Health & Fitness.

The Pain From Running Is Way Cooler Than The Pain From Cleaning Your House

Sometimes I worry that I make running look too easy. Not because I’m gracefully winning all of the races I run, but because I rarely talk about any of the sucky parts.

And listen…the sucky parts are there.

I’ve mentioned several times about the lost causes that are my toenails. I currently have three “little” toenails that are in various stages of re-growth, which is actually much prettier than the one big toe that is black. The sucky part about that big toenail is that it had FINALLY fallen off, clearing way for the new toenail, when I ran the Cotton Row 10K, which turned it black again. I’ve run that course 20 times, not a problem, aside from the first time I ran it, which gave me the original black toenail. I think that my toes just hate that race.

(Sidenote: I’m the only one in my running group with extreme toenail problems. This does not plague all runners! The shape of your foot just makes you more or less prone to them.)

Right now, I’m dealing with the negative side of losing flexibility. My muscles are in recovery mode so often now that the only time I’m really loose and agile is about 3 miles into a long run. My calves are always tight lately…this morning even to the point of being painful. My hamstrings get like that too – just a general tightness that is painful in every day activities.

Sometimes my knee hurts, I often twist my ankles. My hips twinge and I still get the periodic shin splint. Some of it I can treat and make it better, some of it I just ignore until it goes away.

The thing is…the reason why I don’t talk about that stuff too much…is it all pales in comparison to the general aches and pains of my daily life before I started exercising.

We bought this house 2-3 months before I started bootcamp. This house has about 15 stairs leading just to the front door. And then there’s more stairs leading up to the main living room and the kid’s rooms. It only took about a week living here before every joint in my body started hurting relentlessly. I started developing back problems and they progressed so quickly I almost had to seek professional help. I could barely move sometimes, it was really killing me. I started getting anxiety attacks at the thought that we bought our “forever home” and I was already wanting to get out of it.

But then…a funny thing happened. Months into getting fit it hit me: I don’t hurt anymore. Sure…I felt pains after a good workout or a long run, but those general I’m-Getting-Old that we all get and those I-Live-In-A-House-With-Three-Stories-Worth-Of-Stairs pains that some of us get? Those pains were gone.

So, yes. I’m training for a 50-mile race right now and doing boot camp at least 3 times a week. My left calf hurts so bad I don’t like walking. I got poison ivy from a run last week and it’s making me want to amputate my leg. My big toe hurts like a Mother Trucker. But in the end? It’s all still way better than getting up in the morning and thinking, I hurt just because I walked up stairs yesterday. Or my back is killing me because I painted that room. Or my shoulders hurt from the weed-eater. Those general living pains that we get as we get older? Have subsided. They cleared the way for the pains of working out and training for races. And I’m okay with those pains. I don’t feel the need to whine about those as much because they’re more like badges of honor.

My left calf hurts because I cut 30 seconds off my 3-mile cross country run last night. Which is way cooler than, My back hurts because I had to carry groceries up my stairs yesterday.

11 thoughts on “The Pain From Running Is Way Cooler Than The Pain From Cleaning Your House”

  1. This is something we talked about when you were here, but it remains true in my head. I’m old. Things are going to hurt one way or another. I’d MUCH rather it be because I’m beating them into submission (per se) than because I’m too old/fat/shapeless to function properly in my everyday life.

  2. My husband started running in January, and has all sorts of aches and pains from it, but still loves it all the same. His experience, and reading about yours, have absolutely been inspiring. Last night I learned the hard way that trail running is probably not for me (yet) when I sprained my ankle on a root, but I am babying it as much as possible so I can get out there and start running again ASAP.

  3. I couldn’t agree with this more. A runner friend of mind said “would you rather be injured or sick?” I think that’s a good way of looking at it. Sure running is going to cause some aches and pains and occassional injuries. But I’d rather deal with that than a heart attack or stroke or cancer or any of the other ailments a sedentary lifestyle give you.

  4. I love it when you write posts like this! I’ve only just started running but I know exactly what you mean. I’d much rather ache from running than because I sat around all day.

  5. My throbbing knee likes this post. CrossFit hurt me this morning, but at least it’s not pain from picking up my toddler.

  6. Do you have The Stick? You neeeed The Stick. I am serious. This thing will roll the tightness and knots out of your muscles like nothing else. It definitely hurts so good. Lots of running stores have them, or you can order one on Amazon. I really like it for my calves and hip flexors. I also (a) don’t stretch before I run; and (b) when I’m in shape and running long, I also don’t feel loose or warmed up until after 3 miles. I feel a lot better just stretching afterwards, when my muscles are loose, and I try to roll out the knots with The Stick as needed.

  7. Have you ever looked into yoga or pilates?? They involve a lot of core work and, even better, stretching. I am 39 and doing maintenance runs until I start training in September for the WDW Goofy Challenge in January, and I know that unless I commit to a class I will never get around to doing the stretching on my own. And, as hokey as it sounds, doing the moves and focusing on your breathing, etc. really helps me with my running. Just something to think about………

  8. An alternative to the stick (which may be cheaper) or to the foam rollers is to get a round foam water gun from Target. They’re around $10, have a metal piece in them, and can roll all over (or you can you can put it down and roll over it). It is beyond awesome.

    At the last Olympics, the older female swimmer had 2 people who would stretch her for several hours per day. If I ever get a windfall, I’m going to hire a team to do that.

    I have a toe that I damaged a few years back by trimming too short. It doesn’t turn black, but gets gnarly before the nail pops off and a beautiful undamaged one is in it’s place.

    You’re doing great!

  9. We have TWO. A big one and a travel-sized one! Donnie swears by them so I’ve been trying to use it during this recent bought of pain!

  10. I have a Runner’s Yogo video I like to do that’s On Demand – I need to do it more often! It focuses on stretching running muscles. I do a lot of strength trainign with my boot camp which I think helps!

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