed under exercise

5 responses to “what i learned on my running vacation.

  1. hey girl! wow thank you so much for this post.

    before this past january i ran 5 miles every single day– then i injured my IT band and have not been able to run the same since. i can do 10 min here and there but its taken A LONG time for me to repair my injury and its still going to take another few months or so. it can be really frustrating, but at the same time– i’ve been able to ease up on exercising and learn more about my body– i also dont feel like a ravenous beast all the time so its nice to ‘eat to live’ like you said.

    again thank you for this post!

    xoxoxo j

  2. What an encouraging post! Good luck with the orthotics!

  3. I haven’t been injured like you, but then I’m not a runner so I couldn’t really relate. It’s great to see the things you’ve learnt while recovering,

  4. Such an inspirational post! Often times, it’s the set-backs in life that make us so much stronger and teach us so many things about our bodies and lives. You obviously have learned so much from your injury, and discovered that running isn’t the ONLY form of exercise you can enjoy. There is so much more to exercise than just staying fit… the mental benefits can truly surprise you.

    Good luck with your orthotics – I know you’ll be able to push through this difficult time and be back to your running before you know it!


  5. That is one of my fears right now so I’m really taking care of my body well to avoid getting injured.
    I really loved this post. Different, short, yet insightful. Thanks!
    Good luck with your orthotics!

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