It's now over a month since I last hit the streets, with no clear end in sight. I should be feeling frustrated but I'm not. I now accept I can't run and may not for some time. It's a case of going with this experience to see where it takes me. If I try to work it out in my head it doesn't make sense, I want to fight the idea that I can't run. But if I don't think, if I just go with how I feel, I have to be honest, I'm beginning to enjoy the space left by running. I feel guilty typing that - how can a runner enjoy not running? Am I still a runner when I don't run? Does running in my mind count? I don't know. All I know is none of that matters at the moment - everything is as it must be.
I'm still no nearer to knowing what 's stopping me running. It's complicated so needs a more detailed analysis to get to the bottom of it all. My feet are sometimes painful and I need to rest them, but on every other front, I'm making great progress. My hip flexors and quads have loosened up nicely and I can go up and down that roller with barely a grimace. I'm sweating cobs on the bike and the elliptical trainer and spinning to a band playing. I'm swimming and stretching and getting down and sweaty with Jillian Reynolds. I spend a lot of time lying on the sitting room floor, tied up in multi coloured resistance bands, twisting myself into peculiar (and painful) shapes to stretch some muscle I didn't know I had. And I'm still walking on golf balls. Every muscle in my body is getting back into position and balanced up.
It is so weird to say this, but not running feels right. All sorts of interesting things are happening in what used to be my running time. It began to get clear for me at yesterday's yoga class. Now I've not been to a yoga class since I lost weight, I've been too busy running and doing the things I couldn't do when I was overweight. But yoga is great for the feet and balance and muscle strength, so off I went.
It wasn't just my body that got a work out, the gentleness and calmness of the class gave my head a real treat. If I had any doubts about being in the right place, they disappeared when Lucy focussed on feet and how we need to care for them and appreciate them. What more proof did I need that this is exactly where I needed to be? The sense of being in the right place at the right time was very powerful and as the class went on, my anxiety and tension disappeared and I accepted the moment. All was well with the world, I was at peace.
I'd forgotten that yoga isn't just about yoga toes; it's about creating a space within which things happen and we emerge stronger. Lucy, the yoga teacher took us on a journey to the still, quiet centre of our being. I began to realise how rarely I stay still and listen to the silence these days. I am always moving, always listening to something or reading or analysing. My head and legs are at it non stop from the moment I get up til I hit the sack at bedtime. Running, especially my long runs, gives me that space and I was missing it. I was getting out of kilter, out of touch with me. The peace and stillness of the yoga class was like cool water when you're thirsty and with all my charging around being busy, I'd been too busy to notice just how thirsty I really was. Time to take that chill pill.
I now know that not running is the right thing for right now. This time will pass and I am determined not to waste the opportunity it gives me to explore other paths and other options. I'm quite excited to think about how I might take this stillness and connection into my running, but I have a bit more work to do before I'm ready for that!
As the saying goes 'this too will change'. In a couple of weeks I hope I'll have a better idea of what the problem is and so how to fix it. In the meantime, who knows where not running will take me.
Whatever you're up to. have a good week and stay strong and safe.