When a Runner is Sidelined

When I first strapped my left foot into the boot, I was told I’d be back for another x-ray in two-and-a-half weeks.


I need to run like I need to breathe.

That plus writing and counseling are the ways I keep myself sane, my emotions in check, and my general anxiety level within the normal bell curve.

So being told I wouldn’t be able to run for two weeks was like telling me I had to live without breathing.

Dramatic much?


But take away this emotional outlet and I will quickly become quite the drama queen.

Fast forward eleven weeks later, and I am still in the boot. Still sidelined from running.

It is the longest I’ve gone without running in fifteen years.

In sticking to my current dramatic self (because while I type this, I’m #stillnotrunning aka #stillnotbreathing) – I honestly cannot believe I survived and lived to tell the five things I learned during the 3 months I went without pounding the pavement.

  1. I truly do love to run. I am that annoying girl who is absolutely addicted to running.
  2. But I learned I am far too addicted to running. Too dependent upon it. My counselor and I both agree it is a healthy way for me to process, think, feel and work through my head; however, I now believe before the boot-of-misery, I had become too obsessed with running Every. Single. Day.
  3. I was the girl who would eat pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Because I would run alllll the time which would (in theory) combat my eating. But… I honestly never felt great. Thanks to my running hiatus, I have transformed my typical eating patterns (but not too drastically! I still love all the food, cupcake, and happy hours) Even though I haven’t been able to rack up running mileage, I have had more energy and less health/digestive issues thanks to my dietary changes. (For inquiring minds – I start most mornings with a Juice Plus protein shake, have cut down to one cup of coffee, take Juice Plus vitamins, have drastically reduced my dairy and sugar intake, and I have completely cut out artificial sweeteners – all things I never would’ve considered doing without my boot!).
  4. There are ways other than running to combat my stress and anxiety. Like, reading a book or playing with and/or snuggling my kiddos. I sometimes stay a little later at school to accomplish my never-ending-teacher-to-do-list. Watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix (Best. Show. Ever).  Journal. Let my guy take me on a date. Meet friends for happy hour. So many things I would’ve delayed, set aside, or put on pause so I could go on my beloved run.
  5. My body is not defined by its ability to run, how often it gets to run, its weight, its muscles and lack of jiggle – my body will also not change that much if I miss a run (or three months of running). I have learned  my body is defined by its ability to wake up each morning to see the sunrise, to read God’s word, to enjoy the happy hours and the cupcakes, to withstand fertility treatments and hormones and so so so many injections of foreign medicines, to grow and birth three (BIG!) babies, to mother those three amazing children (alone!), to show up and give my all to a room full of third graders I absolutely adore. My body is defined by so much more than mileage, weight, lack of cellulite, and loose skin. I have a strong heart that beats, feels, and loves. I have a soul that is courageous, stubborn, and full of hope. I have stretch marks on my hips, stomach, legs that are my badges of honor and reminders my body is resilient, amazing, and will grow, change, adapt, and succeed. This body is mine, and I am proud to live inside of it. I won’t deny the fact this will always be an ongoing struggle for me, a continuous conversation I have with myself; however, my three months sans running have allowed me to appreciate the way my body allows me to live my beautiful, nonstop, exhausting, joyful, hopeful life.

I am a runner, and God-willing, I will always be. But when I get the green light to strap on my running shoes and turn on Jen Hatmaker’s podcast so I can rediscover my running rhythm, I feel confident I will know when to pound the pavement, and when to sideline myself in order to snuggle my trio, hang out with my favorite people, read a book, and eat the cupcake.

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Jessie Peele
Jessie is a happy-hour-loving, cupcake-eating, running-obsessed, reality-tv-addicted single mama, currently living in Carrollton, GA. She was born and raised in Columbia, SC, attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!), and taught elementary school for about ten years in Winston Salem, NC. Life brought her to Carrollton in January of 2014, and after four years in Georgia she's still getting used to living in a small town. Jessie was a stay-at-home mama for 3.5 years, but when life took an unexpected turn, she became a divorced mama who found her way back to the classroom. With three kids in tow (Cameron Kate, 7, Everette, 4, and Brooks, 2), she is now a full-time elementary school teacher and a part-time skincare business owner via Rodan + Fields. In the nooks and crannies of her day, she loves running (bonus if it's WITHOUT the stroller!), binge-watching on Netflix, baking and eating anything sweet, drinking a good craft beer/vodka cocktail/cold margarita, and blogging about all things mama-hood on her blog Cupcakes & Running Shoes: http://cupcakesandrunningshoes.blogspot.com/.