Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It Hurts When I do This ...

Okay, I can't stand it.  My book is live on Amazon and my order won't be here until the end of the month.  I am curious to know what readers think, so ... I am going to share another excerpt.  This time you get the entire story and lesson learned.  Please feel free to comment here or on Facebook.  Feedback is invaluable to us writers.

From The Hard Run: Painful Lessons from a Running Granny

It Hurts When I do This

I am going to venture away from running just a bit. I promise I will get back there before long.

Several years ago (about thirty) I was sitting in a church meeting next to my twelve year-old niece when she nudged me, “Hey Aunt Carol, it hurts when I do this.” I watched as she rolled her ankle so that her foot was at a right angle to her shin. That had to hurt! Of course, my reaction was, “Then stop doing that!”

The activity was obviously weakening her ankle. If she continued to perform the same action, not only would it continue to hurt, but there was a possibility of long term damage and further injury to her ankle.

This is another lesson about my running feet. Who would have known that one could learn so many lessons from her feet? It is an unfortunate fact that runners do not have very attractive feet. It is not a requirement to have ugly feet in order to run it just comes with the territory. Runners get blisters and they lose toenails. Foot funguses occur from running in sweaty shoes and barefoot runners have thick discolored callouses on the bottoms of their feet that protect them from injury. I don’t intend to ever become a barefoot runner. Nail Polish wears off from rubbing in running shoes and socks and it can be difficult to find time for a pedicure that will dry before the next run. My big toes develop callouses on the outer sides that rub against my shoes. These callouses protect me from blisters – to a point. 

On the occasion that I actually run or hike too far, or if I have worn a pair of socks that doesn’t fit or is made of fabric that rubs, my protective callouses can and have developed large blisters beneath the callouses. This is unfortunate because not only will the blisters eventually pop, but I will also lose the protective layer of skin that used to be holding blisters at bay. Then, I will have to be patient as the wound heals and new callouses eventually form.

What did I learn from It Hurts When I Do This?

It is possible to be aware that an activity or habit is hurting and weakening oneself and yet we are often compelled to continue with the destructive behavior.

Let’s talk about binging. There are many things that one might binge upon, such as food, alcohol, harmful drugs, gummy candies (I don’t think these can be categorized as food), shopping/spending, and the like. Perhaps it would be better to call these things addictions, but for this discussion we will focus on binging behavior.

I have an affinity for candy corn. That’s right, the sugary pieces of yellow, orange, and white candies molded to look like a single kernel of corn. In case anyone wonders, I am a country girl. I freeze corn most years and those candies look nothing like a kernel of corn, especially the red, pink, and white ones available during February. I digress. The point is that I love those candies too much. I can purchase a bag in the grocery store, open it in the car, and devour half the bag on the drive home. In my defense, it is a long ride. I bite the candies apart at the color changes and eat them in three pieces, but I can do it really fast! The speed with which I devour this confection exacerbates my problem. I get way ahead of the sugar high and then pay for it when that good feeling wears off. If I happen to be going for a run on the following day, I feel sluggish and tired. It’s probably from the candy corn binge. This might seem harmless. It’s only a problem in October and February, right?

What of those other things that we continue to do that harm us or our loved ones? Where is the danger in a little self-indulgence of drug abuse or activity that harms relationships? If ever we are tempted to claim, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” we might need to take a closer look. When we hurt ourselves, we hurt those who love us. 

Even good things, when done in excess, can become damaging. For example, the provider who spends all of his time at work and neglects his family may not realize the effect his absence has until it is too late. A dieter can rob herself of nutrients and cause long term damage to the body she is attempting to sculpt. Even the writer, or the runner, or the hunter, or the fisherman must find balance while pursuing passions lest she neglect those things most important - her family, her health, her God.

How often do we engage in repeated activities that hurt and weaken us? When we know that we are damaging ourselves yet choose to stay on the same downward path it can only lead to unhappiness. Perhaps there is something you are doing now that is causing hurt to yourself or another. Take time to identify the offense and evaluate the damage it may be inflicting, then determine how you will make a change.
So ... What did you think? Please leave feedback in the comments below or on my Facebook page.
Happy Running!