Are runners in love with pain?

You might think we are given the amount of time we spend dealing with our various aches, pains, and overuse injuries. This season I’m dealing with a flare up of plantar fasciitis that I originally struggled with many years ago walking the 3-day walk for breast cancer. P-F wont kill you, but it sure makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. (And getting out of bed has been hard enough as it is lately with the return of stupid daylight savings time.)

What causes P-F?  Well, running for long periods of time on hard surfaces (check). Also being overweight (check…). I find that one particularly frustrating. I am running so I can be less overweight and this thing I’m doing to be healthier is actually negatively impacted by being overweight. I have no one to blame for the weight problem but myself, but it still feels slightly unfair now that I’m trying to do better. I am doing any manner of the things recommended for treating plantar fasciitis except the one thing that would probably help the most – stopping running. I don’t think runners so much like pain, but we sure do love running and we’re willing to put up with a lot of discomfort in order to keep going. I am happy to report that some of my measures are starting to show results (so you can stop worrying now, parental-type readers), but it’s likely to be an issue I’ll have to attend to throughout the season.

A co-worked asked me this morning if I got snowed on while running this past Saturday. It was cold, it rained some, snowed a little, and the trail was covered in puddles. By the time I got done with my run my shoes and my legs were coated with mud. It’s the kind of weather that chills you to the bone and I’m not going to lie it’s a little bit miserable at the get-go, and maybe at the middle bit, and definitely after the end when you are standing around, but for that part where your muscles are warmed up and you aren’t cold anymore and you are running down a dirt trail through the woods, literally nothing beats it. There are two times when I love running more than just about anything else – when I’m in that zone where the world melts away, and the moment your feet step across the finish line of a race. When I close my eyes and think about the satisfaction and pure joy I will get from finishing the half-marathon in June, plantar fasciitis is the equivalent of getting a paper cut while reading your favorite book. Painful and annoying, but hardly worth throwing the book away. So, runners are not masochists and we don’t love pain. We’re much more like addicts, jonesing for our next finisher’s medal or runner’s high, and willing to stop at little to get it.


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