March 18, 2012

Taking a Detour: Words From a Friend

Words From a Friend

My leg hurts. And frankly it sort of feels like my spirit is a bit bruised too. I can’t run (though I am desperately tempted to try…), and while I am trying to write some new words about the rest of my life, my friend Ted offered to pinch hit for today. Ted is a runner. He is also a physician. He has offered me some great advice over the months since I started this endeavor – and has inspired this blog more than once. The following words are his.

Taking a Detour

For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour

– Mary Kay Ash

When my good friend Jacqueline took a fall in the Austrian Alps temporarily preventing her in her quest to become a runner, she asked me to fill in with a blog or two of my own.  In this case, however, you’re hearing from someone who’s run for over 30 years on a consistent basis. If 30+ years ago you’d have asked me if I would become a runner I would have thought you were crazy, but now I never want to stop until my heart does.

I’ve calculated that I’ve run over 30,000 miles, and I have run three marathons (the last one being Boston a few years ago. I never thought I’d ever do that either, but that’s another story). Along the way, I’ve had my share of injuries, some nagging (like shin splints or a sprained calf muscle), and some more limiting (fractured foot, knee surgery, tibial plateu fracture), so can appreciate my friend’s frustration with her current forced rest.  In my opinion, although she won’t admit it…..she is a runner now. Runners not only run just because they feel like it (see one of her more recent posts), but because they have to. We can allow activities like hiking all over Venice or skiing the Alps to satisfy us for the time, but once those activities are over, we have to run.

The biggest challenge to a runner is what to do with an injury. Lord knows I’m certainly not the best at giving my legs a rest and, like a lot of runners, I’ll tend to push myself when I probably shouldn’t. When I had my knee surgery, I had to remind my orthopedist surgeon colleague to tell me exactly what I can or cannot do, as “you know I’ll run unless you tell me exactly what I can and cannot do.”

So what do I do when I can’t run due to injury? I do my best to let things heal, but I also search for other forms of exercise I can do while my legs heal. Sometimes that’s swimming (boring!), or biking, or even light weights, depending on the injury. Somehow, although that doesn’t provide that “runners high” that I so desire and so long to feel, I struggle through the alternative exercise knowing that I’m keeping myself in shape so I can again “fly” along that trail and feel those endorphins flow through my vessels, putting that smile on my face…

Jacqueline is understandably a bit disappointed at the current injury, but she will get better, and will be back on that beach in no time. In the meantime, being a mom and spending time with her kids and her friends will keep her smiling, and maybe she can find some alternative forms of exercise to get that heart rate up. She doesn’t recognize it, but she is now “a runner” – and runners are either adept at persistence and diligence, or they develop it as they learn to run.

Our host has all those qualities, so she will be back.

In the meantime, Jacqueline, enjoy the rain, the kids and the opportunity that life gives us to take a detour and slow down. Things (and you) will speed up soon enough.


(Thank you, Ted – Jacqueline)



Leave a comment
  1. Christine K.
    March 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Feel better Jacqueline! You will be better in no time

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 19, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      Thank you!