Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And yet another reason I love running...

Just when I think I can't love running any more than I already do -- when I think I know all the reasons I love to run -- I get hit over the head with the realization that I've missed something.  Something important that running brings to my life and yet I wasn't even aware of the connection.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that my writing has slowed way down in recent months.  Waaaaay down.  As in, I haven't posted anything since September.  I know that "they" say the key to a successful blog is to post often -- sometimes multiple times a day -- in order to keep readers engaged.  Clearly, having a successful blog using that definition has never been my goal.  I write simply because I love to write and because I want to connect with others who share common interests and goals.

I never pressure myself to write and give myself the freedom to do it only when the words come on their own.  I hadn't given it much thought but assumed I wasn't writing lately because I have been injured for months and haven't been running.  Yes, some of my posts have nothing to do with running but, for the most part, they are fairly running-related.  (I am, after all, the Happy Running Mama!)

However, two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like my head was going to explode.  Not because I drank too much wine the night before but because I had so many thoughts and ideas floating through my head.  When I am asleep and dreaming, the creative part of my brain lights up like fireworks at night.  If I could just hop out of bed at 2am and sit down at my computer, I know the words would flow like water from a spout.

But, lately, all those thoughts and ideas dissipate into the dark recesses of my mind by the time I sit down at my computer.  This is due mostly to the fact that my writing takes place after the mind-numbingly painful first hour of the day.  The hour that involves getting three kids up, fed and dressed as well as getting lunches made, the kitchen cleaned and all three dropped off at school.  That hour seeps not only the creativity but also some of the optimism right out of me.  That hour is, by far, the most challenging hour of my day.

In months past, I would go for a run immediately after dropping the kids off.  It might be cold, rainy, foggy or windy but I would lace up my shoes and head out the door.  When I returned, I would often sit at my computer and the thoughts would come to me quicker than I could type them.

Circling back to the point of my post (finally), what I realized is that my creative juices flow on a run the same way they do in my sleep.  My mind wanders free during a run and goes places I don't normally go during a day filled with driving the kids places, doing laundry and refereeing fights.  I never realized before that running gives me the time and space to daydream.  To let my imagination run wild. To fill me back up with hope and optimism for not only the future but even just to make it through the day.  And this has all been missing from my life for the past few months.

So, yes, I suppose in a sense I haven't been writing because I haven't been running.  But it has nothing to do with writing about running and everything to do with the creativity and freedom and passion that running brings to my life.  A new reason to love running that I never realized until today.


I will be surprised if anyone is still reading this after all that rambling and I'm not sure it all even made sense to anyone but me!  But just in case someone is still there, I'll give a little update on the last few months...

As far as my injury goes, I have been diagnosed with something called chrondomalacia.  Basically, the cartilage under my knee is a little rough and that is where all the pain is coming from.  The damage to the cartilage is permanent and surgery is not really recommended or very successful in fixing this problem so I am left with few options.  Mostly, I am focused on strengthening my glutes and improving the flexibility in my hips.  These changes will, hopefully, help pull my kneecap so it is tracking correctly and will keep the pain at bay.  At the same time, I am constantly icing and taking ibuprofen in order to decrease any inflammation under the kneecap.

While it has been a long road, I am optimistic that things are finally starting to improve.  Last week, I was able to run a mile with no (additional) pain in my knee!  Without a doubt, it was one of the happiest miles of my life and I was grateful for every step of it.  If all goes well, I will very slowly and carefully continue to increase my mileage and hope to be running longer distances soon.

The rest of my life has been busy with family activities, including my niece's first birthday party, a trip to the pumpkin patch, lots and lots of soccer games, a weekend in Vegas and Halloween.  All of this is most easily shared through pictures...

my little niece...who needs hands to eat cake?!

Ian and my dad at my niece's party

a rare night of dress-up for J and me

first day of soccer practice

watching my oldest play soccer

beautiful October morning spent kayaking with a dear friend

Oregon Ducks game with friends

weekly Wednesday coffee date

one of the many days in October when I looked outside and wished I could go for a run

one of the last pictures where I am still taller than my son

Vegas at 7pm

Vegas at 3am (like many things in life that seemed like a good idea at the time....)

family pic

Now that October has left us and taken with it the beautiful Indian Summer we were experiencing, the dark, dreary days seem to have arrived for good.  Although I will miss the sunshine and the warmth that it brings, I look forward to Thanksgiving with gratitude.

Does anyone else find they are more creative after a run??

- Kristen