Bottoming out

August 5th, 2008

Him: Are you really going to quit?
Me: It’s just that in the face of this pain, the only thing that makes me keep going right now is ego.
Him: Isn’t that true of everything?
Me: No, when I do what needs to be done, that’s not ego. I would run 16 miles to go get help if the house was on fire. But when what keeps me going is pride, or shame, or obligation, or obstinance, or the idea that I’m accomplishing something or overcoming something or the fear of letting someone down, that’s ego.
Him: (dejected) I just thought it was a pretty neat thing for you to do.
Me: Like that.


  1. I agree with you. You have nothing to prove, you have already proven. Don’t hurt yourself, take care of your body, it is the only one you have.
    Georgia was right, and listening to her will teach her a good lesson šŸ™‚

    Comment by Mika — August 6, 2008 @ 1:13 am

  2. Smart little chicky you’re raising there. šŸ™‚ It’s hard to know when to quit, but I’d agree health is definitely more important than ego. I had to face this going back to yoga for the first time today. I had to stop myself from trying to “keep up” and just rest when I knew I was hurting myself. Harder than you would think.

    Comment by Shannon — August 6, 2008 @ 1:55 am

  3. Listen to your girl, listen to your body, listen to your heart. Run for the joy, not the goal. Shouldn’t it, despite all its health and meditative benefits, be – at heart – freedom and play?

    Comment by bluelikethesky — August 6, 2008 @ 3:59 am

  4. I am so sorry to hear that you are in such pain! I think I’d go with Georgia’s plan too. Maybe you can still run, but not so intensely or for such long distances?

    Comment by nyjlm — August 6, 2008 @ 4:06 am

  5. Smart girl. She takes after her mother.

    Comment by Kathryn — August 6, 2008 @ 4:46 am

  6. Are you talking about running? Why am I not sure?

    Comment by mapelba — August 6, 2008 @ 5:31 am

  7. Ah yes, and Marta, she is so very astute, gets to the very bottom of it all, without breaking a sweat.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — August 6, 2008 @ 5:54 am

  8. Way to be supportive, Hubs!

    Better to not run 16 miles now and be able to walk 16 miles tomorrow or next week or next year — especially when your daughter has so much life to live.

    Comment by Shawn — August 6, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  9. wise…GG and you. xoxo

    Comment by Wendy — August 6, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  10. I have attended to many a client on my table who suffered the fallout from taxation on the body. They never truly recover. Be easy on yourself. Can you register for the half marathon? Do they have that option? That is what my sister-in-law had to end up doing with the Big Sur Marathon. Good post.

    Comment by Kristin H. — August 6, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  11. Your life is your practice, Chicago or not. Take care of your body.

    Comment by Jena Strong — August 6, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  12. go get yourself aveda’s foot lotion (my favorite) and slather it all over those feet of yours and tell them thanks for a magnificent time. then tell them its now time for a rest.
    i loved this post, karen. thank you.

    Comment by Holly — August 6, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

  13. you always say so much with so little. i love the simplicity and honesty of this post.

    Comment by latisha — August 6, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  14. It is hard to know when to quit. It can take lots of agonize to decide that you have gotten what you need to get out of something, and when things have tipped over into the negative column.

    I second Marta, though. ???

    Comment by Rowena — August 6, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

  15. Rowena, I hear you. When it reaches the stage of agony that’s a pretty strong indicator of what’s involved. Surrender, Dorothy!

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — August 6, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  16. Your goals shouldn’t be a chore. If your body is telling you to stop and you’re dreading the training then why would you do it?

    Comment by THopgood — August 6, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  17. Thanks for the amazing posts. I have not responded in a while but know I really admire your tenacity. In writing, running, living, loving. Quitting is such a good word sometimes. There’s freedom in it. Love you.

    Comment by spielbee — August 7, 2008 @ 4:44 am

  18. I had this same conversation with myself about my own goal to run a marathon. My knees couldn’t take it, it bored me, but . . . I had to force my ego to let it go.

    Comment by Mama Zen — August 10, 2008 @ 2:47 am

  19. Love this. Thanks for the timely and relevant reminder.



    Comment by Lisa — August 10, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  20. It’s great to have so many posts to catch up on after being away. Thanks, Karen.

    Comment by Fiona Robyn — August 14, 2008 @ 9:22 am

  21. I find myself always asking runners what they are running towards, or away from.

    If you’re running because you love running, that’s one thing. But running because you feel you must, that’s something else.

    Comment by donna — August 15, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

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