Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Injury Is A Pain In The Butt

Fall is my favorite season, mostly for the perfect running weather. Yes, the overabundance of all things pumpkin flavored is delicious, but it's that other smell in the air that is so inspiring. It smells of cross-country season, of marathon season, of running season. 

But, for me, it's biking indoors season. My hip is not yet healed enough to run, and although I am still thrilled I don't need surgery and thankful it isn't a worse injury, I'm not exactly enjoying my time away from running. I try to keep my head up and continue to look forward, but I do have some observations to share. Okay, they are mostly complaints, but perhaps other injured runners can share in my misery. 

One unsurprising discovery is my jealousy when I see other runners running. They don't know how good they have it as they trudge up that giant hill, red faced, struggling in sheer desperation to get to the top. Oh how I miss that agonizing delight. I want to jump in and jog alongside them while raving, "Isn't this wonderful?" (The irony is that this does not mean I don't want to go to races. When invited to cheer on friends in a November half marathon—the same weekend that I was to run my marathon—I couldn't say yes fast enough. If I can't race myself, there's no place I'd rather be than cheering others as they race, even despite my jealousy.) 

What was unexpected—to me, at least—was how much seeing my running routes would make me jealous. I run some of the same paths all the time, to the point of monotony. But now, I'll drive past one, and the grass has never looked greener, the path never more inviting. That cross-country/marathon season smell wafts in through the window, teasing me. I want to be out there! 

Since I'm biking to stay in running shape, I use very low resistance and very high RPM. Most experts would say that's a dangerous recipe for runners (i.e. inexperienced bikers) to get seriously hurt on the roads. So I'm stuck indoors, watching terrible television and cursing the inefficiency of biking. To get a similar workout to running, you have to bike about 1.5 times longer. But it's awful, particularly because it's incredibly boring and early morning television is the worst. I can't watch the Kardashian sisters fight over something blown out of proportion one more time. (Oh, but there's a marathon on, with new episodes? Okay, then, well I just want to see what happens with Khloe and Lamar...)

Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who listens to my complaints,
and, instead of getting annoyed by them, draws motivational pictures.

And dieting, forget it. There are many reasons I run and one of them is I really love cupcakes. Biking doesn't allow me the same gluttony. (That'd be too many Kardashian episodes to handle.) But despite working out at a fraction of what I'm used to, I still want to eat everything in sight. What do you mean I don't deserve a large stack of syrup covered pumpkin pancakes?! I ran a twenty miler six months ago, that doesn't still count?

Even chores are harder. Living in the city, sometimes it's just easier to run somewhere. On weekends I run to work or to do errands. But now I take some combination of buses and subways and can't help but calculate how much faster it would be to run, and how much more enjoyable. 

But the most tangible problem with biking is the bike seat. The bikes at the gym have wide, cushioned seats; although they aren't exactly Lazy Boys, they are much more comfortable than what true cyclists use. But thanks to kind triathlete family and friends, I currently have a real cyclist's bike with a real cyclist's seat set up in my living room. The first day wasn't so bad. This is so convenient! The second day, if I even tried to shift one inch, a wave of pain went through my butt, punishing me for anything anti-biking I've ever said. If this is some cruel torture device to force me to have more respect for cyclists and triathletes, congratulations, it worked. (Thank you family and friends??)

Of course, there are psychological struggles, too: the questions of getting back to where I was, how far behind I'll be when I can run, if the injury will return, how the recovery seems to be taking longer than originally anticipated. But it's simpler and easier to repress those worries and to focus my anger on that bike seat, because it's a serious pain in the butt. 

Dream big, 


1 comment :

  1. Hey, Runner Teal, we enjoyed the update and wish you continued recovery, but in the meantime, your fans are clamoring for more art work from your sketch man. Keep that guy supplied with pens, pencils, and paper!