12 Sunday Things & that is why your running can’t determine your self-worth.

Another Sunday in the books over at our house!  I hope you have had a great weekend and that you have a beautiful Memorial Day.

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Brooke slept in pajamas Saturday night but after she woke up she immediately put her Elsa costume on before coming into our room.

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Andrew then made some pancakes for us and I tried to get creative with the banana slices.

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Church was a great one and we came home to the best peaches ever.  I will firmly say, these are currently my favorite fruit.

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After the peach I had this soup and pretzels with salsa on the side (we are out of chips so I had to attempt to get salsa onto pretzels which is much more difficult).

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Then we took Beretta to her favorite trail (the one where no one is ever on it so she can go without a leash) and they had some races.  Growing up each Thanksgiving we used to go to the track and run 100 meter dash races against our dogs.  My 4 lb poodle would always stay perfectly in the lines and run like a bullet to the piece of cheese at the finish line… these races always worked up quite the appetite for dinner.

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My knee is feeling better and better but I’ll decide this morning if a mile or two is going to happen.  PS do not fall directly on your knees when you are running.

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We grabbed some dinner at home real quick and then dropped in on my parents to say hi.  It was perfect timing because they had brownies and ice cream…. I have a sixth sense for that kind of thing (PS remember the movie Sixth Sense… yeah, that one still freaks me out).

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Brooke is thrilled to be catching up to some of her cousins on the height chart.

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And then we relaxed on the couch while Andrew and my dad talked and Brooke requested to look at funny dog pictures on my mom’s phone.

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Oh, and we also watched part of Free Willy yesterday… flashback to the past.

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I remember the very first time I realized a very important lesson about running and self-worth.  It was when I found out I had my femoral stress fractures.  For the last few years leading up to that awful injury, running was where my self-esteem came from.  And it worked for a little while because each marathon I did was a new personal record (3:20—> 3:08 —> 3:04) and I kept knocking out more and more hard workouts that made me feel like I was pretty dang awesome.  I started feeling more and more like my running determined how much I was worth each day.  Good run—>  felt great about myself, not so great run—>  felt a little bit lousy and I was so extremely hungry to try the workout again to try to prove to myself that I was better.

And then Dr. Rich came in to the room (I was all by myself) and told me the news, TWO femoral stress fractures.  It was right before I was to be running the Boston Marathon and he told me if I was to even try to run Boston, I’d ruin my chances of ever running well again.

So now what?

Who was I?  What do I do each day to make myself feel good about myself?  How do I ever come back from this injury?

I still look back at that injury as one of my favorite blessings in disguise because of two things:  1.  I hit rock bottom and realized I HAD TO CHANGE my eating and exercising patterns and do everything possible to get my period back = Brooke was born just 17 months after this day at the doctor’s office.  2.  This injury taught me 4093 lessons, one of those being that I just couldn’t base who I was off of running.  I learned that our self-worth has nothing to do with our running.  Sure running helps us to feel confidence, it gives us a boost in the way we feel and it helps us in so many ways but it doesn’t determine how much we are worth.  If we let running determine our self-worth then we will probably feel close to 1000 different emotions about ourselves during any given training cycle…

As Kara Goucher says, “Running isn’t going to tuck you in at night.”  And it’s true, running will always be there for us when we are ready and for whatever stage of life we are in but it isn’t our everything.

Because if it is determining how we feel about ourselves, what happens when we:

Get injured or miss a our goal race time due to weather?  Have set-backs in our training?  Life overtakes our running and we have to put away our running shoes for awhile until things get taken care of?  Have health issues that come up that slow us down or shorten our normal distances?

Things happen and our running plans don’t always happen the way we want them to and that’s okay, it doesn’t affect who we are in the slightest.  It’s just running, something we love to do but something that has no control over how we should truly feel about ourselves.

For me now, my self-worth doesn’t change due to whether or not I’m running but it is always hard to not be in control of things when we are injured.  I like being in control and injuries (not that I’m injured right now but it is just a good reminder for me right now) take away a lot of our control.  But, there are a few things that we can control when we are injured.

-Being smart about our injury, taking the time off that is necessary and listening to our doctor about what we should/should not be doing.

-Our attitude during our injury.  Staying positive and hopeful.  Focusing on the blessings in our life rather than injury and what we can’t do.

-Doing things that will help us to recover faster (physical therapy, sports massage, stretching, REST, icing, eating ice cream;)

-Doing things that will help us stay fit and strong (pool running, strength training, cross-training, eating nutritious foods).  I’ve spent many miles pool running during times of injury and it really does help SO much!

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What are your Memorial Day plans? What was the longest amount of time that you have taken off from running?  What was the reason? Have any dessert this weekend?  What was it? When you are injured… what activity do you usually do to keep up your fitness a bit?

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25 comments

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“running is not going to tuck you in at night”. Wow. That will sit with you forever! I had to take 6 months off due to a torn muscle and it was rough! But I came back better than ever!

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It’s funny when you tie your identity into something like a sport or activity, then when you can’t do it you feel so weird. This is the first time in a long time I didn’t feel mentally sad without running.

