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Natural Law: Smart Person, Stupid Runner

Rewind to Sunday morning.   Woke up with a bike/run on my to do list and knew I shouldn't do it.   I have trouble with my hip joint going a little out of whack - had this issue for years and know what causes it, how to fix it and what to do and not do when it happens. 

Big on the "not do" list is run.  Because if I run when it hurts - I change my stride.  Idiot_sign Changing my stride causes pain in my knee.  Pain in my knee causes a bigger change in my stride and then forces the hip that isn't quite right to firmly lock into this new uncomfortable place and can only be adjusted by my friendly chiropractor.  But, all that running wisdom aside, my stubborn streak won out over my brains and I went for the bike and run. 

Mistake #1:  I looked like a puppet on a string in the bike ride.  I would try to lean over on my aero bars and pretty soon would pop back up - my back was screaming at me that I was being ridiculous.   

Mistake #2:  Should have cut it short and headed home.   Nope, did all 18 miles. 

Mistake #3:  Back at the trail head, it took me three minutes to get the courage to swing my leg over the bike so I could dismount and run.  Pretty big clue to call it a day - por nada - leaned the bike over and fell off and I went on the run.   

Mistake #4:  A half mile into the run, my brain is chanting, "turn back, turn back, you are goin' pay for this one."  Didn't listen, tuned out all rational thoughts and finished the three miles.

There were so many places that I could make a good choice.  I didn't.

Fast forward to Monday morning.   AAAGGGHH!   Pain, pain and more pain.  By the time I arrived at my chiropractors, my right leg was 2 inches shorter than my left.   Good guy I_am_stupid that he is, Doc patiently started putting me back together so I can do my TRI this weekend.

Super stupid move by me.  Stupendious outrageous illogical decision!  This one is on my long list of stupid running decisions like eating barbeque before a marathon, running with stress fractures, and pulling an all-nighter with a sick baby and still racing.  I am allowed to operate a vehicle and raise kids but yet I can't make logical decisions about when to run and when not too.   As runners we can be a stubborn, pig headed group.  We are smart people but sometimes get a little cuckcoo in the head when it comes to our running.   

Natural Law:  Our passion for running can result in stupid decisions from smart people.

It is a sickness we have.  Running makes us loco in our coconut. We become so excited, so focused, so energized by the act of running that rational decisions become a not-so-important element of the moment.   

The only comfort of my stupidity - outside of many adjustments, ice, and ibuprofen - is knowing that I come upon this affliction of irrational thought naturally - it is a runner thing.    Some of the posts showing this law have included IM Able in her list of how not to do a long run, da Big Leap's recipe for Jelly Legs, and Ian starring as Dr. Stupid.  There is comfort in sharing!

A solution to our problem?  Next time you need to make a decision about if you should be doing this run, this distance, this pace, in this weather....ask yourself what advice you would give to your best running friend.   And then LISTEN to it.  No "ya' but..", "but maybe just a little..."  And then do the right thing.

PS....Thank God for Chiropractors!

Photo of license plate by idiotboy

Photo of idiot sign by eddiemalone


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bill carter

I have to admit that your post put a smile on my face as I knowingly shook my head. I have done the exact same thing so many times. We know better, but we just aren't able to stop ourselves. My wife, who tends to be much smarter and more logical than I, has told me on numerous occasions to forego that one run and not mess up the next five runs. But I never listen. In the future, I suppose that she could hide all my running shoes or ??? Hmmm.... makes me wonder if I would get blisters if I ran barefoot?? Uhhhh. Obviously, there is no hope for me. Great post as always.

Bill (a non-recovering running addict)


Ahhhhh you couldn't have brought this up at a better time. It IS crazy how stubborn we become. Dr has just told no running for 4 weeks. Yet in my head I'm conjuring up ideas "Ok, in 2 weeks I'll at least give it a try" It will be a miracle if I can hold out for a whole 4 weeks LOL I know I'm being stupid and I can't help it LOL


Can I tell you how hard it was to publish this post? I know I am being stupid, but it is hard to admit. Thanks for chiming in and making me feel like I am in good company.

Kent A

How about this piece of idiocy I have done recently. Do a long run the day before, start feeling some pain your shins, and decide you should push yourself through the pain the next day because you want to "loosen up" -- not with an easy recovery run but a tempo run. 3 days off with a good case of shin splints was a reminder enough to me where I fit in the "listen to one's body" intelligence scale. Good post, Amy.


I don't think that there is any other part of our lives where we purposefully abuse ourselves so much. Need to do yard work but it's hot...? it can wait. Gotta clean up the house? Nah... my pinky toe is aching... I'll do it later... But when it comes to our training... Fate be damned! I don't care if (insert offending body part here) falls off! I gotta get 10 miles in today or I'm going to go back to being that useless, flabby, sack of goo I used to be... and I'll never beat that PR... and... and...!!

...limp ...limp.

What would my yard look like if I had this attitude with it...? Eh, who cares? I gotta get my run in... ;)


I am glad your chiro was able to help you out. I haven't been running long but I have done alot of stupid things already. Great post, again.


We all have our flashes of brilliance, don't we?

pat monahan

Maybe we should have a checklist like a pilot has before they take off. Of course, we wouldn't use it and crash anyway.

Good think we're not pilots.

Art Dinkin

First things first, hope your feeling better on back at soon. Next, good luck in the tri this weekend (as I know you will do it despite how you feel).

Now I don't feel bad for skipping a run this week when the day before it just did not feel right.

Oh, Pat. I AM a pilot (although not professionally)!


Hmmm, why do I get the feeling that you're talking directly at me for a reason? Maybe because, I'm too STUBBORN to admit that I have a serious knee problem and try to run anyways!!

Thanks for the post, I needed that. Bonk over the head

bill carter

Hey Amy.

Great luck on your Tri!

I know you will do an awesome job.


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This is the one we did, isn't it??? It's one of my all time favorite runs.

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I salute you for still fulfilling your passion inspite of your condition. However, you have to realize the danger of what you are doing. You cannot sacrifice your health or else you might lose everything.

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