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#276: Coming to Terms with Being Sidelined from Running

Sarah and co-host Dimity dive deeply into Dimity’s long-term injury—and the fact it’s going to keep her from running for the foreseeable future. With her signature candor, Dimity talks about why her quarter-century of running has come to a close—and how she is coming to accept that prognosis for the next six months (or longer). Discover why it’s a relief for the AMR co-founder to deliberately take control of her non-running situation, and how she’s remaining active and strong despite the lack of miles on her feet. Hear the determination in Dimity’s voice when she says she’s not going to stop being an athlete, and learn what athletic adventure she’s scheming with a friend. Dimity talks about the importance of “thinking beyond the daily release” running provides and the need to “widen the lens” to see the long-term landscape. Whether you’re in the same proverbial shoes now or know it’ll come one day (hello, aging!), this is an episode we all need to experience.

In the intro, Sarah elaborates on the smoke-situation in Portland, and Dimity humble-brags (as well she should!!) about her daughter’s volleyball experiences. The meat of the conversation starts at 22:42.

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6 responses to “#276: Coming to Terms with Being Sidelined from Running

  1. I listened to this a week late and I’m sorry I left it so long. Thank you Dimity for your endless courage and dedication to all of us. I hope you will always be able to let your legs carry you through the hard parts of life. You’ve helped me more with those words than I can say.

  2. This is so hard to listen to…I am crying along with you. I am listening as a currently sidelined runner, second time in less than two years. I don’t know what my future as a runner is, but I have identified myself as a runner since fourth grade [I may or may not have taken a few lazy breaks in there, but overarching identity is as a runner]. I am listening to find hope and to find nuggets I can share with others in S.W.I.F.T. who are also sidelined [we are creating meet-ups to address this very subject]. First one is this Sat. I will keep you posted and share anything useful. I feel like I can say I empathize, but I know I can’t. Hahaha, you just said “having runned” — I will use that Saturday in our meet-up! I hope I have some of your level of courage to still be the cheerleader, the inspiration to others, the connector. It’s easier to hole up and hide, that much I can empathize with. Ha, patience….I am just learning that much as I approach 50. Took me long enough. I think the biggest take away is WHAT CAN I DO! I am taking that to the group on Saturday! Thanks!

  3. Dimity, Thank you so much for sharing. Now 49 years old with two teenagers, I have been a runner since middle school. Too many years to count. I was diagnosed with a c6 c7 disc herniation just 4 weeks ago. I have had severe pain, numbness and weakness in my right arm as a result. Driving, sitting, etc. have been miserable. At my doctor’s recommendation, I tried steroids (no luck), then an epidural steroid injection a week and a half ago. As a runner, I have that ‘power through’ mentality, and have been pushing through discomfort the past several days to train with my fourteen-year-old son. We have planned to run a November half marathon together. After listening to your podcast this morning, I am able to step back and take a more honest look at what I am doing to myself… long term. It is so challenging when running is a part of your identity. It is where I go for cheap therapy, self confidence, peace and joy. Thank you so much for sharing your honest feelings… you are truly not alone. My best to you. From another struggling mother runner.

  4. Dear Dimity, Sending much love your way! You know you have a whole tribe of thankful women behind you as you adjust to a different version of your Uber-athletic-self! I can’t tell you how many times you, Sarah, and the AMR community have inspired me to keep moving forward in the challenging last couple years that I have had. I am very grateful and I know you will make the most of whatever paths you take! XO

  5. Dimity — my mother has lived with degenerating discs since her 50’s, and she is 78 now. She’s on the opposite end of the height spectrum from you — 5’2 and shrinking – but I’ve witnessed first hand how the pain can limit a life. Last year she had two major fusion surgeries, and a walk around the block is about as much as she can normally manage in exercise anymore. She took great care of herself all her life, so it just doesn’t seem fair, but genetics plus some hard years lifting as a nurse took their toll. I live in holy fear that the same genes will sideline me some day, but I also know that it would be better to give up running than to risk the physical and psychic toll of that kind of pain for decades.
    Good for you for doing the wise thing and giving your body a break. You only have one spine, and you’ll need it all your life. Be well and know that the rest of us will be dedicating many happy miles to your work!

  6. I am only 5’4, but also had a bulging disc between my L4/L5. I know the pain you talked about on the podcast. Not only could I not exercise, I couldn’t care for my children, do my job as a kindergarten teacher, or even stand to cook. I thought you might like to know that I did have the noninvasive surgery to shave off the bulging disc. It was a very easy outpatient procedure and it completely took away the pain down my leg. I am not a long distance runner, but I am a runner. I have remained pain free for the six years since the surgery. I joined the Stride into the School Year challenge to challenge myself after coming back from a stress fracture. Thanks for the podcast. I am a big fan!

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