Welp, the dreaded plantar fasciitis has come back to bite me in the heel. It’s the other heel this time, for some reason. I’ve fought this monster before and emerged victorious, but it took a long time. This time around, I’ve started fighting it more quickly and more seriously, rather than trying to run through the pain before giving up and starting treatment weeks or months later. Hopefully this will let me get back to running as quickly as possible. In the meantime, since this is not my first rodeo (to switch fighting-animals-metaphors midstream there), I’ve got some coping techniques at my disposal. Not gonna lie, I am seriously unhappy and dealing with injured-runner-rage over the return of this injury. But the advantage of having to fight again is that I know what to do. Read more >>
I started running because it felt good and offered relief from a stressful home environment. I mean, it wasn’t that bad, but in my family, something was always wrong. And after a run, it always seemed like everything was eventually going to be okay.
Over time, it got addictive. If I couldn’t control my home life, running was one thing I could control. Food had entered the equation, too, so there were two things. I started competing in high school track and cross country in 11th grade. Competition was fun, especially as I slowly improved on my meager 84-second 400 meter PR. But as the desire to control continued to escalate, my happiness decreased. I just couldn’t see it yet.
Underneath the carefully calculated miles and calories logged lay the belief that I wasn’t ever good enough. Read more >>
In January, I stumbled across the finish line of the Houston half marathon exhausted, disappointed, and completely burned out on running. After I caught my breath and realized I wasn’t going to puke on the volunteers, my first thought was “now I never have to train for anything again!”
It’s been over 2 months since the race ended, and although I’ve run a little, I’m not ready to train again. Taking a break like this was scary for me — I’ve been training pretty much non-stop for some type of race for almost 9 years — but it’s been eye-opening too.
First, let me share all the things that did NOT happen when I took a break. Read more >>
Hi, I’m Thyme, and I get injured a lot. When my future in-laws recommended that I see a physiatrist, my first reaction was “physia-what-now?” I had never heard of this medical specialty, and judging from reactions when I’ve mentioned it to others, I’m not alone. Heck, spellcheck doesn’t even recognize the word! My online research revealed that a physiatrist (pronounced fiz-EYE-a-trist) is an M.D. who specializes in “physical medicine and rehabilitation.”
Physiatrists take a holistic approach, evaluating the body as a system, looking at functional movement, and devising treatment plans that incorporate pain management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or medications as appropriate. Unlike most orthopedists, physiatrists tend to focus on non-surgical solutions. They often collaborate with other practitioners, like physical therapists, to implement rehabilitation plans for patients.
This all sounds great, but I still wondered: I’ve had my fair share of running injuries. Why haven’t I heard of these doctors before?
Originally published by Mint on April 2, 2013 (five years ago today).
You know that saying that sometimes bad runs happen to good people? I have another one: sometimes smart runners do really dumb things (which in turn causes bad runs to happen to good people). Of course that smart dumb runner is me.
This week, I broke one of the cardinal sins of training:
I cut too many calories during my peak training week all in the name of weight loss and reaching my ideal race weight.
I paid for it dearly too.
Back in October, I ran my 3rd half marathon post-baby, and I walked long stretches. Walked. I never walk in races. My body was telling me to slow down. I felt achy, tired, and just could not push forward.
Afterward, my body felt creaky, like an old wood floor. I hobbled around like I had just run for hours. Every step I took hurt my joints. My left foot had been hurting me for a few weeks, but now it was yelling at me. My friends asked me how it went, and all I could say was, “Today just wasn’t my day.”
But deep down, I knew something else was wrong. These aches and pains had been getting worse since I had my son, William, 6 months prior. I was experiencing swelling in various joints, too. Maybe I had overdone it? Pushed too hard post-baby? At first, I attributed my aches and pains to getting older (but really, I’m only 30! That can’t be it!)
For a moment, I feel like a fraud in my “Runner” sweatshirt as I set off on my walk around my adopted home of Budapest for perhaps the last time before heading back to the U.S. for the next six months. I have intentionally put on my walking shoes that I can’t run in (unless it is to catch the tram). I have no interest in running today. I haven’t for about a week. But I don’t want the guilt of being outside, in running-ish clothing, to push me to run when my mind and body are telling me to take a break.
I did want to run just a week ago, running up a mountain in Obuda on a whim, running around Budapest like a kid in a candy store. And, perhaps, I will feel the need to run again when I am back in the States, in the middle of another amazing, but stressful semester. I just don’t want to run now, even after I’ve finally found the “perfect” training plan.
