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On Not Running

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. - Dorothy Thompson

Not long ago @runnrgrl asked the question of me: What is your greatest fear?

Without hesitation, I replied: Not being able to run.

Running is who I am.
It's my joy, my hobby, my freedom.
It's my identity - quite literally, on Twitter and Blogger.
It's my sanity. My discipline. A big chunk of my social life.
It's what makes me feel like I'm "good enough" despite my many shortcomings.
It's how I met Tom, and no small factor in our marriage.

It has been six weeks since I've run.

I'm much more serene than I thought I'd be about this.

I try to stay sunny, keeping in mind that injury is temporary. I lift weights and cross-train. I feel glad for the opportunity to change things up and get stronger.

I don't watch what I eat. In fact, I'm a bit more indulgent. My philosophy is to enjoy my food, not obsess about my body. I'll use it as extra motivation to get back to my happy running weight when I'm healed. So far I've gained about five pounds. Truthfully, I'm kind of enjoying being a little curvier.

I'm using this time to enjoy the things that running often forces to the sidelines: leisurely meals with friends, long-plotted visits to the numerous wineries we pass by en route to our mountain runs, happy hour, exploring the city on bike rides, puttering in my garden, paddling kayaks.

Along with my coping mechanisms, I've observed some wholly unexpected changes.

I don't sleep as well. There's something so good about how hard I sleep after a good run. I think I'd run for that benefit alone. While I am waking more often, and sleeping less soundly, I also seem to need slightly less sleep.

I'm wearing glasses. Normally, I do this only between shower and bedtime, or when the pollen overwhelms my peepers. I can't wear them when I run (sweat makes them slide down my nose), but biking with them offers the extra benefit of keeping my eyes bug-free. And I feel much like I look in glasses: Nerdy. Contemplative. I'm another version of myself.

Oddly, I'm less obsessive about cooking away my CSA. I don't seem to fret as much about using every odd vegetable and herb in our share.

I'm enjoying time alone more, or perhaps I'm more mindful and relaxed. Before my injury, I was always trying to squeeze in one more thing.

Perhaps living the maxim "accept the things I cannot change" has permeated my perspective.

Could it be that I'm peeling away the layers of what I thought made me, and seeing more than I expected underneath?

In living my fear, I've stumbled upon this: I exist without running. And quite well, thank you.


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