Food for Thought

I saw my acupuncturist today, who also happens to be my friend and running partner. At the end of our session, she recommended that while I’m off running, I look for other things that feed my soul, because clearly, that’s what I am missing right now without running.

So I gave it some thought. Of course my family feeds my soul, as do my friends. But taking that out of the picture, what other passions do I have beyond running? My writing, yes, to an extent. Reading, cycling, swimming. I like them all–love reading, actually–but do they give me the same food that running does? Nah.

This may make me one-dimensional. It may make me boring. It may mean that something is lacking in my life. But, truth be told, I don’t really feel like it. Probably don’t even care.

When I can run, I have a true passion. It’s my bet that I’m one of the lucky ones out there–I think there are probably lots and lots of people who haven’t found a passion in life like I have. So yes, I’m not feeding my soul very well right now and I’m sad about that. But sooner or later, I will have that food back.

What about you? Do you have food for your soul outside of running?

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  1. Jogging with Fiction says

    I think I have the same problem as you, running really is a passion. I love my husband and my friends, but running makes me feel whole and I think I'm a better wife and friend because I get out there and hit the pavement.

  2. Kate says

    That is some serious food for thought…

    I feel very passionate about running and nothing quite compares to that. However, I do get really wrapped up in reading which can be a good distraction when I am not running. But once again, if I call it a distraction, obviously that means it takes a back seat to running.

    I also love yoga, but again it's not the same. If I had money to travel, that would definitely fuel my passion and I would deeply satisfied. That would be the only thing that could take the place of running for me.

    Does that make us sad? I don't think so, because like you said, many people aren't passionate about ANYTHING, and we have this deep love for running and get so much satisfaction out of it. I think we are blessed, if anything. :)

  3. abbi says

    I'm really wrapped up in the whole running thing right now too and feeling like I've got something going on with the old hip is really frustrating and I can't believe the horrible mood it's put me in. I was thinking earlier that I really shouldn't let it get to me but it does.

  4. Bethany says

    This is a great point and i totally agree with you, as far as needing to fill that void with another passion, or something that makes you feel good about yourself. Hmm, i'm not even sure what i would pick as my non-running passion…
    I saw a story on The Today Show once, ofc it's not your situation but i think the take away message is similar, maybe. There was a woman who had MS. She was using a walker or wheel chair and she was starting to lose motion in her arms. She started giving away roses to people, mainly strangers…she said giving to other people and brightening other people's day made her feel great. After weeks and months of giving away flowers, she stopped using the walker and wheelchair bc she no longer had use for them. Her movements and speech improved.
    Obviously, a completely different story, BUT, giving to others helped her and made her feel whole again. You love running, and we love your blog. You are giving to us, while incorporating your love/passion for running. People learn a great deal from your blog! ok, maybe i'm getting too far off point now…

  5. Jason says

    Running a a part of my lifestyle and I love it. I love talking to people about it, I love doing it, I love recovering from it, I love seeing my stats but it is only a fraction of my passion.

    I love cooking, reading, training and flat out just living. Living is my passion and experiencing everything that comes with living.

    In the end though running is a creative outlet and I love doing it.

  6. Shellyrm ~ just a country runner says

    I have loads of other things I really enjoy doing and people who I snjoy sharing time with but nothing quite fills the spot that running holds for me. That may be a problem if something happened to my ability to run. I have thought about this issue before and think that hiking is a close second. I just pray that I never have to find out what could take running's place!

  7. Dash says

    I'm with you on running, not too many things share that passion for me, but I do love to dicker on the computer, which can waste hours if I have a fun project to work on… new header anyone? :) Hopefully you'll find something that will fill the hole for a little while till you are back consuming what you love again!

  8. Teamarcia says

    I went through this very thing when I was not yet a runner and was much heavier. I thought back to the things that brought me joy as a kid.
    That's how running came up. I also love beads and jewelry making. I took some classes but with little ones beads weren't feasible. But they may be someday soon.
    I also find gardening verrry therapeutic.

