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A Runner On The Edge

My body and mind operate normally as long as I don't go more than 3 days between runs.  No_running_sign Last week, I hit my internal "red line" and then pushed the needle past the safe zone - I racked up 5 days with not a single step. This was a very tricky situation.  My runs serve as a release valve to balance the demands of everyday life.  They keep the "junk in my trunk" from builidng up to dangerous levels.  The junk is made up of a little stress, a little clutter of many demands/priorities, and too little time of dreaming/thinking about nothing.  Without my runs, this junk becomes almost toxic and takes a toll on my body and mind. 

By Day 4, I couldn't think straight and certainly wasn't up to do the work that I am paid to do.  My brain was not firing on all pistons.  Just like in Tom mentioned in his post, I needed some running time to get some work done. Between runs, it feels like a bolt in my brain slowly unscrews itself until my neurons are no longer in contact.  I end up with a screw loose.  Everything feels harder and takes longer. My coworkers see that there are no lights on and speak in soft, reassuring tones, use small words, with lots of gestures.  I stare back like an untrained monkey.  If feel a little like Bill's post about being possessed during his taper.

Oh yeah and I am GCRAMBY.  That is a mix between grumpy and crabby - just down right unpleasant.  Poor Tom foolishly tried to enter my office to ask a reasonable question and was met by a beastlike creature resembling me.  I did fire a warning shot to let him and anyone in ear shot now that I am a runner on the edge.   My tiny patience reserve was bone dry, my emphathy to others' problems were exhausted. My gas tank was in serious need of a refill and there isn't a run anywhere in sight.  Marcy and Nancy - I don't know how you you manage without getting in the runs you want.  Rob - you are my hero for getting through weeks and staying positive with your cross training.

On Day 5, a normal trip to the grocery store took 6 hours.  I was dumber than a box of rocks and spent 3 hours wondering through the same aisles because I can't remember why I am there and another 3 hours picking out ingredients for dinner- Do Doritoes and Little Debbie CakeSomeone_is_running_signs fulfill the food pyramid?  All the while becoming GCRAMBY-ier.  Small children moved to the side and hid behind their moms.  Other parents point and whispered and moved swiftly out of my way.   Other runners passed me and silently nod in sympathy, there is nothing sadder than a fellow runner who can't find time to run.

Finally, at the end of Day 6, I couldn't take it anymore.  Those work projects that really needed to be done before I went home - shelved.   The errands for home that should have been done a few days ago - on hold.  At 4:05, I hit the trails for a 4 mile run which is my most theraputic distance.  It's just long enough to get the "junk out of my trunk", return order to my thoughts, and feel like I can breath deep again.  My body was in complete control from the first step.  My mind came along for the ride and was so relieved to be out there wandering aimlessly.  When I was done, it was like someone hit the "re-set" button.   

Whew.  I feel back to normal.  Thank goodness I can run!

Photo of sign by jefka

Photo of sign by zephyrbunny



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Hi Amy - Thanks for the mention. Wish it were for wild and crazy things or amazing and spectacular things, but alas :) If I keep it under 10 miles, I seem to be okay but calling a foot doctor (let's see, you suggested that last week, I think!!).

Mine is more mental stuff about maybe not being able to do the marathon. I am taking one day at a time. I think that was also your advice :D

My advice for you??? Don't go 5 days again! :D


I hear ya!! My arms are bloody stumps. I've been nawing them like crazy. It's been more than 2.5 weeks and I'm dying to get back out. But I guess it's like they say "the best things come to those who wait" Blah.


I'm even worse. It doesn't build up for me. It collapses like a dam breaking. I'm talking about my mood. If I planned to run on Tuesday and Tuesday comes and goes without a run, well, that night I'm pretty grouchy and already annoyed beyond belief. Plus, did I suddenly lose conditioning for not running today? Crazy but that's how it goes. I try and stew in silence but sometimes the Runner's Monster comes out.

Kent A

5 days!?! You have my sympathies, Amy. I started getting the restless legs in a 3 day taper before this past weekend's half marathon. Now, I am trying to workout when to start recovery run. Things just don't seem right in the world if I haven't spent sometime exorcising the demons or doubts of future events. You're not alone in the frustration, but the good news is you know the cure.


I know the feeling. I'm going through it right now. I've been sick the past week and haven't been able to run/move much beyond shuffling to class. And it's been frustrating as all hell. I'm hoping to get back on the wagon this evening.

Bill Carter

What a cool article. You had me, as usual, laughing out loud, but what was even funnier was that this is what happens to all of us runners when we can't run. It freaks us out. I don't know if it is that we need that endorphin fix or we have too much untapped energy, but we do the proverbial Jekyll (sp?) and Hyde. I know. Anyway, I'm glad you hit that reset button before who knows what could have happened. It can get pretty ugly when a runner doesn't run.
It is always nice stopping by for a read.



Great post as usual and thanks for the mention and comments on my site. I think my food pyramid had a grease foundation, tough to make that stand up.


Nancy - I was so excited to hear you had a good run and you were back out there. Those foot docs seem to be a bit of magic - my son is really feeling better after a week. Good luck!

Marcy - I don't want you to chew your arms off! You seem to be handling this break with such style - I was envious all last week! I would be a raving looney tune if this happens again.

Nitmos - The Runners Monster?!? I love that! We are such a docile beast until we aren't allowed to get out and stretch our legs a bit.

Jess- hope you get out there today!

Rob - Grease foundation...ahh...mine is made of cookies - guess that is why it always crumbles.


Ha, you had to go through detox, and the prescribed method was to run! The best detox program in the world!


Im new here. When I haven't run for more than a day, my mom tells me to go for a run, cause I am not a nice person to be around. It gets to the point that after 2 or 3 days, she forces me out the door! Gotta love moms.


First, I completely understand! I just don't like when I can't get the right amount of running in. Dare I say I'd rather have a bad run than not run at all? I think it's true for me, though.

Second, thanks so much for visiting my blog and linking to me! That's great! I'm in the process of a few little updates so I'll linkback ASAP. :)


Tom -
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Love yours and especially the graphic "People who are busier than you are running right now". Makes me think before opting for skipping my run!


Agh! I can sympathize. I am looking forward to my run tonight because it has been days...

I love the "someone busier than you is running right now." True.


Hi Amy,

Trust me: no one wants to be near me if I haven't run in a couple of days. Thank goodness for running - it keeps me sane, too!

Keep on running!

Database Diva

5 days? Did your family go into hiding? I was a lunatic after 3 days last week. I'm glad to hear you got out, and I totally agree that 4 miles is a good distance for clearing out the junk!

2011 football boots

My last 4 pair have been Under Armour shoes that are great shoes too.
However, these have such a better feel to them.

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