It has been 3 weeks since my last run. I’m not sacking off the running in favour of the Christmas party season, I’m just injured. I really can’t complain because I’ve done an awful lot of running this year and haven’t suffered from anything more than niggles. It’s definitely my time to be injured and I probably just pushed it a bit too far. But, as ever, it does suck a bit to be a runner not able to run.
I managed to injure myself doing some very hilly running in Majorca, so it was ok for a week as I could tell myself I was resting. Then in week 2 I kept telling myself that I’d be back running very soon and went to the physio and started doing everything I could to sort it out. But in week 3 it started to bite, as I realised it might be a while before I could run again and I’m really starting to miss seeing people and being out in the fresh air.
In the spirit of focussing on what I can do, not what I can’t, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym. It in no way compensates for exercising outside but I get to feel a bit sweaty and out of breath (and a bit smug when it’s really horrible weather outside). However, it’s got its drawbacks. If I go first thing in the morning the changing room is full of older ladies who like to let it all hang out while having a chat post-swim. If I go in the evening there are a fair few people who are there to lift weights while wearing minimal clothing and look in the mirror a lot, or sit on a bike and pedal very slowly while reading a book (does that really do anything at all for fitness?). Worst of all, I went at lunchtime the other day and found myself on the cross trainer watching Loose Women. It really felt like middle age had kicked in overnight. My conclusions from spending more time in the gym are 1) I don’t really ‘get’ the gym and 2) running is way cooler and a way more efficient way to get your exercise.
By far the best thing about being injured is that you can support at races rather than running them. Running is a sport which has given me a massive amount over the years and it’s a really nice feeling that you’re giving something back by celebrating the miles run by others. Some awesome friends – Pip, Lucy, Bill, Eileen and Tracey – were doing the super hilly Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series races in Dorset last weekend. I should have been running but went down anyway to cheer them on, ring my cowbell and have a day out at Lulworth Cove. It was brilliant to see them all doing so well and to surprise them by turning up round the course. Almost as much fun as running. Almost.
I’m really hoping to be back running soon but I really can’t whinge. However, it does make me realise that running isn’t just exercise. It’s escape, it’s an opportunity to blow off steam or de-stress, it’s a social activity and it allows me to enjoy some beautiful places. The fitness aspect is almost a by-product. I can get the fitness bit in a gym but I’d much rather be seeing sunrises and big hills than butt-cracks, sweat patches and older wannabe naturists.