I also like Amy’s soup on dingy days. My favorite is either the split pea or lentil.

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Free Willy!! Wow, totally throwback. I miss that movie! My plan today is to just relax— I did a lot on Saturday and Sunday, so will probably chill and maybe go see a movie :)

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My Memorial Day started off with some miles with my sister on our family vacation – amazing! :) running with family > running alone.
Love that Kara Goucher quote – so true!!
Longest break from running was to have a baby – probably about 6 months off. I missed running but it was for a good cause :)

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Miles with your sister while on vacation = heaven! So happy for you… keep enjoying your amazing time!

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Actually I just had my longest break from running. 2 months. I injured my second toe. It was most likely a bruised vein or tendon on the plantar side of the toe. I finally ran my first race since the injury this past Saturday. It was 5 miles. And now my toe is achy so I’ll prob take an additional week off. It’s so frustrating to wait so long for the healing to happen. I rode my bike a bit during the worst of the injury and then walked when I could. I also started taking yoga.

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I’m glad you’re in a better place now! I really like strength training when I can’t run, and lately I’ve gotten more into circuits as well. I mean burpees aren’t fun but they sure do get my heart rate up fast!

We were hoping to grill today, so we bought a new grill yesterday but we can’t get it to turn on! Hah. Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out today!

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I love the priorities of little kids in the morning- at 5:50 my son wanted to do puzzles. My first thought in the morning is “how can I get more sleep” and then “coffee.”

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HAHAHA puzzles before the sun comes up?!?! I love it! I hope you are having a beautiful day Christine!

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A lot of people assume I get my identity from running, since I am such a high mileage runner and then they are surprised when I don’t defend myself. I think a lot of people expect me to back off the running from time to time just so that I don’t get all-consumed by it. I used to squirm around a bit at this topic because I felt torn about it–I *do* find my identity in being a runner, and I *do* enjoy a good scoop of self worth and value in my ability to run! People can judge me, and that’s okay! :) My take on it is that I also find my identity as a wife–I wouldn’t take a break from being a wife or acting as a wife with the idea of “oh, just in case Andrew dies one day, I need to prepare myself for finding my identity as ‘Suzy the Widower'” or something like that. Running adds to my identity. You can say that it DOES tuck me in at night! But so does the amazing gift of being a wife, a mother, a friend, a writer, a drama queen, a cat-lover, ha ha! All these components of my life can disappear, for sure–I know that. I’m nearly 40 years old and I’ve experienced boat-loads of tragedy in my lifetime. So while I can, while I have the ability, while I have these gifts, these passions, I’m going to go balls to the wall with them. I love it.

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Suzy, I just wish we lived closer together so we could hang out all of the time, I think the world of you! I totally agree with you on everything you said… I guess my problem in earlier years was forgetting all of those other amazing identities that we had and ONLY focusing on my running… that is when I tried to learn all of the amazing other things about me:) You keep rocking those gifts and passions of yours… you inspire me so much!

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Ahhh you actually have no idea how much you help me. I listened to the second half of your podcast interview with Lindsey last night and hearing you speak about gratitude, especially after everything you’ve been through, was like pressing a reset button on my heart. I came home just WAY better of a person than when I left 60 minutes before that. Okay, enough sappiness…haha! xo

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My longest amount of time I’ve taken off from running has been 2 weeks. Because I got some really bad shin splints. I really appreciate your thoughts on self worth and running. It is so true! Thank you, Janae!

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Hello Janae,

I am currently in the longest hiatus I have ever taken from running, TWO+ YEARS.
I am a late to life runner. I didn’t start until I was 28, but I fell in love with it for all the reasons we do, and trained to run a half marathon every year until the Spring of 2015, when I found out I was pregnant with my son.
Full disclosure: I had a miscarriage the year before, and I was very anxious throughout my pregnancy. I walked miles and miles, but I was too scared that running would impact the pregnancy, and so I put my shoes in the closet and promised myself, when the baby arrived, I’d get back to it.
I went for my first postpartum run four months after my son was born.
It was really hard, I only made it two and a half miles, but they felt victorious. The love I had for the sport was still there.
I tried to run once a week for a little while, but new motherhood kept getting in the way. Finally, the weather got worse, I’d missed more runs than I’d gone on, so I put the shoes away again.
This spring, I promised myself would be different.
I bought new running shoes in February.
I got a new phone, finally uploaded Spotify, got new headphones, the whole deal. I was ready to run!
And I started in April, once a week again, just to get comfortable.
Now, I never stopped walking, so the fitness returned pretty easily. I was doing four miles at a sub-ten pace, and I was really proud of it, but then the weather shifted again…the baby got sick…life happened, and now it has been two weeks without running.

