Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why Not Give It Up?

Running, that is.  I said this to my husband the other day:  "I might just have to give it up."  He looked at me like I was smoking crack.  "You can't give up running," he said to me.  "It's part of who you are."

But my hip.  My knee.  And the muscles between are killing me.  I had taken a hiatus from running a little over a week ago to recover from the pain.  Actual pain - not just muscle achiness from running and working out.  Not the kind of second-day sore that makes you realize that you did an awesome workout.  No.  This was actual pain.  The kind of pain that reminds you that you're not 18 years old any more, and that all of that pounding of pavement will catch up with you, and your knees, eventually.  Eventually, of course, being right now.

I fretted.  I frowned.  I stomped around the house a bit.  And I ate.  It's hard realizing how easy it is to fall back into the old bad habits of wallowing in chocolate and cookies to ease my troubled thoughts.  If I couldn't run, what would I do?

"Well, maybe you're just not the 1/2 Marathon kinda runner any more.  Maybe you need to be better to yourself and cut down the mileage and be a 5K kinda runner.  You love running.  It's part of who you are, and it shouldn't matter how far you run, so long as you run.  You run simply because you love to run."  That's the fab hubby again.  Being way too fabulous.  He's such a know-it-all I thought. And I was grumpy all day with him for being so right about it.

"Willpower is a Muscle," he said to me.  I thought I might scream.  Where was MY willpower?  Where was my "THIS IS NOT THE POINT THAT I QUIT" that I so breezily wrote about just a few weeks ago?

"You haven't even taken the two weeks off that you said you would."  Dude.  My husband is driving me nuts.  If he says one more that that is absolutely-spot-on-right, my head will explode off my shoulders.  "You need to stretch, you need to ease into it, you need to run the treadmill and terrain that causes less pain.  More elliptical, more stretching, elevate it, and take some ibuprofen.  Oh, and stop whining."


He's right.  I avoid looking him in the eyes.  I don't want to be the type that quits when it gets hard.  I do love running, but it's time to reevaluate how I run.  How much I run.  How far I run.  And all the things I need to do to be able to run.  I used to be able to just slip on the shoes and run out the door.  Stretching? Non-existant.  5 Miles, 10 miles.  It didn't matter.  I'd just go run it.  But I can't do that anymore.

"You run. Run until you can't run anymore, but you can't quit.  You're a runner."  There's a reason I've been married to this man for over 13 years. Sometimes, I think he knows me better than I know myself.

It's been just a bit over a year since he last had to give me a kick in the butt to run.  He always knows exactly what to say.

So here I am.  At a crossroads.  Fighting for my running survival.  If you're a runner, you understand.  You love it, you crave it, you need it.  There will be a point in my life where I will no longer be able to run --- next year? Five years from now?  Twenty years from now?  This, I don't know.  But I do know in my heart that right now is not the time.

At Jason's urging, we ran - choosing the kids' school track for it's nice, spongy kindness. I hit two miles before the pain started.  True pain.  Not just burning lungs, not lactic-acidy arms and legs.  But, true, shooting pain.  But I didn't just quit.  I DID however stop running and stretch.  I gave myself the time I needed to take care of the issue.  And you know what?  Six minutes.  That's what it took to walk it off, to do the stretches I needed to do to care for the hip/knee pain.  And then I started back up, slowing my pace, concentrating on my stride.  One more mile to that 5K point.  And then I stretched some more.  The hubby checked up on me and encouraged me, despite the fact that I'd been a raving psychopath to him the preceding two days.

The next day, I hopped on the elliptical and concentrated on the stride.  Working that knee and hip - stretching it out.  Wishing I could run, but knowing I had to care for the injury.  I did some free weights, and focused on some exercises specifically geared toward my injury.

I have so far to go, so much more to do - because this injury isn't over. It may take weeks, even months to fully heal.  And I may have recurring issues where I need to slow down, back up, and care for the hip/knee again.  But I DO know how to manage it and to treat myself right.  And I also know, that if I don't care for it right, it won't improve, whether I run or not.

 Looking back, I realize I was wallowing in the fact that I just wanted it to be better.  And I wanted it to be better right now.  That I was looking for the easy answer.  Give up running.

Thankfully, I have a fab hubby to put my head back on right.  He knew that this wasn't the answer.  And he kept after me until I realized it wasn't the answer, either.

What an idiot I've been.  Now, I don't know if I'll ever do a Half Marathon again.  I truly hope that I will.  But what I do know is that I can be a 5K/10K kinda runner. I can be a 2-mile kind of runner.  Because I am a runner.

This is not the point where I quit.


  1. Your husband sounds AWESOME! Just like YOU! So proud of you for figuring out how to keep going. Loved reading this post - so inspiring. I totally would have been like you - all or nothing.

    *But really, 5ks are kinda cool, in my opinion!!!

  2. No, you don't want to quit, but you don't want to end up with bad knees either...cause we need to be able to run 5Ks together! Slowing it down won't hurt because you are still being active...it's when you just quit everything that you are giving up...and you aren't!

  3. Thank you ladies! It's always good to put this kind of stuff in perspective. Eyes on the prize --- being able to run without pain! And enjoying a good 5K with friends. :-)

  4. Hi Heather! Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. I'm glad to have found yours too and have been enjoying reading about your stories of traveling, running and parenting.

    (by the way, strange but I tried to leave a comment here yesterday and it didn't let me for some reason. Hopefully this one works!)

    As for the injury, sorry to hear about that. What is the injury by the way? IT band syndrome? Is it something that will heal with therapy? It's so frustrating when you feel your body is holding you back and especially when you enjoy running so much. I injured my knee a few weeks ago (tore the cartilage) and was upset when the doc told me it probably wasn't a good idea I keep running. I'm not convinced I won't though.

    1. You got it - IT band syndrome. Must stretch and give myself more time for recovery. I'm just not a very patient person. I told myself I'd take 2 weeks off from running - I made it just about a week! TIme and consistency. I think that probably key to most things in life.

      I'm sorry to hear about your knee - torn cartilage is a tough recovery! Here's hoping you'll heal quickly with no recurrent issues.

      I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!