I’m a Fiend

It’s true. I’m a running fiend. I am sick (again!) and off running. It’s been three days since my last run.

I’m heeding the running wisdom of head cold = run/body aches and cough = don’t run. Since I have a cough, sore throat, body aches, fever, laryngitis, and headache, I have a mixed bag of symptoms. It seemed best to not run. Well, truth be told, I’m so tired I don’t know how I could possibly run. That, and I can’t breathe well when sitting still so running and breathing might be tough. I know my running friends like me, but I doubt they want to carry me home from a run. But I really did think about ignoring the conventional wisdom and going for a run. A little run. A run-ette, just a tiny run…

Maybe I could run. Just a short one. It could be our little secret. A little one would hardly count. I could go just one mile. No one would ever have to know…

Don’t I sound like a fiend? I swear as I’m typing this I’m trying to rationalize going for a run. I know it’s crazy, but I really miss running. This is something you can’t tell your non-running friends. Non-runners don’t understand how I could miss something so much after only three days that I seriously consider sneaking out for a stealth run.

Being a therapist by trade, this begs the question, am I really a running fiend? To be a fiend, I suppose I have to be an addict. The classic CAGE acronym may be useful here. Basically, if you answer yes to the majority of the questions, you have a problem. I have substituted drinking for running.

  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your running? – Hmmm maybe?
  2. Have you ever been Annoyed when people have commented on your running? – Yes! Only if they are run haters, though.
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about your running? – Nope. Well, maybe now and then when I leave work early for a run.
  4. Have you ever had an Eye opener first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover? – Yes
Uh oh. Not looking good. Let’s try another test, a simple signs of addiction test.
  • You’ve built up a run tolerance. You need to use more of the run to experience the same effects you used to attain with smaller amounts. – Yep.
  • You use runs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you go too long without running, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety. – Yep.
  • Your life revolves around running. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about running, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the run’s effects. – Definitely!
  • You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of your running use. – Does it count if all the activities I enjoy are running-related?

It seems clear. I am an addict. An addict who is fiending for a run. My name is Rachel and I’m a runner.


(side note: As a therapist, I feel compelled to note that this post is meant to be silly and is not meant in any way to detract from, or make light of, addiction and the serious consequences of addictions to things other than running. If you answer these questions and find that you, or someone you love, is addicted to alcohol, drugs, or another maladaptive habit, please consult a therapist. You can find a therapist in your area easily on AAMFT.org, or TherapistLocator.com)

11 thoughts on “I’m a Fiend

  1. I haven’t been running as much in the winter because I refuse to buy the requisite wardrobe for our six weeks of cold. I was all set to start back this week. On Monday, I was going to run after my training session, but she worked me so hard that I couldn’t lift my legs. On Tuesday, I was going to run before Zumba, but it was wipers-on-high POURING rain. Today I didn’t have time before Pilates. Tomorrow I have two workouts scheduled, training and Zumba. So now I’m debating whether to run on Friday, my usual day off, or do a double workout on Saturday morning. Decisions, decisions.

    • I’m totally jealous of your warm weather. It’s been decent here, which has been amplifying my fiendish behavior. I would take the off day and see how I feel. I hate to give up my rest days. I’m paranoid about pushing too hard, but that’s just me. Have a great workout!

      • I grew up back east, so I still really appreciate the weather out here (and hope that I always continue to do so), but even when it’s warm in the afternoons, our mornings are still close to freezing, and naturally that’s the time of day when I have time to run. But we’re gradually working our way back up to the 40s at run time, vs. the 20s just a couple of weeks ago. Makes a big difference.

        If the weather is nice, you should go for a walk. I’ve found that just getting outside into the warmer weather helps to take the edge off when I’m not feeling well enough to actually run. Then the nice weather isn’t going to waste!

  2. I’m definitely addicted to running!! It’s a healthy addiction though (is that possible?) I mean it makes me feel good about myself! There are plenty of other addictions that do quite the opposite! Well I actually haven’t run in over a month but I get to run on friday. It’s gonna be hard not to go too far or fast too soon!

  3. My name is Dani and I have a running problem… as proof of that, I should confess that as I read the start of your post, I wanted to tell you that I often run through colds. I go slowly, but I find it helps break up the congestion. Maybe having a fever should be the deciding factor.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    • I totally would run if I just had a cold. But Monday and Tuesday I had the whole fever/aches thing, so I figured running might be a bad idea. Today it feels more cold-like, so I think I will try a short run and see how it goes. I haven’t taken 4 days off that I can remember, so that worries me.

  4. I run through sickness too, even during the Boston winters. People think I’m crazy, but the running often makes me feel much better. I don’t expect it to be good or a personal best of any kind, but getting out of my sickly apartment and getting my lungs going on the fresh air really does wonders. A little nausea or a stop for rest is much better than the antsy, frustrating runner’s withdrawal I’d otherwise be going through.

    Good Luck!

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