Self-inflicted pain

noo noo girl running for David

Please don’t share this with anyone, but I have done something truly awful; I can only partake this information in the strictest confidence. I feel like such a fool. Thinking, and feeling, like I was becoming somewhat ‘used’ to my running, and accordingly believing I had improved considerably from my early running fitness, I decided to go for a long run this week. Hard to believe as our skies are pumping out biblical levels of flaccid post-winter rain, but the sun was blasting out early spring heat and it just lured me on and on, until before I knew it I had run quite a few miles further than I had expected.

In fact five miles more than I have ever run! Carried away I truly was, but with my face freckling with every step, the birds singing to me that I could run as far as I wished and the track hard under foot springing me forever forward, I literally found that for the first time I couldn’t stop myself. I did feel like I had pushed my body maybe a little too far, signalled by a background feeling of nausea for the rest of the day. But the endorphins were pumping in every cell of my body. That’s when I fell down. That evening I felt great. Well kind of, in a ‘I’m completely exhausted but have pushed myself further than I thought I could so feel quite impressed’ way. The day was a normal one in that by the time I had forced my children to bed I felt in need of a sedative, and all I could hear was Mr Red Wine calling my name.

One became two, which tipped into three (purely medicinal, to help me sleep…) glasses, and my Friday evening slipped away until I was cosily asleep, seemingly exhausted, but content. Saturday morning however was pay back. I woke up, was sick (only once, so surely it was a bug or something I had eaten…hmmm) and then spent two days in bed. I am sure I had a bug as they fly around our house as frequently as EasyJet fly from Gatwick, but after 24 hours of bed-confinement-torture I started thinking a hideous thought: ‘Did I do this to myself?’ This spiralled into: ‘Maybe I ran too far, and on top of being exhausted, a few (medicinal) glasses of wine was simply too much for my body to cope with,’ and culminating in horror with: ‘I think I have just made myself ill by being a complete idiot.’ With an extra day in bed to fully contemplate what I had done, my stomach churning like a ferry on the English Channel, I vowed to be kinder to myself, restrict my running limits and learn to put my relationship with red wine on hold post intense exercise.

Running has surreptitiously become incredibly important to me; it feels like it has become my salvation. When family or work pressures are building and I am ready to blow out hot air, running is a safety valve. Thoughts, plans, frustrations, ideas; they all settle when I am out running. I almost feel the physical benefit of my placing one foot in front of the other in a rather fast fashion provides me with a form of spiritual peace. So, tip-toeing along the path of my running journey, I feel there are some issues I need to sort out. What do I want to do more; run, run well and run faster in order to feel happy within, or, use a very tasty but perhaps not as beneficial stimulant that certainly does help me relax, but leaves me with a dry mouth, frequent headache and grumpy outlook? My willpower is strong, I believe, but it’s Friday nights where my mettle will be tested. And how the hell will I survive the holidays?

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