Last post I asked “How do I get over a DNF heartbreak?” after I had to pull out of the Queen City Marathon because of injury. I didn’t get too many responses, though I appreciated the messages I got: that it’s happened to the best of us and I’ll bounce back to run again.
Knowing all that, how do I handle it in the meantime? A Google search for steps to recover from running heartbreak turned up nothing, but there was a LOT of advice on relationship heartbreak. Now here’s something I know a little somethin’ somethin’ about!
I’ve stolen translated their advice in abbreviated form here and adapted it for running, and I am following it to a T:
1. Numb the pain…for approximately seven days (two weeks max, in extreme circumstances). Everyone needs time to hit the wall, overeat, drink themselves silly, and generally self-medicate. Rent Shirley Valentine Spirit of the Marathon with a good friend. Get drunk on box wine. Go to a Saskatchewan Roughriders football game with your son. Lean on your friends, especially those who insist on referring to your ex as F**face running habit as crazy. Make a breakup playlist new workout playlist. Don’t feel guilty about crying yourself to sleep at the side of the road as other runners fly by. Briefly consider sexual reorientation taking up lawn bowling. Get drunk again.
2. Cut the cord. As tempting as it may be to call your ex go straight to the finish line looking for closure, hoping to be friends (i.e. “frexes”) watch everyone else cross the finish line, pretending that medal is really yours, this is not the time to concern yourself with F**face obsessing on why you got injured mere days before the race. Just go home and put that ice pack on your knee.
3. Think negatively about your ex (the race), especially if it helps you manage step 2. Avoid looking back on your relationship training with rose-colored hindsight or beating yourself up about what you did wrong. (Yeah – that course was way too flat anyway. I need more hills …)
4. Git ‘er done. After you’ve broken down, it’s time to rebuild yourself. You have it in you: start that political blog, dust off your bicycle, take that fiction writing class get thee to your physiotherapist and DO THOSE STRETCHES THEY GIVE YOU DAMMIT— after all, you’re more than someone’s other half just another injured runner.
5. Give back to the community. Nothing like volunteering at the local orphanage a marathon in your community, or raising money for a good cause to put your heartache in perspective.
6. Give yourself a “breakover.” If revenge is on your mind — and we know it is — get back at your ex injury by getting in the best shape of your life, getting the best haircut of your life, getting the laser hair removal you’ve always wanted …. (or at least a pedicure!)
7. Mark the occasion of moving on. Have a breakup DNF party with all your friends. Burn his effigy your race bib.
8. Go shopping! It may sound a little Tri-Delt, but retail therapy can work by temporarily filling up that void inside you just long enough to get you through the next day. (W00t!: I’m getting new trail running shoes!)
9. Go on the rebound. Take up cycling, swimming and pool running for a while. We know you’re not here yet, but don’t underestimate the benefits of distracting yourself with the joys of being single cross-training so that you won’t be tempted to indulge in any late-night Googling “I’ll-just-try-an-easy-one” runs or other spying on your ex 5K races.
10. Think positively. This is not the death of sex and love running long distance. This is the beginning. Say it again: This is the beginning! Now sing it: “I will survive!” Because you will survive. And you will metabolize race again. Remember, dating injury is your chance to find better sex and truer love cross-training activities and re-learn your love for running. Take comfort in the fact that, with every passing day, as the pain subsides, you’re that much closer to your destiny (BOSTON!).