As the resident beginner, I’m here to bring other beginners this cautionary tale. Over the last few months running has really become an important part of my life. I’m not sure I really appreciated how much running has improved my life and provided an escape from the every day hustle and grind. I learned how much I truly under-appreciated running last week when life exploded. At a time when I really needed to run, I skipped out on doing it. That was the rookie mistake that I better remember the next time life turns around and goes upside down.
It all started when, with very little notice, my work life changed. (As you might recall, I work in retail.) Don’t worry, I didn’t get fired. I was put into a temporary position for about 6 weeks while the store manager is out of the store on her own temporary assignment. The new spot brought an immediate schedule change and a change in responsibilities. The new schedule is not my ideal when it comes to how I like to run. Most days, I have to be at the store by 6 a.m. Yes, I could wake up super early to keep my wake-up-and-run routine. I REALLY like that routine…but, I have to add a new running routine to the list of changes.
However, last week, I didn’t do that. I got a couple runs in and then lost the mojo. The new position is a lot more physical as I oversee the shipment team and do the moving around of displays. At quitting time, I just wanted to veg out for the rest of the day, but I did try to get a run in. A few days in, though, other things were thrown at me and I found it easier to talk myself out of hitting the paths.
Some of you may recall that I was on the DL this summer when my ovary decided to become a monster. This was a needed break. After all, the state of my ovaries has to be high on your list of concerns. Since then, my OB/GYN has been following-up with me to check on the cyst. The first time I went to have it re-checked, it had gone down in size by about 1/2. WOO-HOO! AWESOME! And then…
After the job change, I went for my most recent ovary follow-up. Bad news. The cyst had grown almost back to the original size. It seems that I’m not very good at making babies, but I’m damn good at growing cysts. After the ultrasound revealed this, we talked about what’s next. Badder news. Surgery is in my future. In that discussion, my doctor gave me the heads-up that removing the cyst did mean the slight risk of the ovary coming out with it. Of course, all I heard was the part about losing the ovary, not the part about it being a slight risk. After the appointment, I tried to be very matter-of-fact about it, but I then started to go downhill to the dumps. I was depressed.
And no, the story of my week from you-know-where isn’t over yet. That same day, our cat Oswald had to have unplanned surgery. He got into some string and it got tangled up inside him. He only started to act sick the night before we took him to the vet, so we were surprised to find out that he was only hours away from sepsis setting in. He had the surgery and stayed overnight at the vet. All is fine, but that day, everything was too much for me.
I was overwhelmed. So overwhelmed I bagged the rest of my runs. But this just made everything worse.
Beginners, listen to me. If I had a redo of last week, I would go run. Running would have been the best thing for me. The physical benefits and the mental break would have helped out so much. Also, I have my first race coming up and I need to know I have it in me to not get derailed. Finally, with impending surgery, the more fit I go into it, the better recovery will be, and the sooner I’ll be back in my running shoes.
Veteran runners, how does running help you cope when life seems to spin out of control? What have been some of your biggest rookie mistakes?