Calling an Audible

At one of my previous jobs, I had a co-worker who would say “I’m calling an audible” when he decided to take his lunch early or not to work extra hours. I thought it was a funny way of using a sports term in real life and it stuck with me.

Yesterday I was getting ready for a run after work, had all my gear on, had my car warming up, and stepped outside to a light snow. I took one step out onto the sidewalk, felt how slippery it was from the thin layer of snow covering up the smooth ice underneath, a product of the thaw we’d had earlier in the week, and decided not to run. I turned my car off, changed into my sweatpants, and watched some Frasier reruns instead.

I know that sounds kind of wimpy, but based on the sidewalk conditions I’d seen during my runs earlier in the week, I knew there was no chance of getting through a run without slipping and possibly injuring myself. Last weekend I strained my knee a little bit, not running but by trying to get the pillow I support my hips with out from underneath my husband while he was sleeping, and I didn’t want to take the chance of losing my footing and really hurting it.

Today I went for a run in the same conditions, stopped to take a picture of the Walker Art Center from my view on Groveland Terrace, and before I knew it, my feet were sliding out from underneath me, my face hit the ground, and one of the bows on my glasses had snapped off. I wasn’t even moving! I was just on a bit of an incline in the sidewalk. But an inclined plane is a simple machine, and before I could put my arms out to protect myself, I was on the ground. I don’t really remember what happened because it was so fast, but I must have hit shoulder first because the impact to my head was minimal. I don’t even have a skin injury because my glasses broke so cleanly. I drove home after the run balancing them on my face with the remaining bow and the bridge, and repaired them enough to be usable until I can get an eye exam and a new pair. I’m fine, no headaches or nausea or vision issues. But I felt even more justified in my decision not to run yesterday!

Running culture, at least online running culture, makes it seem like if you’re not out there getting after it every day no matter the conditions, no matter how you feel, no matter what else is going on in your life, you’re weak or you don’t “want it” enough. And sure, maybe that is true. I don’t want it, whatever it might be. Someone who wanted it would have put screws in their shoes or hopped on the treadmill (my treadmill deck is still up from the holidays – we hosted a party and needed the room). What I want is to get outside, stay active, and get a little bit faster and stronger. What I don’t want is for running to make me unhappy, take over my life, or injure me. I’m working on blocking out the #howbaddoyouwantit culture from my life (which is tough sometimes, because it comes from people who I like but have different goals and approaches to running). while trying to put a little of that #notthatbadlyactually energy back out into the world for anyone who needs to hear it.

Tomorrow’s probably going to be more of the same conditions as today, so let’s hope I don’t break something more than my glasses. I can’t use two part epoxy on my ACL.

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