The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Be honest: there are probably a few lies you’ve told yourself but don’t want to admit to. Today I’m going to come clean about two of the lies I’ve told myself in the 5 months since the NYC Marathon: 1) I wasn’t injured and 2) I don’t really want to run anymore anyway.

If you’re a regular reader, you know all about my lack of motivation after the NYC Marathon. A lot of that had to do with this injury that I didn’t want to admit to. After my post-marathon runs turned into pain fests just a few miles in, I took time off. Shortly after the New Year, I lost my job and my motivation to run. I tried to run every other week only to have that leg flare up, and soon I was in pain even when I didn’t run; shooting spikes of fire radiated from my butt to my knee while I sat on the couch or drove to the store.

I started working again in mid-March, around the same time I attempted to push through the pain for a 6 mile run to prep for my upcoming half marathon at the end of April. It was a terrible run and I had to walk last 3 miles. The resulting pain was the worst it had ever been, and left me unable to walk for a day and a half (and limping for 4 more days). That’s when I realized Truth #1: I really WAS injured.

So about 3 weeks ago I went back to my chiropractor. And he’s helping. S-L-O-W-L-Y. The work we’re doing is painful and can only be done in little bursts every few days. I’m not allowed to even try running. All the forced downtime has me frustrated. I feel weaker than I have in years. I’ve gained more weight than I care to admit. I officially dropped out of the NJ Half Marathon in April.

As a result, I’ve spent much less time on social media. So much so that I’ve lost more than 400 followers on Instagram in the last four months. Apparently, a girl who muddled her way through 26.2 miles in a pathetic 6+ hours back in November isn’t as interesting when she has to stop running and fight her way through injury, weight gain and depression. Such is life.

But not spending hours running or scrolling through my social media feeds has helped me spot those lies, along with a few other things.

One: before the marathon, I spent WAY too much time on social media. A wholly unhealthy amount of time. Many hours a week. I’d be at dinner and found myself scrolling “just a little more”, and paying attention to the real flesh and blood people in the room just a little less.

Additionally, I realized that I’ve been coping with this injury by creating lie number two: convincing myself that I don’t really enjoy running anyway.

With an injury that has no defined finish line and seems to keep coming back, I found myself – in classic depressive fashion – isolating myself from the usual injured runner banter. I stopped interacting with runner friends. I got complacent. I said meh, running isn’t all that great anyway. Which led to I’m not that great at running anyway, and ultimately, I just won’t bother with running anyway. 

I had actually convinced myself that I didn’t really like running that much after all.

Because resignation is easier than treatment and rebuilding.

Giving up is easier than doing one-legged squats to build up those glutes.

Quitting is easier than fighting through another round of soft tissue work where the doctor and the nurse each take a part of me and bend and twist and dig.

And it’s a hell of a lot easier than the work I’m going to have to do to get back into the shape I was just a half a year ago.

But yesterday, something changed. Over the weekend I traveled to Boston to cheer on my sister-in-law Meredith as she took on the Boston Marathon (and CRUSHED IT!) and spent a few hours in the hotel gym on Sunday doing squats and leg lifts and crunches and push ups and planks and swimming. Then on Monday I walked. Tuesday I was sore, but by Wednesday, I felt strong again.

Not “I can run a marathon” strong, but I didn’t wince on the stairs. My core felt tight instead of weak. I drove home from work with the windows down and realized – I can’t wait to run again. The idea popped into my head completely unbidden for the first time in months. And I smiled.

Because I know I’ll run again. It’s going to take time, and I’m going to need to do a LOT of work to get back even a fraction of the strength I lost. But I’m willing to put that work in, because I don’t want to feel weak and soft and injured anymore. I’m ready to feel strong again. I’m ready to be a runner again.

8 thoughts on “The Lies We Tell Ourselves

  1. You go, girl! I feel we are in it for the long haul, sometimes the running is good and sometimes it’s not. But when I go through times and sometimes it’s months when the running is not so good, I remind myself it’s okay because I’m in it for the long haul and I will be back. You are back. Slow and steady wins the race. Besides it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon. Beth

  2. Stay positive mama!! I know how frustrating injuries can be! You will be back to where you were in no time & stronger than you were before! 💪💪💪 I’m here for you if you need anything!

  3. YASS! You go girl!!!! You e got this xxx and ps… the people still ‘here’ are the ones that count… the ones that left… their loss I say ❤️

  4. I think over half the battle of overcoming injury is the mental component – and we often don’t give ourselves credit for that part of it.

    Congrats on making your way back!! And good luck with the recovery!! ❤

  5. Yes! Making a comeback is difficult. After being sick for months and finally being diagnosed with asthma, I was depressed and unsure about what I would do. I had a moment where I realized, omg, I might need to find another hobby. But what, what could I possibly love as much as running. It’s taking time. More time than I care to admit to rebuild and strengthen and move forward, but the point is, the overall trend is toward the forward. I’m glad to see you haven’t just thrown in the towel and given it all up! Keep working toward health and healing and soon you will be running like you were before. Maybe even better!

  6. You got this Jess-i! It is hard in this age of social media un-reality and curated presentations to remember that we all have our challenges and struggles, and that as runners and extreme weight-loss veterans we are in this for the long haul. It is really true that life is a marathon, and we need to deal with it one mile, one step at a time. So as hard as it is now, know that the effort today will pay dividends in the future as you get healthy and back to running and doing everything.

    It is also important to recognize – as you have done – how your depression and anxiety are working against you, sabotaging your mindset.

    As for the lie I have been telling myself lately … it would probably be that I can be healthy while using MyFitnessPal. As someone who has lost >100 lbs *twice* in my life, I know I will never have a truly healthy relationship with food and weight and my body image – but MFP only makes it worse … and I have gone from ‘yeah, I would like to lose those 5 lbs extra I started off 2017 carrying, plus the extra 5 from our 25th anniversary trip’ to OK, so I lost those plus the few extra to put me back to my ‘best running weight’ … oh, and I really wanted to be 5 or so lbs less than that … and oh, I like that, so let’s go a bit more so I have that as my max weight. Yeah, not healthy – started off with a 10-15lb goal and am currently down between 25-30. Sh*&t. I cannot find I time I weighed so little – definitely before high school … so before I stopped growing. Ugh.

  7. So glad to see you back here, and back running. I cannot believe people unfollowed you – that’s just so weird to me! I love seeing your posts, and I’m glad the clouds seem to be lifting. I have shifted my thoughts about running to be “I GET to run…and if I don’t feel like running, it’s okay! I can do something else today!” And nearly every time I get on the treadmill (because I get up ridiculously early…) I just want to keep running. It’s helped me tremendously. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone…and neither do you! You are strong, and amazing!

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