Runners Create Their Own ‘Possibles’ All the Time: Dude, it’s just a car…get over it, suck it up, and go run

Runners, it is my firm belief, tend to have a different set of ‘possibles.’ More correctly they can set their sights on what a ‘normal’ person would think of as IM-possible, put their head down, get to work and keep plugging away. I also believe runners tend to be more stubborn, grittier, and have a higher pain tolerance than most folk…honestly I think it’s because we’re just so used to suffering with running everything else in our mind gets a little skewed. “What, that blister takes up nearly my entire arch, just a minor flesh-wound, Neosporin that sucker and put your running shoes on!” 😉
runners are tougher
I like to make light of my who car accident debacle because I just do that. I poke fun and joke around at things even if logically they aren’t that funny. It’s a coping mechanism probably, I mean it’s much easier to keep moving forward and stay positive if you’re able to laugh at yourself EVEN at your worst.

I don’t like to talk too much about my whole car accident though, mostly because I don’t want people to think I’m ‘working it’ or like I’m bragging. Sure, yes, I’m kinda proud of the fact the doctors were floored when I finally came back to report I could run again; the surgeon was sure I wouldn’t even walk right. BUT, the thing is, runners all around, all the time are constantly doing these sorts of things.

Dick Beardsley has an insanely inspiring story, he was a pivotal person who kept me going and instilled in my mind that I’d run again. I will forever be grateful to him. There’s the stories of the runners who have actual amputations and run with some awesome prosthetics.

Even without crazy accidents runners are ALWAYS redefining what is possible, the proof there are in the record books. Do we not in fact keep shaving those times down lower and lower? Are there not constant debates on if we really will see a woman break such-and-such time, will a man dip below the two hour mark for the marathon?

Runners are always faced with injuries, surgeries, that raise the question if they will ever get back…and then will they get back to the shape they want to be. The thing is, when you have running stripped away from you, brutal as it is, when you look into the ‘possible’ future of what you’re life would be without it, you probably don’t like the picture you see. When you shudder at that picture you often make a pact with yourself, “If I get back to running, in any form, I will not take it for granted.”
woman running
I’ve been there, lots of people have, and I think it are those haunting images of what a life without this running, our little drug of choice, are that keeps us going to redefine ‘possible’ and then create our OWN ‘possibles.’ So even on those crap-tastic runs where we feel anything but on cloud nine, we appreciate them deep down.

Not that anyone should, or has to settle for just running alone. There are still times, PR’s, races, titles, hopes and other goals that can be chased; things that take training, not just running. I love watching and hearing about people creating their own ‘possibles’ there and chasing those goals…but I also know running presents incredible highs and lows. Our sport sort of runs the line like an EKG with all those spikes; heartbreaks on the heels of triumph and vice-a-versa.

Runners can get lost in those lows sometimes and their goals abandoned, the sport can break them; to avoid that takes unwillingness to get stuck in a depressive rut during those lows. Keeping perspective and remembering that a life without running at all, on any level, is not the picture of a future you have envisioned for yourself.

Perspective: Be grateful for the run. When you’re nervous before a hard training run, race, or don’t even want to get out the door…strip it down to the bare bones, the root of it…be grateful for the simple act and remember why you do it. Chuck out the window unnecessary pressure, stresses, or worries, put your head down and get to work on creating your OWN ‘possibles.’

1) Was there ever a time, event, or injury that begged to question if you’d get back to running as your former self?

2) Was there ever a time or injury that seemed to drag on so long you thought it would never end? How did you deal with it?
Day by day, people…only way! 🙂

3) Where is your running, are you running just for the fun and love of it or are you training? What keeps you going and why do you do it, when it’s all stripped down to the bare bones?

4) What is a ‘possible’ you are currently working towards creating for yourself?

5) What is one ‘possible’ that you achieved and are proud of that others thought of as IM-possible?

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24 thoughts on “Runners Create Their Own ‘Possibles’ All the Time: Dude, it’s just a car…get over it, suck it up, and go run

  1. I spent some of last year wondering if I’d ever run more than 5km again. It wasn’t just the injuries, but their failure to respond to anything! In the end I decided to cut the Body Attack class I’d started (one of the Les Mills ones) and see if that helped. It did. I miss Body Attack but I decided I wanted running more!

    • aww, i kno how tough those runner ‘lows’ can be so i’m glad u busted thru that and are back on the running trail!! 🙂 tho i’m sure the Body Attack class was an awesome find…but have to agree running trumps all. 😉

  2. Can i just say how much I admire you for what you’ve come through and your attitude toward everything. You are amazing!! I was in a bad accident a few years ago and had to have facial reconstruction surgery. But at least my legs were ok 😉

    • thank u so much, but i’m so sorry to hear about ur own accident!!! i’m glad that u were able to come thru and still remain positive throughout! 🙂

  3. You absolutely got the injury mentality correct. My calf tear lasted four months. It was awful and I honestly got to the point that I never thought it would heal. I tried to stay positive burble was incredibly frustrating. I couldn’t even read running blogs without feeling hopeless.

  4. I love this blog post :). I struggled with anemia two years ago- really severe (as in, close to the blood transfusion point severe). I had to take 5 weeks off running, but before I was diagnosed, I went from running 10Ks to not being able to run a mile. Well, after recovering, my times got better than ever. I was pretty upset when I couldn’t run, but it motivated me to take care of my body, take my iron supplements, etc. And you’re definitely right- runners are SO much more resilient than so many other people out there!

