It’s not all rainbows and smiles

I have been waiting to run for weeks. I’ve been dreaming about running. Reading about people’s amazing race recaps, long runs, speedy running club sessions…torturing myself with what I’ve been missing out on. I also stopped reading Runner’s World and volunteering at Parkrun. It was just too hard. I wanted to run so badly.

Now I’m running again. Hurrah! Can you hear those angels singing?

This morning I did another 4 mile ‘don’t care about pace just run’ run. And reality unfolds.

My dreams of running and gliding across the pavement with a smile on my face is not reality. Running is hard. When did I forget that? Running in the morning when it’s still so dark, it’s very cold and there are few people about…it’s tough. Not seeing familiar paces for the effort I’m doing on my Garmin is hard.

And the worst part? Constantly thinking about every single aspect of my body. Literally my mind is doing this: where are my feet falling? Are my knees dipping inwards? Am I leaning over? How’s my back? Woah, am I leaning back too much? How’s my IT band feeling? What about my knee? Knee, knee, knee, knee… This is all I’m thinking about.

And then the time after the run: what does my knee feel like? What about my IT band? My back? What if I poke it here? Or here?

When does an injury really go away? Physically I’m almost there. Mentally I’m no where near. I am terrified of not fully recovering, or worse relapsing and getting injured again. I am questioning everything I’m doing. Strength training, spinning, stretching.

But I need to trust in my physio. I need to trust in my body and not over-think. Otherwise I’m going to explode. And Ben might kill me.

 Do you over-think things? I read too much information from too many different places and then panic. Ben calls me ‘PAnnakin’ (lame Star Wars joke I guess).

Have you ever been injured, if so how long did it take to get back to normal? Both physically and mentally?

Do you ever question what you’re doing? Whether it’s at work, in the gym or just in life.

22 Replies to “It’s not all rainbows and smiles”

  1. Hunnie, have you ever thought about listening to devotions when your running? I ‘m not sure if you’re strong into your Faith, but it may help w/ giving you inspiration.

  2. Sorry to hear your return to running hasn’t been very enjoyable. By the sounds of it, I think you could really do with a ‘naked’ run. Leave the garmin at home. Don’t time yourself and don’t try and calculate distance. Go on a different route (preferably trail or fell) and just enjoy being out there. Go out for as long or as short as you want, no targets, no pressures. Stop and take a walk break, enjoy the scenery and just savour the moment.

    1. Running ‘naked’ is actually something I didn’t even consider. But this sounds like BRILLIANT advice. Just running free and getting lost in it without worrying about time. That’s what running should be about. Thank you!

  3. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, in fact I went through it a few months ago. It is so hard when returning from an injury to rid your mind of that insane obsession with something going wrong, you are wondering every step, almost waiting for pain to arise. I HATED it, but unfortunately it is just something you have to get through. Music helps, but mostly I just found that I just had to suffer through it! You can do it!!! Stay positive 🙂 It will all be worthwhile!

    1. Thanks Tina. It’s so nice to hear someone went through something similar. Sometimes I think I’m going mad with my over-thinking. But it just takes time to adjust I guess and find the ‘normal’ again.

  4. Time is a great healer, and I think both physically and mentally you just need to give it a little time. I remember coming back to running last year after 6 weeks out, it was hard and I hated it, one of the best things I did was leave my Garmin at home, not worry about pace and actually just enjoy the run.

    1. You’re the second person to say run ‘naked’ and I think that’s a brilliant idea. Not sure why I didn’t think about it? Running should be about pleasure, not beating myself up and over-thinking everything.

  5. I was right there a few weeks back. So sure that I would stay at a pace much slower than I knew I had been capable of and so unhappy with my running. Perfect cure for me? Lots of trail! Trail running means you have no pre-judgement in your head about how fast you are capable of because there are always obstacles in the way. When I did wear my watch on a road run the other night I was pleasantly surprised to see the pace had jumped up since my last road run!
    When I first tried running again after my foot injury I was so cautious as to how I placed my foot – determined that I wouldn’t cause another injury or make the past injury flare up again. It was all I could think about after a run. I began running again just before Christmas, so four weeks later I am finally relaxing again and you will too. Just give it a little more time.

  6. Reality is such a bitch. C’mon now, why can’t I just go running with that big smile on my face and everything be easy? Stupid reality in the way! However, the reality of the situation is that it will get better. You’re on the road to recovery and you got this 🙂

  7. I agree I think it takes a long time to mentally get over something- today at pump I had a worry during the squats track that I could feel a niggle in my hip, but I moved about a bit and could not feel it- I am sure it is back to normal now, although I am being cautious (and my speed is taking it’s time to get back) but I am a little paranoid still. But then I do worry about everything (eg if I am out running and see a dog in my mind I will run through a scenario where generally the dog attacks me and bites my leg so hard that the bone shows through and then my phone runs out of battery and I can’t call an ambulance…)
    When I was recovering from my op, although it wasn’t an injury, I had big scars (and internal damage too) and although I was OK a few months later, it was not for a good 6 months that I actually felt healthy again and back to myself. You will get there x

    1. I have serious worries about falling over and breaking something, or smashing my knee. I’m so clumsy it could happen. It’s like your worst fears are just there all the time! That’s a scary fear about the dog. Always a good idea to have some contact details stuck somewhere on you just in case :-S

  8. Coming back from injury is the hardest thing for a runner. We compare our times to previous ones. Get discouraged that we can’t run a certain pace or distance. Been there and done that, and YES we are paranoid of another injury. I’m an over thinker too and its hard to get rid of this type of thinking. What helped for me was also to get rid of the watch. It was the best thing I did for myself. Another thing you can do is accept the fact that you are RUNNING. Don’t mean to shout it, but those that are on the bench would do anything for a slow jog. Believe me. (ME) Lol. I will likely not be able to run for at least another few months again. It is something to not ever take for granted ever. I’m happy for you and I wish you happy thoughts and happy runs. Its a hard battle to balance.

    1. Exactly. You are so right. I should be shouting from the rooftops – I’m back running. I’m out there again! It has given me a whole new level of respect for running that I never had. I won’t take running for granted again.

  9. Injury is so hard and that mental side of it is all part of it too. Back when I was running and I got injured I was just the same, very much over thinking every little thing. The best you can do is listen to your physio and not over do it. I know I was so tempted to be doing all this other exercise to ‘make up’ for my lack of running but my body never fully repaired because I was still pushing it, albeit in other activities. Haha, love the Star Wars joke 😉 Really hope your injury is completely fixed soon xxx

    1. Yep I agree. The temptation to continue doing spin three times a week as well as running was there, but I’m dropping it in favour of slowly getting back into running. Not as high intensity a workout but EXACTLY what I need right now. Sensible Anna is taking over!!

  10. Oh man…that sounds like something I would SO do (and have done). Its so easy to get caught up in our thoughts, instead of just DOING what we want to do! When I first came back from my knee surgery, my game was all over the place on the soccer field. I was worried about stepping in potholes, or going into slide tackles, or jumping and landing awkwardly. I was overthinking EVERYTHING, and it was such a drain on me mentally, not to mention my game suffered. Sometimes, you just gotta put that stuff behind you and go for it. You’ve been given the all clear to run. DONT THINK! Just put one foot in front of the other 🙂

    1. I can’t even imagine how I’d be coping if I’d have had surgery. I am hugely impressed that you got out there again.
      You’re exactly right. Running isn’t hard if you just get out there and do it instead of overthinking it all.

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