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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Giving Up Running For Lent


An empty running log is a lonely running log.

I'm giving up running for Lent this year. I'm starting Lent early too.

OK, so this might be the result of an aforementioned running injury... one that I have been neglecting since October... and one that probably resulted from coming back too quickly from a marathon...

But let's not get bogged down in these pesky details. #PostTruth

I'm not running right now and it is completely my decision to do so.



I am trying to remain positive about my--er, um--Lenten challenge. After all, I have benefited in the past from small acts of self-denial.

A few years ago, my kids and I decided to give up "brown food" for Lent. By "brown food," I mean anything that requires a deep fryer for preparation. So french fries and all similar bits of deep fried awesomeness.

The experience ended up being far less difficult than I had expected. Brown food generally looks great on a plate. But the immediate feelings of remorse and regret that follow confirm that whatever pleasure derives from these bundles of grease is temporary if that.

Indeed, the Lenten fast from brown foods was less about "giving up," and more about "liberating" myself from something that ultimately leads to gastrointestinal misery.

Giving up running is a different story. Unlike brown food, I have never finished a run and said, "I sure do wish that I hadn't done that." Quite the opposite. Even a "bad run" can be a life-affirming experience.

But all of that is gone for the next few weeks. As you can see, I am working really hard to convince myself that it won't be that bad. After all, injury is inevitable in the life of a runner. Some injuries take longer to heal than others. I was once out of commission for over a year. I came back. I have always come back.

So stuff happens, in running as with life.

It's up to me to manage it, to make sense of it, and to find a way forward. That is what I am trying to do now. Like most runners, I am about as flexible as a piece of wood. And I never do things like work on my core strength. That probably had a lot to do with why I got injured.

During my Lent, then, I will try to regroup, refocus, and remember why I run and why it is important for me and the people around me. With a good foam roller, some nasty core routines, and time,  I am hopeful that my Easter will be celebrated on the roads.

And with any luck, next year I can go back to giving up brown food.

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