Things just got a little out of control at the tiny gym in my apartment building. Or: I’m a giant baby. Probably the latter.
The Crankle is still cranky, which is in turn making me quite cranky. I am missing out on the nicest running weather of the year. I want to wade through the crunchy leaves and bask in the crisp sunshine. Footstomp.
But instead, I’m suffering through my 40-minute elliptical workout (40 minutes is my official tolerance on that thing, I think) when in stroll a fit-looking girl and fit-looking guy. There are only four machines in the gym and they are oriented like so:
Naturally, Fit-girl and Fit-guy go for the two treadmills, flanking me (I’m on the left elliptical). Naturally, I begin to seethe. And naturally, I hone in on the girl as the main target of my seething.
Hold up, I tell myself. She’s probably going to power-walk while texting. No need to be all envious and shit. Right?
Wrong. Fit-girl cranks up the speed. She’s a legit runner, dammit. I surreptitiously steal glances at her treadmill’s display. (I know I am not the only one who does this.) 7.5. 7.7. 7.9. 8.0. She’s cruising along at sevensomething pace. Screw her.
I crank up the resistance on my elliptical. I’m not sure why. I can’t compete with that. Not on a stupid elliptical. And she’s not competing with me, anyway. She’s banging out a nice little run, occasionally chatting with Fit-guy over my steaming, seething head. Probably dismissed me in an instant as some dumb gymrat who spends hours toiling away on cardio machines so she can chug Michelob Ultra on the weekend.
I kind of want to cry. I want a chance to explain myself. I want to wear a sign on my back that says HEY, I’M A REAL RUNNER TOO. I’M JUST A LITTLE HURT RIGHT NOW. I’m not sure why I care so much. But I do.
My emotions swing wildly between boiling jealous hatred for Fit-girl and Fit-guy (and everyone out there running through crunchy leaves) and resigned self-pity. I fear that every day on this stupid elliptical is costing me fitness – fitness that I cannot afford to lose, because even deeper down I fear that I’m not good enough to be out there, period. There will always be someone faster and fitter and stronger than me. Paranoia, neuroses, envy, self-doubt: all a part of the running game.
All of this is highly irrational; I realize that. I mean, I’ve been on the injured list for, like, a week. Big effing deal.
But it is kind of a big effing deal. Running is what I do – it’s what I’ve done for the last 17 years. It’s the foundation of my social life, the activity that defines my lifestyle. I just moved to a new city and the only place I’ve really made friends is on the track. I’ve dumped most of my eggs into the running basket, and to see that basket wobbling perilously, threatening to empty all of my efforts into a pile of cracked shells? Well…it kind of sucks.
The injury psyche is a complex thing. It’s not as simple as “well, I like to run and now I can’t do it and that makes me sad.” It’s an identity crisis of sorts. I think this is especially true in our social-media-driven, Dailymile-and-Strands-logging, training-minutiae-over-sharing world. It’s becoming the norm to broadcast everything that we do. These bits of information define us, whether it’s cultivating a foodie following by Tweeting check-ins at trendy restaurants or posting pictures of your kid on Facebook. A temporary interruption in our daily activities is no longer just personal; it profoundly affects the image of ourselves that we project to the world.
Anyway. With respect to this post, here is what you should probably say to me: calm the hell down, now. It’s nearly certain you’ll be back to running in a few days. There are runners who are injured for weeks and months on end. They can complain. You? Not so much. Sack up and shut up, toots.
But it’s my blog and I can cry – and be a whiny, self-indulgent arse – if I want to. 🙂
Time to hang out with my new best friends:
And psych myself up for more scintillating adventures on the helliptical.
Today’s EAT: After my tantrum in the gym, I cleaned myself up and decided to go have a black bean burger and french fries from the bar next door.
And to answer an important question? Yes, it is acceptable to wear compression socks to the bar.
I have to share in the enthusiasm for this kind of beer. It’s really perfect: somewhere between a normal IPA (which sometimes are too puckery for my taste) and a real dark beer like a porter (which are delicious but fill me up quickly, leaving no room for french fries, and that’s no good). LoneRider’s version was just a tad sweet and nice and smooth. Delicious.
Today’s RUN: 40 angry elliptical minutes. More of the same for a few days until the pain in my Achilles totally goes away. It’s feeling better now, but still kinda hurts when I walk around, especially barefoot. Hrmph.
Today’s QUESTION: How do you deal with injuries and setbacks? Are you a whiny drama queen like me? 🙂