  9. Marlene says

    Like you, there are a lot of things in my life that make me happy, but I just don't have the passion for them like I do for running. Sure, I can enjoy other forms of exercise… but I always find myself thinkong of all the ways it will improve my running. If I ever lost running… well, I just don't know what I would do.

    Banner looks better! :)

  10. Paul says

    Hi MsZip,

    This is a really good topic for thought….*extremely* important to think about: there are no guarantees that one will be able to run forever.

    I should say feel the same way you do, when I have an injury it actually messes up my life in a way that I don't like…

    Even though I haven't had major downtime (yet) the few times I haven't been able to run have made me to re-evaluate trying to do PR's so often.

    Instead I want slow down and enjoy the pure act more. All these injuries come from running that last 10% in speed, which is really kinda stupid if you think about it.

    Consider that you drive your car at 54mph or 60 mph and don't notice the difference (10%) But a runner will risk injury peaking for a 9:00 marathon vs 10:00 easy pace.

    Biking and swimming don't have the simple attraction of running to me…not likely to fill the void.

    My grandfather (who lived to be 95+) would go on long long walks (2-3 hours). He never ran a stitch in his life, but he had discovered walking gave him great pleasure. Yolanda (walking diva) and others are an inspiration too. So I think walking/hiking might be my fallback passion. (It's also something my spouse likes to do so I already do it)

    I know a women in her 40's that used to be elite level that now does all her exercise on the elliptical…won't run anymore because if she can't run at elite pace, (she can't anymore because of injuries) then she'd rather not run at all 8( That is really rather sad.

    So..for 2011 I vowed to be happy to run at any pace and to peak only for one or two races per year.

    Keep 'zippin out the blog entries..


  11. C2Iowa says

    I write, draw and cook. I miss running more than anything.

    Here's to you find what you need.

    "We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them."

  12. says

    My therapist has been encouraging me to find something beyond running that will "feed" me, since running isn't the only thing that makes up "Jill", but I seem to have forgotten the other facets of me!

  13. Barbie says

    I guess I am lucky that I love swimming and cycling as much as I do running. Yes, I said it – I love running.I don't seem to have too much emphasis on either one and they all seem to give me the same buzz.

  14. Lesley @ says

    Sure I have other things that fill a hole, but not like running does, and I would definitely have a hole without it. Have you thought about trying to write some articles about running and try to market them to health and running magazines? Or even the health section of the paper?

  15. Mamarunsbarefoot says

    Hmm I used to LOVE taking photo's and painting. Once I started having kids it took a back seat. Running now is my passion. I need to go back to the other parts of me too.

  16. Petraruns says

    This is a REALLY interesting post to me. I spent most of my life – so far – without running – and "only" the past 7 1/2 years has running been in it. It has become HUGELY important to me – and central. But performing well is just a side interest – I like that bit, but could happily live with 10 min/mile 5 mile runs every day. I've realised that. That doesn't mean I won't do what I can to do as well as I can when I can – I WILL! – but more than running Boston or running a PR I love running outside on my own on a frosty morning, waiting for the world to wake up. And one day I might need to walk for that experience. And that will be okay.

    I have other passions. I read – all the time, everywhere. I cook. There is a great deal out there.

  17. Happy Feet 26.2 says

    I am very boring! I run and I read a few running books, that's it. That's my passion. Oh, I blog about running, and I read running blogs. Yes, I'm one dimensional, yes I'm boring, but I am who I am, and I love what I love, and I'm not sorry for that, and I'm too old to change and too old to care, ha ha. :) :) (sadly, my next passion would be food, so I hope I can continue to run – YIKES!)

  18. marathonmaiden says

    i used to not have anything other than running but i've found that good books, winter activities with friends and cooking have slowly started to integrate themselves in my life. definitely a good thing in case i ever need to take time off. last spring when i was injured i didn't know what to do with myself!

  19. Jess @ Blonde Ponytail says

    Geez! You posted a thinker!

