Thursday, 15 October 2015

Filling the void

Children love building towers of blocks. Some of them enjoy looking at them for a couple of seconds and then swiftly knocking them over. They find that hilarious. The power to construct something only to tear it down makes them drunk with excitement. As they get older, they start wanting to save what they've created. Savour it. Show everyone, beaming with pride.

By the time kids grow up to become adults, most of them have gotten over the phase when knocking things over is fun. The rest of them? They become demolition men or the main income source for the local shrink. Some of them become runners. I guess.

See, when you are a runner with a long history of injuries and you finally get a long injury-free streak, you don't think ”Hey, maybe I should cherish this injury-free streak and not do anything stupid”. You don't think ”I spent months getting to the great shape I am in today, maybe I should just be happy I am able to run without pain regularly”. No no no. You think ”Gee, I wonder what would happen if I took this here hand and swatted at this great tower of blocks. What if I ran 100K?”

And that's what I did. I took a big swing at my poor old defenseless tower of blocks. Good thing I am a runner and not the main income source for the local shrink or I'd be seriously broke and/or in jail.

Unlike the child that never grew up to appreciate the work it took to build the tower of blocks, I found no joy in destroying what I had built. I had succeeded in my goal to run 100km, yes. But now I was injured again. And that's no fun!

My chiropractor set my foot bones back in their right place and the pain faded away. Only to be replaced by pain in my hip instead.

I took all this in my stride. I rested for 3 weeks. I found new hobbies. Strangely coinciding with the fact that I had decided to work part-time and have Thursdays off, an avalanche of new extracurricular responsibilities landed on my lap to fill this new void in my life. Weekends were busy with family and friends, both old and new. I didn't miss running.

What scared me most about this was how it wasn't scary at all. I was okay with reading for hours on end. I felt great working on a crocheted throw. I had a blast going to the movies and trying to stop myself from eating all the popcorn before the film started. And I guess it was kind of entertaining trying to stave off that drunk guy who said my hair looked like ”falling stars” at the bar the other night. He wasn't referring to hair loss. I think.

All of this was great. This was who I was. A creative woman who loves reading and watching films. I had time to pursue my hobbies, hobbies that I had neglected what with spending all my free time either running or too tired to move.


But there was one crucial puzzle piece missing. I did not feel entirely like myself. I grew increasingly restless. My body was stiff and ached, suddenly in a state of disrepair and neglect. My thought patterns were altered. For example, I briefly considered switching to shorter distances next running season. Fortunately, this was only a momentary lapse of sanity and not, like I feared at first, the result of a forgotten blow to the head from the fall I took in the woods a few months ago.

I started jogging again. Apprehensive and loathing running because it held the possibility that my hip would act up, I tentatively began building a new tower of blocks. The first couple of blocks kept tumbling down but I didn't give up. After a few days, they stuck. So I added some more. And then some more. I am up to running 10 km with no more than a niggle in my hip and currently content with the way my tower is shaping up. I do not intend to knock anything over in the foreseeable future, even though I do wish I had more time to devote to my other hobbies. This running lark is taking up so much of my free time already.