Ah, the ill runner … it’s when the terror of running envy strikes. And let alone if you’re training for a race – clearly it’s the end of everything.
This is something that all us runners have experienced at one time or another and it sucks. It sucks big time. Knowing I can’t run because I’d be likely to end up flat on my face if I did frustrates the hello out of me.
Now it might not be the sort of envy that immediately pops into mind. I’m never going to be a fast runner. I also think it somewhat unlikely I’ll ever reach the giddy heights of a good for age spot at the London marathon. And I’m fine with this. It makes me happy when fellow runners achieve what they set out to do – whether it’s to get a good for age spot or complete their first ever 5 mile.
My envy is of a different sort. It boils down to how I feel when I can’t run due to illness or injury. I’ll be sitting on the bus to work, watching people run by, and want to be out there doing the same. It’s when my thoughts go into a downward spiral of despair – ‘life isn’t fair…poor me!’ Wallowing in a big quagmire of self-pity!
I know I’m not alone in this. In my undemocratic and hour long Friday night survey on Twitter, 100% of runners get runner envy when they can’t run. 4 people responded so that makes 5 of us. A couple of respondees did mention runner guilt, but I’ll touch on that another time.
So yes, being ill sucks. My head wants to run, but there are times it would be stupid to try. You know it’s a bad idea when your picture of a run ends about 10 steps in, flat on your face. I’m lucky though – it’s just a seasonal bug, nothing serious though bad enough to have to take days of work and where my big activity for the day is a 10 minute walk to the local shops, followed by a nap. And I really do know I’m sick if I have to remind myself to eat!
On the plus side, that I have runner envy is something to embrace. It’s not been a good year of running – one of those where life gets in the way. So I’ve been working on getting my mojo back.
Runner envy is instead something to get excited about. Why? It’s a sign that things on the on up – the return of running mojo and a quietening of the Blerch.
Let the good times roll!
(October 2016/updated June 2017)