Two years ago, this lack of motivation to run would have sent me into an emotional tailspin. “I don’t even want to run!” “What does this mean about my identity as a runner?!” “Who am I even?” And, worse, those echoes of my demons: “Oh no! If I don’t run, I’ll gain #alltheweight!” “How do I eat when I’m not running?!”
I checked the temperature on my iPhone again to see if it had changed in the last 30 seconds. Nope, still 18 degrees. Sighing, I pulled up my socks, reluctantly put on my shoes, started my podcast and headed out the door for a 6-mile easy run. I turned left out of my driveway and began to climb the giant hill. Quads burning, eyes watering and nose running, I audibly groaned. “Why am I doing this to myself?” I thought as I wiped my nose on my glove. “I thought this was supposed to be fun.”
Ah, running. It’s our biggest hobby and also our biggest pain in the ass. We knew it was hard when we started. All of us can remember the days when a mile was a huge accomplishment and we thought we’d have shin splints and blisters forever. We even enjoy the hard part. There’s nothing better than that feeling of accomplishment after nailing a hard workout, or finding that point in a workout when it goes from being impossible to manageable.
But what happens when running is ALWAYS hard? When we never find that sweet spot and every run is a struggle? Do we push through and keep suffering for its own sake? And if so, why?
The #MeToo hashtag has dominated our social media feeds lately, and rightly so. Created to bring awareness to the significant and consistent sexual violence, harassment and rape that women have been — and are — victims of on a daily basis, the #MeToo movement has given women a platform to share their stories, even including four United States senators.
Our mission at Salty Running is to create a safe space where we can share our stories and build a community that empowers us as runners and as women. We share our #MeToo stories today not to scare you or as proof that running is just too dangerous for women. We’ve moved past perceptions that women can’t run because they are not physically able or because it is not safe for women to be alone. Indeed, the prevalence of #MeToo stories across social media indicates that it is often simply dangerous and precarious to be a woman, and running does not increase our risk of harassment or attack. We’re just as likely to be harassed at work, the gym, in the subway or online.
We’ve written before about the prevalence of harassment women runners experience on the run, from honking and catcalling to physical assault. We share our #MeToo stories today because we view it as critically important to continue to raise awareness that daily, persistent abuse, harassment and even assault continues to affect all women, not just women runners. Rape, assault, and harassment are about power, not how we look or what we wear. By continuing to run, we demonstrate that we will not be silenced. We run because we can.
We run because we must.
Shalane Flanagan, in the introduction to First Ladies of Running, describes her mother’s marginalizing experiences as a runner in the 1970s: “It wasn’t unusual for her to be pelted by cans or bottles from passing motorists.” Women’s running has come a long way since then, and certainly since men banned us from running long distances to protect our uteri. Just as our early women running pioneers paved the way for us to run, we continue to run because we know that running not only increases our self-confidence physically but increases our self-efficacy in every aspect of our lives. By continuing to run, we fight not only for ourselves but for our future.
We will not be silent. We will persist.
As a group of women runners writing primarily for other women runners, we know that we are not telling you something you didn’t already know. Harassment and fear have become burdens that we accept and carry with us as we run. Bergamot shared her story of assault on the run earlier this year. Meanwhile, I, Cilantro, have yet to have a run outside in my new home without a least a honk; more often than not this is accompanied by catcalling. For a few runs last year, I was followed by a large white van. My story, these stories, are not unique.
This is not okay.
While the #MeToo movement is not a solution in itself to the problem of violence against women, it is important that we recognize and acknowledge how common these experiences are. Sexual harassment, rape, and assault are never our fault, no matter what we are wearing, where we are running, or who we are running with. Too long, women have been silenced or ignored. But now, as the #MeToo movement helps us tell our stories to a broader audience, ignorance is no longer an excuse — not that it ever was a valid one.
The burden for change is not on women runners. We do not need to change what we wear, where we run, who we run with or what we carry. Instead, men must stop assaulting and harassing women. All of us must stop accepting and normalizing violence and silencing the voices of the victims. We will not be silent.
Nevertheless, we run.
Nevertheless, we persist.
The following stories detail just a few of the harrowing experiences Salties have had on the run and may be triggering for those who have experienced sexual assault or harassment.
Can you really do it all? Can you have a family, a career, go after your running goals, and be healthy and happy?
I think the answer is no. Hear me out.
When you scroll through Facebook or Instagram, you see these perfect photos of people who seem to have it all. And you might think the same about people you know in real life too. But the truth is that many of these people are beyond stressed and probably have some bad days just like you.