It’s really hard.
I want to beat myself up.
One of the goals on my bucket list is to run the Boston Marathon (because we live right next to Boston and it’s so inspiring every year!), and I thought for sure that 2018 would be my year for it.
It’s really hard not to feel like I’m failing.
I want to judge myself for taking this time off. “You should be able to make time to train” my guilt tells me. “You shouldn’t be sitting at home eating dinner with your son and husband on the rare nights he’s home” “You shouldn’t go out for coffee with a friend instead of going for a run”. It’s all too easy to fall into the trappings of the obsession.
The thing is, life gets in the way sometimes, and I love running too much to give up on it. My baby won’t be a baby forever, and my husband won’t need to work the way he does so that I am the sole childcare giver most of the time.
I have to remember that there will be a million miles to run in the years ahead, and I am healthy, and I still manage to walk about 20 miles a week with the baby in his carrier. Someday, I will cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and I will feel incredible, but it’s okay that it’s not right now, because I am so much more than just a runner, we all are. I’m a mother, a writer, a wife, and a person who (now) can find her worth in the love and relationships she has with people, not just in what her body can do. I’m a runner too, and I will come for that 26.2 miles. I refuse to give up, even if my training has to wait another six months.
Good luck in your recovery Janae! Maybe we’ll run Boston the same year? I will wave as you speed past me!

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JESS…. thank you SO much for sharing your story with me, I really appreciate it! It really is hard. We have so many different seasons of life and changes and things that we go through but you are doing amazing! Running will ALWAYS be there for you when you are ready and for when your life is ready! You are taking great care of yourself and your family and you need to be proud of that! Running is there for you when you are ready to be back to it, until then keep on enjoying your little one and the crazy schedule you guys have right now. I LOVE your goal Jess of going to Boston and you will get there… you have so much ahead of you and I’m just so excited for you! I feel really good about the idea of us running Boston the same year… really good about that! You are doing amazing Jess, I’m so happy for you! I hope you have a beautiful day!

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I love that Kara quote!

What are your Memorial Day plans?
We
Went on a hike and to the pool. Being that it is my a holiday here, we pretty much had the place to ourselves!

What was the longest amount of time that you have taken off from running?
About 7 weeks, when we first moved to Bulgaria. I didn’t have a car yet, so it would have been stroller running only, but the roads and sidewalks were such a stark contrast from America I thought it was impossible. But I did tons of walking!!!

Have any dessert this weekend? Homemade chocolate chip cookies!

My injuries are usually minor and a week or two of yoga /stretching usually does it for me (I think it is because of my ridiculously low mileage)

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I am so glad that you love that quote and that sounds like the perfect day there! Living in Bulgaria, WOW! Glad that your injuries are usually minor! I hope you continue to have a fabulous day Tonya!

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It s like you read my comment from yesterday’s post and decided to address me personally today ? Having both feet injured and unable to walk, let alone run, is really affecting me. I’ve had several people tell me that this will be better for me in the long run(to take a break and refocus and let my body have a good rest) and I’ll come bs l stronger than before. I sure hope so. I’ve been doing some totally non-weight bearing strengthening exercises lying on the floor so hopefully I won’t become a pile of mush. Thanks for your post today, and everyday.

And we make dessert everyday! I NEED to run!!!

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Holly… I am truly so sorry about your feet. It breaks my heart, and it is so hard to not even be able to WALK right now. You really will come back stronger (I sure did… you’ve got this)! I’m glad you are doing your strengthening exercises and please keep me updated with how you are doing. Let me know if you ever need to email vent… I AM HERE!!! Thinking about you Holly!

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When I was injured 12 weeks no running I did my husbands training plan “the time crunched cyclist”
It might have had me in better cardio shape than running. Mentally, nothing is like my beloved running, but workout wise, this was the real deal.

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this sounds like an awesome workout…you should share!

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The longest time I took off from running was about a year – it wasn’t due to injury. Just life changes, and meeting my significant other. I realized I wanted to do other things than run all the time. No Memorial Day Plans – our long weekend in Canada was last weekend:). When I am injured – I tend to do yoga, or cycle, or straight up take time off.

We currently have a giant rhubarb pie from Costco and it is so good. Half the pie is gone already and we just bought it a day ago!

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We had dinner with my in-laws, which was nice. I am lucky to have them. We had chocolate silk pie for dessert.

I took 3 or 4 months off after my stress fracture and I think 5 or 6 months when I had surgery for plantar fasciitis. It hurt to walk prior to surgery so I definitely wasn’t running.

It depends on the injury: pool running, upper body strength training, seated cardio, spin class, and elliptical have been some of the workouts.

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I’ve been struggling with various femoral neck fractures for seemingly no reason. This morning, I was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition which causes my delicate bones to heal slowly, amidst other things.

As a long-time runner, I have been struggling hard with not running…and this diagnosis confirmed that I won’t be able to run after this. I stumbled upon this post at the right time.

So, thank you. Sometimes, I just need the reminder that I am not JUST a runner.

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Ok, so I don’t know if you introduced me to this, or I discovered it on my own. But: 1. Baked sweet potato. 2. Amy’s Vegetarian Chili (In a can from Trader Joe’s.) 3. Shredded Cheese. 4. Guacamole of your choosing. 5. HEAVEN!! ;)

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