Thursday, March 19, 2009

Running Junkie

At work, I have been inundated with paperwork, which we actually do on the computer but still call paperwork for some reason. Every day there are more patients to see and subsequently, more paperwork added to the pile. I'm trying to regain control so yesterday I put in 14 hours straight and had to miss my run because of it. I don't miss many days of running, maybe one or two a month. These missed runs are usually because of work demands or other life crises. Just when these stresses make me need to run the most, they simultaneously prevent me from running.

I know there is no physical benefit, and maybe there is even some harm in running every single day. But I seem to be addicted. Maybe addiction isn't the right word. It can't be a physical addiction. If I was hooked on the chemical and physiological things that happen to my body when I run, the symptoms wouldn't show up so soon after a missed run. It would take 48 to 72 hours to start going through withdrawal, plenty of time to check into a detox center. No, it is definitely a psychological dependency. About a half hour after I realize a run just isn't going to happen on a given day, I start getting irritable and anxious.

While I worked from home late into the night last night, I had trouble focusing and was restless and uneasy. When I went to bed I tossed and turned all night. At about 2AM I pondered getting out of bed and running on the treadmill to help me relax. I should have done it because this morning I cried at work, no kidding, like some sort of girly girl. I was already stressed out and one more curve ball was thrown at me and I just started crying. This is the last thing my co-workers expected from me. Sure, they had seen other sad sacks burst into tears, but never this tough cookie. As they all stared at me in horror, I blurted out, "I didn't get my run in yesterday," much as I have heard other women in this situation blurt out "it's my hormones." Luckily, I usually work from home and don't go into the office very often. I can probably avoid seeing most of these co-workers ever again if I try hard enough.

So what is a women with a running dependency to do? There are always going to be days when I can't get a run in. Is there a 12 step program for this? Is there a sedative I can keep on hand for these rare occasions? Maybe a support group? I don't know what the right answer is, but I do know that I am about to get my running fix and I should feel all better in about an hour and a half.


  1. I 'need' to run as well but I still take 1 day off a week to rest my tired bones. I just don't like it when outside influences (work, etc) dictate when I take a day off..that drives me crazy. Still, I've never gone to work and cried because I couldn't run :-)
    There's no crying in running!

  2. I've seen many-a-women cry at work (including myself) but have never seen a guy cry. Do guys just have a better ability to hold it in? Anyway, whether it's hormones, not being able to get our running fix in, being in touch with our feelings, or just plain old wimpy sensitivity, I think we're lucky to be able to just let it out sometimes. (although, my crying is usually done in a bathroom stall because I don't want to tarnish my tough-cookie image either (like yours was yesterday)).

  3. I think there is surely an addiction involved!!
    I can remember back when my oldest son was in High school, he wanted to run cross country and I thought "how stupid, running three miles through the woods".....Now I run three hours through the woods just for fun ......HMMMNNN