So, my question is, why do we think that this is normal? Why do we aspire to be perfect in all things? Is it in our DNA?
Recently I had to take a set back from training as well as writing for Salty Running and prioritize my overall health and well-being. I was doing too much, not taking enough downtime, and putting too much pressure on myself to be a perfect mom, perfect wife, and fast runner. I started becoming stressed about things and overreacting to minor daily problems. My body was telling me to slow down, and I had to listen.
Usually, in times of stress, I cut out running. Then after a few weeks, I end up missing it and just feeling kind of off balance. And of course, I remember that I’ve been through this before, and duh, running is helping me hold things together. I always find more focus and joy in my day when I start off with a run or some type of workout.
Maybe you’ve heard this story before. Maybe you think this is one of those first world problems. But I think there are a few of you out there that can identify with the concept of burning the candle at both ends. I want to tell you that it’s okay to chill out and do fewer things. It’ll be fine. Just give your body a chance to recover, and take some time to meditate and figure out what’s most important to you.
How do you handle the stress of “doing all the things”?
It’s late at night and you’re curled up in bed with your beloved smartphone. You open up Instagram to watch some stories, mostly of your favorite runners, the ones you follow out of genuine interest and the ones you follow with morbid curiosity. And then the thought pops in your head: how do these people continue to train for race after race? Why is everything about running? Don’t they ever take any breaks?
The short answer is yes. Many runners take breaks, and these breaks often look different from runner to runner. Even pros take breaks after intense training cycles. For some, a break can be as short as a week or two off. For others, it may be longer, lingering into months-long hiatus territory.
Even so, some people continue to run during breaks, but focus less on structured training and more on running for enjoyment. Like many things, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. And, it’s true: it’s often difficult to take time off from running. But I’m here to reassure you that’s it’s not only possible but can also be done in a way that preserves both our fitness and our egos. Read more >>
“Everyone needs a hobby,” I shrug with a smile. I say this to family members, to people I date, people I work with, people I meet out. You can relate, I’m sure, to that look they give me in return, the way nonrunners look at us. It’s some combination of admiration, confusion and dismissal. There’s an instant barrier. They could never do that. They don’t want to. They don’t understand.
At my “day job” I’m that girl. The one who runs. The girl with the funny tall socks and the race t-shirts and the rain jacket that sports the NYC Marathon logo. “How many miles did you run today?” asks a coworker, who shakes his head and calls me crazy when I give the answer.
You might be surprised how often I get that same look from runners too. Read more >>
Phew! I’m finally back with Part III of my story of overcoming anorexia. Sorry for the delay! My Boston Marathon recovery called for a little time away from running, which also included writing about running. To catch up, you can read Part I and Part II before diving in.
Four and a half years ago I was struggling in the throes of anorexia and running was tangled up in my illness, a means to burn the few calories I consumed. My running performance was an excuse I used to justify needing to lose more weight. For these reasons, it might come as a surprise that, after all that, it was running that helped me recover.
I have been an educator in the public school system for 11 years: eight years as a classroom English teacher and three years as an instructional coach. The eight years I was in the classroom, I struggled to think of myself as a good teacher despite receiving commendations from colleagues about my classroom management and relationships with kids, as well as receiving a county Teacher of the Year Award.
When I decided to become an instructional coach, I did so because I felt burnt out and needed a break from the classroom, not because I thought I had value to contribute to my colleagues. After three years, I continue to feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but have been told multiple times what an asset I am for my school.
I don’t share these stories to brag, rather I share this to tell you my experiences with imposter syndrome … and how running helped me change that mindset.
I started writing here in 2012, right after we launched. I didn’t know it at the time, but each post became a part of my story as a runner named Ginger. I started timidly, with a hunger to see how good I could get. I shared what it’s like to date a much faster runner and to be in the presence of all of his fast friends. I reached for goals I never thought possible and learned how to race. I received my Master’s degree and shared how I tried to balance training with a job that involved a lot of stress, much of it self-imposed, but hindsight is 20/20. And when life became really challenging, I decided to be up front about it, detailing a mental health crisis at length. This ultimately became a large part of my identity as a writer and blogger with the site.
It was around two years ago that I started to see the importance of surrendering to the process and allowing the story to write itself instead of curating an identity. When I first starting sharing my story here, I imagined that by now I’d be a Boston qualifier on her way to a sub-3:00 marathon. How so you ask? That little booger of a concept called comparison. Read more >>
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