“Didn’t you do a long run before you came in to see me?”
“Yes, I ran 15 miles on Sunday, 10 miles on Monday – then I couldn’t take it anymore so I came in here for help on Tuesday.”
“Can you believe that?” My Doctor asked the intern that was doing rounds with her. “She ran 25 miles with pyelonephritis.”
They both looked at each other with their eyes wide, shaking their heads. My Doctor cocked her head down and to the side to take my blood pressure.
“I guess I should stop letting a sore toe stop me from running.”
“Doctor, I ran 25 miles and I felt awful. I don’t think what I did was very smart.”
“It wasn’t,” she agreed, “but you have to realize that I would’ve never even considered it. I can let almost any ache or pain stop me from exercising.”
“Me too,” the intern concurred, “The fact that you still ran as sick as you were…”
“Wasn’t smart of me,” I told the experts, “But what can I say – I’m a runner.”
The Dr. seemed to understand what I meant. She smiled and nodded her head, continued her assessment and deemed me healthy.
Are you a runner? Have you ever met a runner?
There is something that runner’s seem to accept and work through. PAIN.
There are running pains you accept. Annoying hurts. Lost toenails. I can’t tell you how many times I took my shoe off after a run to find my sock all red and stuck to my foot from some injury I ran through and bled.
When I train, I train myself to say to myself, “I can accept this pain. This is not a run ender.” Or if I am working on speed, “I can hold this pace. This hurts. But this is where the change happens. Where I become a better runner.”
Not all runs should hurt. Not all pains are okay pains. But a lot of pain you run through to see if it will go away.
If you are a runner like me, you have no coach. You are your own coach and you are purely dedicated to the sport itself. I have a deep internal drive for running. I do not like to be curbed, especially by pain or injury.
Two Sunday’s ago I was not well. But it was long run day. I had 15 miles on the schedule that day. I didn’t feel good, but I got the miles in. I mean, it was long run day. I did not go as long on Monday. I did not go as fast. It was the only kind of workout I could get in based on how I was feeling, which was ill. So I ran 10 slow miles.
I could run no more. I was having trouble breathing, I had a fever, I had pains in my side, back and stomach. I had a bad taste in my mouth and I could NOT stop sweating. Turns out, I had an angry kidney.
But I tried. The runner in me tried to stand up against the pain that came crashing down like an ocean wave. I braced myself and stood through the undertow that fueled the impending ocean wave, but it’s crash was mightier than I and I fell.
As a runner, I accept a lot of pain in running. Since I accept pain I am still learning when to stop running due to injury or illness. Learning when to say when is something I definitely need to work on, runner or not. I let my pain due to illness go too long and it took me out of my running shoes for days. Had I gone for help earlier, I may not have needed to stop for so long.
I just love running. With a runner’s heart and mind that I can handle the pain. But some pains are not okay. I need to give those to the experts.