This is what I do when I’m not running

So, I’m still not running. Some days my foot feels better, some days it feels the same. I’m beginning to venture back to some activities I’d dropped — I very, very cautiously went to Burn the other day, skipping all the impact cardio, and seemingly emerged without consequence — but running still feels a long time away. My doctor and physical therapist have wildly different opinions of what’s going on and how to treat it, with the end result that I’m getting an MRI on Wednesday and hoping that will give things more direction.

This is the first time I’ve been injured on a multi-week scale since my first triathlon season in 2012, and it’s taught me that becoming a triathlete is the best thing I ever did for myself. Thank goodness I still have swimming and biking; thank goodness I’ve got reasonable ways to do both of those things from my front door now. I’ve actually caught myself thinking, “When I can run again, I’m not sure when I’ll fit it in!” There’s the century ride this weekend; I’m one mouse-click away from signing up for an Alcatraz swim in September; I’m curious to find out if I can make the podium at an aquabike at the end of the month. Setting new goals has kept me reasonably entertained.

That said — I feel completely divorced from whatever identity I once had as a runner. I can’t in any way connect with the version of myself who was training for a marathon six weeks ago. It doesn’t make sense to me that I, relatively recently, ran 20 miles; it honestly doesn’t feel like a thing that happened in my life. When Michaela was in town last week and asked if I was running after our swim, my immediate response was, “I don’t run ever.” I’m not happy about this; it just is. It’s a weirder emotional response that I’ve had before, and I’m not really sure what to make of it.

I’ve been rock climbing again recently, and it’s been wonderful. Of all the times I’ve stepped away from that sport and returned, this time has been the smoothest — maybe because swimming has kept at least some of my climbing muscles in shape, maybe because I finally have my head on straight when it comes to my expectations of myself as a climber. I’m still far from where I was at my best, but I’m climbing at a totally reasonable level with lots of room for improvement. And I have been enjoying the meditative aspect, the fact that when I’m climbing the only thing I can think about is climbing.

In other news, I should be starting to swim with USF Masters soon — the tryout was hilariously simple, to the point that I think the ACTUAL test was about showing up at 6:45 am, but I have some logistical things to wrap up before I can officially join.

Frankly, the most exciting sports-adjacent thing I’ve accomplished recently was organizing all our gels and blocks and sportz foodz. I had mostly stopped using Gu in favor of a combo of Picky Bars, Bonk Breakers, and gummies, but a few recent volunteer gigs landed me literally dozens of packets. And THEN Gu came out with a bunch of flavors that were just catnip to me, like salted watermelon and root beer. So there were little foil packets on basically every flat surface in the house, and our cats were getting aggressive about throwing them onto the floor, and it was just a mess. And now it’s a slightly more organized mess:

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Not pictured: the entire case of vanilla bean Gu I found myself bringing home from something. That’s just going to sit in its own box for a while.

11 thoughts on “This is what I do when I’m not running

  1. Jen says:

    Hope your MRI has some good news! And if not “good,” then I hope you get some clear answers at least!

  2. Diana says:

    Big hugs to you! I identify with the alienation/bewilderment of NOT being able to do something my body previously was able to do. Attention to injuries can be all-consuming and I am so glad there are other amazing challenges and fun things to do besides run right now. I can’t wait to hear more about your Century (!!!) xoxo

  3. Layla says:

    “I don’t run ever.” That is exactly what I’ve been saying for months. I don’t have any magic cures or brilliant observations, but I do know that at some point things will shift. They always do, somehow, someway. In the meantime, know that you’re not alone.
    Meanwhile, REI failed me so much this weekend — no root beer or salted watermelon Gu!

    • kimretta says:

      NO! Did you know there was once an REI-exclusive Gu flavor (cherry something)? I haven’t found any trace of it basically since I found out about it.

  4. clair says:

    I’m hoping the MRI brings some conclusive answers. In the meantime, how’s the root beer Gu?

    • kimretta says:

      Well, it definitely tasted like root beer! Similar to the way a Jelly Belly tastes like root beer. The funny thing is, I think it would have been better if I’d it when it was colder (instead of at like mile 80 of the ride) … kind of like actual root beer!

  5. Linda McPherson says:

    Congrats on your first Century! The ride and the food must have been awesome. Hoping tomorrow’s MRI provides some answers so that you’re “back on your feet” again soon. Good luck! We’ll be thinking about you, wishing you well.

  6. Michaela says:

    Have you tried the peanut butter GU? Omg. Crack.

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