After my ultra marathon, I took an (almost) 2 month break from running. I did cycle during that time, but did't run at all. During the first week of February, I was so excited to hit the pavement again. I ran 3 miles, and was surprised that the pain in my left hip-flexor was slightly still there. After my second 3 miles a few days later, I was limping that later that evening. And after my third 3 miles, students were asking me the next day if I was okay.
Coming to terms with the fact that I couldn't even do 3 miles without pain and realizing that I had to back out of the Ragnar Relay was really defeating. My identity is so closely tied to running...and the thought of not getting back out there for those long conversations with my friends was really upsetting. I wouldn't be loosing friendships per say, but I would be loosing quality time with running friends that I enjoyed.
But, did I really ever enjoy my long runs? I have to say - never. After the fact, sure ... if only for the fact that it was done. Like anytime a negative stimulus is removed, you appreciate the fact it is gone. I often dreaded my long runs for a few days before, and was wiped out after. Not just physically exhausted - but physically as well. I have to say, I'm not much of a conversationalist the day of any long run over 14 miles.
At what point does the cost outweigh the benefit? Even if I get myself to a point where I have no injuries and no pain while running (I will get there - I just need a little more time off and possibly some physical therapy) do I want to continue my long runs? No.
In examining what I love about running, and why I want to keep it in my life I have:
- Mood boost
- Reduction in stress
- Fitness level
- Probably more reasons I'm not thinking of right now