If you read The Book, you know I grew up a reader, not a runner. And despite my seven marathons, newly minted Half Fanatic status, and being a regular contributor to Runner’s World, there’s always a part of me that forever worries about backsliding to being that sedentary person. Now even more so because, deep, heavy sigh: I just got diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. (I’m rolling a frozen water bottle under my right heel and arch as I type this…)
But don’t check your inbox for an Evite to my pity-party quite yet. For now, I’m philosophical about being sidelined: I figure I dodged the injury-bullet for 25+ years, so sooner or later I was bound to get hit. The orthopedist who diagnosed the PF agrees: He took one look at my arches (which he deemed, “twice as high as most people,” a distinction I feel about as proud as if he’d told me I have “twice the amount of dandruff most people have” or “twice as small boobs”) and declared he was amazed I’d made it this long without succumbing to an injury.
As you can guess, though, I am not taking the diagnosis sitting down. While I haven’t run since May 17 with one, um, “minor” exception I’ve become reacquainted with my bike (a good friend when I live in San Francisco in the late 1990s) and I’ve been strength training at least twice a week. But, as we running-mommas know, nothing compares to the heart-thumping sweat induced by a delightfully simple run. (Insert another heavy sigh here…)
Other than finding a suitably sweaty alternative, the main thing I’m grappling with my identity. It’s finally T-shirt weather here in Portland, and I’ve found myself reaching again and again for my beloved “another mother runner” and “The more I run, the less I want to run away.” tees, yet I can’t bring myself to pull them on. While I haven’t yet reverted to being simply a reader, I am not currently a runner. So while I’m spinning away, mulling over this question, I think about what my friend (and fellow RLAMer) Megan reminded me: Not that long ago, I deemed I was “a rower who runs,” and in the past I’ve self-selected as a Masters swimmer. It’s only been in the last three or so years I’ve ID’d myself as a runner first and foremost.
And nothing like a little kick from kismet: With the, “if I’m not a runner, then who am I?” question incessantly pinging around my brain, I got a card (yes, an actual piece of mail) from Ashley (a mutual friend of Megan and me who ran the Boston Marathon in April). Ashley wrote, “…I have been in a weird funk since I am taking a marathon break. Didn’t realize how much being a ‘marathoner’ these last few years defined me (at least in my head). Spending a little time resting & re-defining what running is to me right now….”
While these comments from dear women whom I respect greatly as runners and moms don’t get me back to running any sooner (a final sigh for good measure), they certainly helped get my head in a better place. And, as well all know, the body follows where the mind leads.