Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dealing with jealousy and runner envy

I had a wonderful lunch today with my two best running pals. They wanted to take me out for a birthday/pre-baby lunch. I loved seeing them and catching up with them. We talked about babies and books and life and running. They are training for and running the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, MS in January. It will be one's first marathon and the other's second.

As I sat there and listened to them talk about training plans and fitting long runs in and planning for the next long run, I started to get jealous and full of runner envy! Me, Miss Chatty-McChatty Pants, got all quiet and clammed up. Who was this green-eyed monster rearing it's ugly head? I was upset that I couldn't be out there training with them and sharing the miles and stories. I was upset that I wasn't going to be able to have this experience with them. I felt left out and frustrated. That then lead to feelings of embarrassment and shame. I should be 100% supportive of my friends not bratty because I can't run this race with them. I was dealing with resentment: towards them for running without me and towards this pregnancy for keeping me from something I love: running and training for big races. Ugly, ugly, ugly...

I came home, had a good cry, and meditated/prayed on it. I decided I needed to put on my big girl panties (I hate the word panties but love the saying) and GET OVER IT! No more whiny self-pity indulgences. My friends need my encouragement and support! I need my encouragement and support! So what if I can't be out there logging miles with them right now. What I CAN do is support them and be a part of their training in my own way. Some of the things that I came up with:
  • Compile and text/email them motivational running quotes before their long runs
  • Put together 20 miler care packages (ibuprofen packs, menthol foot cream, carb-loading cookies, etc.)
  • Meet them for coffee after their long runs to be a sounding board about the grueling mileage
  • Meet them at the end of the long runs to run in those last grueling miles with them.
I know I'll be back out there with them in 2012! Working on my 2012 race schedule helps me deal with my runner envy. Knowing I have some great races planned gets me excited and vamped up for postpartum recovery and training. It's my way of encouraging and supporting myself.

How do you deal with runner envy?


Renee said...

While my no running came out of injury not a new baby, dealing with runner envy is hard. I learned how fun it is to support and be social with those friends. I will dedicate miles to you and Baby Z until you get back out there.

Sarah said...

Sorry you're dealing with this, Jen. I've had the awful running envy when I was recovering from a groin pull. I just had to keep my mind grounded and remember that I'm in control of coming back stronger- that is something I can do. You can too and you're going to have an awfully cute little boy as a prize. Good stuff.

Chin up, friend. Love you!!

Momma K gotzt the runs said...

I love, love love this post. I actually have felt it from the other side and holy crud, it hurts. My new break off into Marathons (as opposed to halves or 10ks) has just not been well recieved or supported. I know on one hand its jelousy but on the other hand, thats so silly! Anyone can run a marathon! Just put in the miles, baby! Your post though made me see it from the other side. Thank you.
BTW I have terrible knees too (torn Meniscus, chondrplawhatever, ect)and your ideas have been super helpful and inspirational!

{will run for margaritas} said...

Love this post - thanks for sharing!! I don't think there's an easy way to deal with "runner envy" - but I think it's important that you realized what you were feeling (and took ownership). You have a beautiful little baby on the way (I'm certain a lot of people are envious about that) - and you'll get back to running in NO TIME!! 2012 is going to be awesome for you!!

Katherine said...

Truth--there are some of us out there who would love to be in your situation, with a baby on the way and all. The life of a single gal, I guess. I've experienced a similar feeling to yours thanks to a stress fracture 4 years ago that sidelined me from running for almost a YEAR. At the time, I lived really close to Audubon Park, too, and it just killed me that I couldn't be out there with the rest of the civilized world. You have great things in store for your future (as well as your running post-baby), and I hope you can continue to see the bright side of things!

Jess A @cajunrunnerjess said...

I felt like you were speaking my thoughts when I read this post. I am bummed that I can't run and I know it is for a better purpose. It is better to be careful with my body that go against my doctor's orders and regret it later. It makes me sad but I try to remember that once Baby J comes out, I will be running like crazy. I can see him or her sleeping in the bassinet on side of me while I am on the treadmill. I am missing out on all the 10ks and half marathons but I need to be patient. Thanks for this post. I feel less alone in this.

Sarah said...

I am kind of a sucky runner. I'm slower than a turtle, I am overweight, my gait is painful to watch. I know all this to be true.

When I run a race with anybody - ANYBODY - that I know, I watch them speed off, away from me.

I have to swallow my pride and get over it, but I did have to tell one friend I couldn't train with her anymore. I just couldn't deal with the jealousy, it took away too much of the fun of running.

And that is the bottom line. I deal with runners' envy by reminding myself that I am not competing with anybody but myself, and I can beat me!

You will be back in the game very soon, with a whole new outlook, and I'll watch you from behind if we run in a race together! And at the end, I'll give you a high-five!

Kristen said...

I am totally dealing with runner envy too! It's hard to see everyone talk about their long runs + races on Twitter Saturday mornings - it just makes me want to get out there and REALLY run! Not too much longer and we will both be in training mode again!