I Am Officially A Running Failure

Wow. These are the tightest calves I think I’ve ever seen,” is not what you want to hear when a man is shoving a needle into your calf and then jiggling it around.

Over the last three weeks, I have run a sum total of 2.5 kilometres.

And those were over the weekend in Jasper – it was as far as I could go before the epic pain in my right leg returned. Everything from my low back to my calf just hurt and then I seized.

Medicine Lake, Jasper AB

Luckily I could still hike and enjoy some of the beauty!

After three months of being in a lot, and I mean, A LOT of pain while running, I made an appointment with a physiotherapist recommended by one of the Speedsters.

Arriving at physio, I quickly changed out of my dress and heels and into my workout gear. Then there I nervously sat behind those kinds of curtains you find in an ER room. I was just glad I got my shorts and shirt on before the curtain flew open on its track.

The ambiance of the physio office was more emergent than I preferred.

Nervous about what was going to happen, the feeling of being in an ER room did nothing to calm my internal stress. There were no nice, cushy offices with art on the wall to relax in and I started to feel a bit claustrophobic in my tiny blue, cordoned off area.

A bearded man slid the curtains back and introduced himself while somehow fitting himself, me, the physio table, and a chair in the eight by four foot space.

  • In this very tiny space, I did all the requisite bending, squatting, and stretching.

Then we emerged from the curtained area and I jogged around the office while he watched and judged. It is hard not to try and run like a running superstar would run when someone is watching you. I had to remind myself to run in the way that I always run, the way that would make my sloth ancestors proud.

Bearded Physio Man – So how long have you had this pain?
Idiot Running Donloree – Oh, three months now. It hurts to run. It always hurts to run. One of the speedy women told me that I just need to move through the pain and one day it just stops; my legs just aren’t strong enough yet according to her. But it ALWAYS hurts. A lot. How much is this running thing supposed to hurt?
Bearded Physio Man – It’s not. Not after running for years and years and only going 12 kilometres.
Idiot Running Donloree – So, do I need remedial running lessons?
Bearded Physio Man – You need less pain tolerance. Most people who are in as much pain as you are would last three minutes, not three months.
Idiot Running Donloree – So now what?
Bearded Physio Man – Well, we can do this the extremely painful and fast way, or the painful and slow way. I can stick needles or my hands into your muscles, either way it is going to hurt. It is up to you. How do you prefer to go?
Idiot Running Donloree – Well, I am the kind of woman who goes all the way, umm … not like that, I mean I am not afraid of some pain to get me out of this disaster. And the sooner the better. I will carpe the physio diem!

For the next 20 or so minutes, I let a man who I just met see my lacy green underwear while he poked needles into my arse and made me sweat. 30 needles later and a lot of discussion about my hobbies and traveling adventures while I tried to not yelp in pain as he twanged the needles after sticking them into some of the tightest muscles known to woman kind, I tried to stand up.

Getting off the table was the most Herculean feat I have done in awhile.

I looked at him through the sweat dripping off my brow and asked an important question. “I am pretty ridiculous. This is ridiculous, right?

Slight pause.

You have a lot of potential for change and improvement.

The Bearded Physio Man may have a career in politics after he’s tired of poking needles into people.

Or automotive repair.

Your back is supposed to be the chassis, not the source of the power. Its supposed to transfer the power. You run with your low back, your calves have seized, and your ankles basically don’t have any flexion left. You’ve broken your chassis and lost your source of power.

Once we were done comparing me to a car, we moved onto reviewing all the exercises I should be doing over the next week which are actually more like medieval torture methods than exercises.

So can I start running again?

No. You can bike, you can swim, you can do yoga … no deadlifting, no squats. No running. Next week, we review how to run so as to not have this happen again. In the meantime, pressure point release with that lacrosse ball every other day. It should make you want to cry.

There something to be said for being a strategic failure.

Sometimes you need to give up and just say you can’t and then find another way. Don’t wait until you find yourself paying a man to shove needles into you and compare you to a broken car.


Also? Don’t blindly listen to the super fast, makes everything look easy people.

If you want to die while doing something and it never gets better and only get worse, there is probably something wrong that you need to deal with. Smiling isn’t going to help.

  • No one ever knows what it is like to be you. Ever. No matter how much they have ‘been there‘, they have never been exactly where you are now. 

For now, I am officially banned from running. But I need to pick up the habit again because I have a pesky 20 mile adventure waving at me from May and, as always, the goal is not to die.

Here’s hoping the Grand Canyon doesn’t swallow me whole!

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  1. Grant Dickau says

    Sorry to read about your painful experience I hope it will go away soon. You and your mom need to be sent to some therapy center with sunshine and good massage people. Get well. Dad

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