Hi, I’m S….and I’m a runner. There. I said it. I’ve come to realize running is a bona fide addiction for me. I realized this on my run this morning. I planned on a short 3 or 4 mile run to minimize back pain because it’s still not back to baseline. It felt good though, and it turned into a short 6 mile run. This is when I realized I’m addicted to running. I ran more than I intended to despite the potential for negative consequences.
A large part of my professional life had been treating individuals with drug and alcohol problems, so I know a thing or two about addictions. I know about denial, and all the excuses people tell themselves to fuel the addiction. To say I just love running is akin to a heroin addict saying he merely appreciates his smack immensely.
In rehabbing my back and knees (after I hit rock bottom), I promised my acupuncturist that after my two half marathons this spring, I would never, ever, EVER run longer than 7 miles at once again. I would not do this again. We talked about my health and my long-term goals. We talked about slow, short, infrequent runs. I talked about how grateful I was that I was finally able to run/jog/shuffle again at all. I promised her I would only run these two races and that would be it. Forever. I pinky promised her.
Two half marathons within 7 days. This is what got me in trouble last year. I pushed myself too hard, and didn’t listen to all the signs telling me I was hurting and needed to take care of myself and ease up. Two half marathons in 7 days this year. I promised myself it would be different this time. I wouldn’t train foolishly for them like last time. I would listen to my body and stop when it hurt. I would go slowly and be OK with coming in dead last. It’s different this time. I said I would withdraw from one or both of the races if my body told me to. I can quit anytime I wanted to.
Then someone waved a third half marathon in front of me. Three half marathons within 15 days. Oh, the craving hit. I got so excited, of course I can do this! These race organizers are like my drug pushers–instead of standing on street corners, they stand behind tabletop exhibits and under tents with registration forms and promotional lanyards and water bottles.
It’s hard not to be tempted to run in this area—triathlons, marathons, duathlons, 5Ks, fun runs. Everywhere you turn, through every season, people whiz pass me. It’s like an alcoholic living above a bar.
Then they threw down another challenge. Add two more races for yet another special medal AND a backpack. I. am. salivating. I keep telling myself this time will be different. I can withdraw and stop running anytime I want to. This is not a problem. I feel so alive when I run…
Yes, yes. I admit I have a problem and I am powerless…yes, yes, I believe a Higher Power can help and restore my sanity…But I’m pretty sure my Higher Power believes I can and should run like a girl….