Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Hanging up my sneakers...

My body is betraying me.  It seems as though it’s falling to pieces, but I know I’m exaggerating.  Let me start at the beginning.

My relationship with running began approximately 12 years ago.  I was diagnosed with depression and given the news that I’m prone to it, so I would need to learn ways to cope with and deal with any episodes.  My psychologist recommended running, and cutting back on drinking.

After fighting her on the cutting back on drinking thing (the mere thought of doing that sent me spiralling into a black hole), I acquiesced and finally did it.  I cut back, and now that I’m older and out of the drinking crowd (and industry) I used to be in, I don’t miss it.  The running definitely helped and over the past 12 years it has never ceased to make me feel better.

I have never been a true runner.  I’m not a natural runner, so it’s always been a slog for me.  Something I’m constantly working on, and motivating myself to do.  It’s easy to get motivated when I’m staring down the barrel of another black dog period in my life.  Nothing gets me running faster than feeling hollow and wanting it all to be over.  Self-preservation kicks in and I force myself out the door and get running.

But something’s happened to my body along the way.  It would appear my neck and back just aren’t what they used to be and they take longer to recover from sleeping in the wrong position, picking up heavy things (read: Little Warrior and sometimes the Polynesian Princess), and running in shoes with no cushioning (I know.  Idiot).

Last year I had signed up to run in the Mother’s Day Fun Run and conveniently put my back out three days before the race.  I was told I would never run again, and I cried.  I found the mere notion of it very upsetting and I was determined to prove them wrong.  So I took it easy for the last year.  I started going for walks in the morning.  At first I hated it – didn’t think I was getting any benefit out of it, but I noticed that my moods were similar as if I had done a run.  I came back refreshed, happy and ready for the day.

Four weeks ago I decided to start running again.  The Architect says that this occurs each year when the Bridge to Brisbane rolls around and he could be right.  I tend to get fired up when there’s an event coming.  I see it as an excuse to get back into it again.  As if this one event will be the catalyst for making a lifestyle change.  It’s probably worth mentioning also that I am influenced by others.  So if others are talking about their running training, I tend to want to get back into it.

So I started again.  And for the past four weeks I have been plagued by neck, back and knee pain.  Mere coincidence?  I think not.  I know I’m not that old, but I’m getting tired of the hassle.  I'm also old enough to know that I need to listen to my body.

Whilst I enjoy running and the benefits, I now find myself leaning towards a walk around our neighbourhood or a bushwalk with friends.  It doesn’t help that I haven’t been able to fully look over my right shoulder for approximately four weeks.  Perhaps the ol’ fire and desire to run will come back.  But for now my relationship with running is on a break.

And it looks like they were right.  I probably won't run again.  But this time I'm not sad about it.

Have you had to listen to your body recently and give up a sport? 

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