notes from the sidelines



My injuries are disproportionate to my running ability. I have a tube of Voltaren in my medicine cabinet, an ice pack in my freezer, and an ever-increasing tab at the physio across the road from work. I may, or may not, have a slight tear in my glute, the physio isn’t sure. It’s her current pet theory but she can’t confirm or deny it with any confidence. It seems you don’t get much for $75 a session these days. I have a Y-shaped strip of black gauze taped to my arse to test the theory. How it will do this I’m not sure, it feels about as supportive as cotton wool. But it did cost an extra $15 on top of Friday’s sessional fee, so it must be magical.

These are the hallmarks of a half marathon runner, not a 5k hobbyist. Every time I knock the Voltaren over while reaching for my toothbrush I feel like a fraud. I run around blocks, not across cities. And the damage (the Voltaren was for a previous injury by the way – a knee inflammation) is not from testing the limits of human endurance, but from going too hard too soon after a few weeks off with the flu. In running as in life, it seems, pacing is a problem for me.

The real revelation though, is how much I miss it. I’ve had running envy before, but knowing there is no quick way back this time is making it worse. I see runners everywhere now – while I’m waddling to the grocery store, on a lunch break,  stuck in traffic – and I stare wistfully at them. I no longer think they’re crazy, these days I want to be them. Well not the mad ones who flail their arms and kick their heels out to the side like they’re in primary school and mocking someone for running “like a girl” (surely all that hapless flailing uses more energy than running properly?) but the ones with perfect posture and compression leggings and fitted tank tops who make it look easy.

I. want. back. in. Surely that burning desire – more than a half-used tube of anti-inflam gel or, you know, actual running ability – makes me a runner… Right?