    • yikes!!! yea, i kno anemia is NO fun either…thankfully once u get those levels back up u feel like a totally different runner. 🙂 i’m so glad u’re now iron infused and kicking butt with the running. 😉

  5. Cait,

    You seem to always hit the right subject at the right time. Your post on rowing machines was a validation my 13 year old wanted. She loves the thing and her running times are coming back from the mono. As for me, 3 years ago I was diagnosed osteoporotic. Stress fractures and such threatened to end my running career. And did for 2 years. A year later and I am back. Competitive again. Runner do see the different possibilities. I call them probabilities. Because the runner has the innate desire to prove nay Sayers wrong. I am back. I am going somewhere. Boston is the final destination. The journey not fully guaranteed yet . Through this rise from the dead my daughter is learning that she too can come back and that Rio or Rome is still possible. Like I told you before my little Harry Potter running princess. You are the girl who lived and are forging your own Order of the Phoenix.

    • awww, u are always much too kind with the words and flattery. 🙂 much appreciated but i’m sorry to hear of ur own bone related angst!! what a remarkable turn-around u’ve achieved too and quite inspiring, my friend. 🙂

      i love that ur daughter is feeling her strength back after that horrible mono…but do tell her that she’s still mighty young and has SO MANY years of awesome running ahead of her, maybe wait a tick on adding the extra rowing, one step at a time baby. 🙂

  6. hmmm. this is a very thought provoking post for me. I think I started struggling after my time off due to injury and interviews/traveling in january because i took everything too seriously…like i had to be back where i had been in december right that instant. which was kind of ridiculous looking back. i think im loving running so much now because if i dont wake up with a smile thinking about my next run…i take a break. im listening to my body more now than ever and i think im having way more fun and way more moments of joy!

    • u were managing SOOO much back thru those traveling days and interviewing, i am in flipping awe of how u came thru and kept on doing all u did!! 🙂 and great point about making the fact that u ENJOY the running paramount, if u make it so stressful u dread it, where is the point in that???

  7. Cait, this was a beautifully written and very heart-felt post. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes it just is about the run. It is just about being grateful for moving, and having the freedom to live dully in our bodies and revel in all that they offer to us. I think I struggle with ghosts from the past, of the girl who couldn’t run yet, and she sometimes drags me down with doubt that I will be able to complete the run that day. But I owe it to her to show her that we are more than that now. I am a runner, and when it comes down to it, the bare bones are that I love to feel my heart race, the sweat bead and drip, and the way my feet slap against the ground. Thanks Cait.

    • how is it that even ur comments are simply poetic prose?? seriously, i can’t wait to read that novel u’re working on! 🙂 thanks for the kind words and i do have to say: BANISH that phantom of girl past from ur mind…or only bring her out when u want to remember how AWESOME u are and how far u’ve come. the Amy of today keeps motoring forward and running like a rockstar, even towing along her cutsie sis too! 🙂

  8. Yes, with my IT band I thought I’d be back after resting for a month — went on for 4 months and I still have some troubles with it now 8 months later (but able to run since March so very thankful for that)! After a while, I just had to take the attidue “ok, today I am here” — if I had a “step back,” I tried not to make too much of it and think, “ok, so I had a bit more pain today and had to stop short, that doesn’t mean I’m back to square one, I will try again tomorrow or the next day and see what happens then.” Similarly, if I had a good day, I tried not to get too excited just so as to keep expectations in check. Just took it one day at a time and took the emotions out of it.

    Right now, running is really just fun for me – I train hard and see how fast I get. I’d love to break 21 min in the 5K, maybe 45 min in the 10K, and 1:45 in the half, but we’ll just have to see how it goes. Medical school may preclude that but maybe it won’t. only time and hard work will tell!

    • oh man, IT band issues STINK!! those blasted tendons are always a beast and cranky, sometimes they just decide to not heal until they are ready!

      but i’m glad u were able to power thru and are now back at it!! those goals are awesome and keep taking it one workout and one mile at a time…consistency is the biggest factor…keep it fun, keep up the speed, and the times will come. 🙂

  9. Well I’m glad you asked! My stress fracture last summer made me wonder if I was going to come back swining and honestly I might have another one whoopie!
    Same way as you; day by day.
    And I both for fun and to train.
    I’m working my way down towards a 24 5k since I just hit 25 5k about 2 weeks ago.
    My marathon I just finished, my family didn’t know if I could do it. But I didn and I proved them wrong so I’m pretty happy.

    • i ALWAYS ask…hehe. ugh, yea stress fractures are the pitts and i HOPE u don’t have another, but u also kno that it’s best to catch it early if it is, so find out….and if it’s bad news know that u can get thru it. hugs! and i’m SUPER proud of ur marathon, girl, u kno that!! and yea, being able to rub it in ur family’s faces is a nice perk. 😉

  10. A “possible” that i want to achieve is breaking 11:00 in the 3200 its a stretch though my PR is 11:50….but i think i can do it 🙂

  11. Cait, I have been rereading all of your injury posts trying to keep myself motivated and positive before I head into surgery later today. I have a Grade 4 femoral neck stress fracture that is in danger of displacing, and now have to have pinning surgery to insert screws into my hip. I am terrified of the surgery, but even worse, terrified that I will never run again. I have a great PT who assures me that if I follow her plan I will run again, but it is going to be a long year ahead. I know in the grand scheme of life, one year of rest and rebuilding without much running at all is really not long, but right now it feels like an eternity. Trying to use you as inspiration to stay strong, positive, and not let myself self-pity too much!

    • HOLD STRONG!!! i hope that surgery went well and YES, reread every word if u must because i promise u…it may take time, but u WILL always be a runner! do ur PT program, stay patient, and trust me, with motivation and perseverance u WILL get thru this! i’m cheering for u!!

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