You don’t realize how you much running means to you until you can’t.
You don’t realise how little running means to you until you can’t… and life goes on, and you have other things to give it meaning.
When an injury disappears only to allow another, old one, to reappear, perhaps it’s time to stop stubbornly ignoring the need of your body to rest and to heal fully. (The truth is, you’ve passed by the appropriate moments, the way you often walk by acquaintances, pretending not to recognise them. And now the starkness of reality confronts you, you have nothing left to do but to acknowledge it.)
Whatever ‘gap’ it fills, running is ultimately one of the few aspects of a runner’s life that is chosen, and not imposed upon them. Which makes being able to go for a run an incredibly important aspect of how people relate to themselves, and the world around them.
To understand why runners hate injuries, you need to look beyond the physical pain it causes. You need to understand what runners actually get from running. Control, purpose, community. These slightly more intangible aspects make running what it is. So next time you find yourself confronted with an injured runner, have some sympathy. Not just for the pain that they’re in, but try and understand that without running they have lost a little bit of themselves.