Running on empty

It’s a New Year. That’s when we are supposed to be full of energy. Full of excitement. Full of promise and resolutions.

Right now, I am full of… nothing. I am running on empty.

That is a far cry from last year when I ran, completing two half marathons, a 10K, a 15K and several smaller races. I trained, I worked, I wrote, I mothered, I cooked (not well) and kept myself going, going, going with very little downtime.

This year, I planned on doing all of the above, but added one New Year’s resolution. At 44, I would run a marathon. I was fired up. I was excited. I was committed.

Now I am beat.

Last Friday, a scheduled “rest” day, my shin hurt slightly. On Saturday, I was supposed to do a 10-mile run—one mile more than I did the previous weekend. I would give it a shot, I decided, and see how my leg felt. Before long, I hit a rhythm. I wasn’t going fast, but I was steady and felt great, energized and resolved.

When I got home and stopped running, an excruciating pain raced through my leg and I couldn’t walk. I collapsed on the couch. On Sunday, the pain was still strong so I hobbled to the corner clinic. The doctor told me not to run (apparently the elliptical was out, too) and ordered an ultrasound to make sure it wasn’t a blood clot.

So the ultrasound was normal and I can walk again, but there is still a worrisome and persistent pain.  I have an appointment with my regular physician next week. I figure an X-ray won’t hurt.

But I’ve been miserable. I realize how much running is like therapy for me, a “drug” I take every morning. It’s a habit that balances my spirit, clears my mind and gets my day off to a great start. When I run in the morning, I know I can handle anything that comes my way at work, at home or even in traffic.

There have been no morning runs or workouts of any kind for me over the last six days. I know there are many people out there who don’t exercise at all. (I don’t know how they do it!) But I do know if I have to slow down on my running, I’ll follow a friend’s advice and start biking—at least for a while. This immobility is not only making me cranky, it’s wiping me out.

The tires on my old bike are flat, but I’ll fill them up and give ‘er a whirl this weekend. I hope to get my energy back. My excitement, too. And while I’m at it, I might as well fuel up on resolve. After all, there is a whole lot of 2013 left and I can’t let a little physical setback set me back.

I might discover biking as a new means of therapy that makes my spirit soar just as high as running. (And yes, I do have a helmet.)

About minndixiemom

I'm a Minnesota native with an Alabama heart, reflecting on the past while looking toward the future. My husband, David, and I landed in Huntsville in the late 90s through my former career in TV news. We have two amazing girls, Serina and Sophia, whom we are raising with God's guidance and grace. Besides faith and family, my passions include writing, walking, mental health, and recovery. By day, I'm the Director of Development for WellStone (another passion), North Alabama's largest and most comprehensive mental healthcare provider.
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7 Responses to Running on empty

  1. Ann Marie Lang says:

    biking is the best answer; there are many alternatives to the harsh pounding of long-distance running. You’ll get there from here!

  2. Richard Goodin says:

    Dear MinnDixie,
    As someone many years your senior (59), you need to find a kinder form of exercise! It is a rare individual that can run marathons into their “golden” years. Remember, the first runner of a marathon ( after the battle in Greece) died immediately upon arrival. You may also save much money by forgoing the hip and knee replacements.
    All the best!

  3. Heidi Hovland says:

    Karen, I love and admire you for so many reasons, your honesty among them. I love that you’re literally getting back on that bicycle (as the saying goes!). We Hovland girls love our rituals, but whether it’s biking, swimming, pilates or something else, I know you’ll get into a new groove. xoxo

  4. Pingback: The first ride | minndixiemom

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