    I would say outside of running, I am passionate about helping animals. I have neglected that passion of late though. I felt so fulfilled walking dogs at the shelter–

  20. Katie says

    I haven't run much in 2 weeks. I have now laid in bed and watched soap operas ALL DAY LONG. Currently unemployed and not in school means that basically I have running that is it :( I feel completely one dimensional and when I don't have that one thing in my life it's like cutting off a limb… Major loserville here :( Hoping snow melts soon!


  21. Jim ... 50after40 says

    Nope, I feel like you. I had a really bad day of running, and it bummed me out all morning. Guess I'm not very diverse.

  22. Amanda@runninghood says

    I think running is definitely a passion but it is something that allows me to enjoy my other passions. When I run, I am centered and everything else seems right. When I am running, I feel myself come down to a happy place and I can enjoy my other passions….writing, reading, teaching! I know that running is something that my dad was very passionate about too and so part of running for me is my connection with him…I feel close to him when I run….He died when I was young and he was also in a very serious accident a couple years before he died that kept him from walking or running. He was told he would never again walk let alone run…his passion. I think of how he taught himself to walk and eventually run again before he died and this makes me happy to know he was doing his passion right before he died so he died happy. I hope I will always be able to run. Great post!

  23. Terri says

    You know, I do have things that make me as happy as running does, so I guess that's a plus. But nothing makes me feel as good, physically, as running, so I'm not sure what I'd do if I couldn't run at all. I hope you're feeling stronger soon!

  24. ajh says

    As you know when i wasn't running I did a lot of cycling and that really did feed my soul – except for not racing and of course when cold weather came it didn't work nearly as well as running. I really missed it and you have my complete sympathy.

  25. Adrienne says

    Wow, that's a million dollar question for a lot of us…

    While I am still hungry, I try and catch the crumbs and work with others, volunteering, writing, and even talking about the injury (but not too much). As you will see from my posts, it helped me to write about the experience.

    There is no substitute for running, but I find staying aroudn the game helpful. Hope you get stronger soon:)

  26. Michelle says

    This is a really interesting post to someone like me who's only been running for about 9 months. I had many passions prior to running including cooking, gardening, wine, reading, and pilates. Since I have started running definitely dominates both my time and my energies. The trick will be to find a balance – a challenge as I now try to take on longer distances and my first half!

  27. Big Daddy Diesel says

    I have team mates that are that way, it amazes me, especially one that can see a bird from a 100 yards away on a tree while riding in a paceline at 20 mpgh

  28. Caratunk Girl says

    Running feeds me more than anything else I do. I really am not great at it either – I mean, I am not fast. I would say the other thing that I have found that feeds my soul in the same way as running is standing on top of a mountain – winter or summer…I love to hike and that is one thing that has taken a back seat since I upped my training with HIM/IM stuff. But I get out there in the off season.

  29. Chris K says

    I would recommend you take up golf, but you may hurt someone when you throw your clubs. Hey, you said I could tease you.

  30. Silly Girl Running says

    This week has been hard. I'm not going to lie about that. Injured…again. Running is what feeds my soul. Cycling and swimming just won't give me the same 'high'. So, for the time being, I'll just try to distract myself…

    On the other hand: I feel blessed that running feeds my soul. That I have something that makes me feel 'that way'. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones that can find true joy in putting on her running shoes and heading outside to explore a new trail. Even thinking about that makes me smile. :)

  31. Kenley says

    Outside of running, I play piano. To make my own music is awesome. I also paint and draw and other things. I'm not an expert in English but have thought of writing a book of some sorts at times. I wish you well in our journey outside of running. Take care.

  32. Johann says

    I'm one of few people I know that actually have that passion for my job. I'm a software performance test specialist and I have a true passion for this. Very lucky me! I also have some more hobby like passions. Trains, model trains and breeding tropical fish. I spend many hours doing these as well but I think running is the only one i really miss daily if I don't do it.

    In answer to your question: We were warned about sharks at all the rivers. One river had a shark and crocodile warning. A few others have crocs but not close to the beach. There were floods however and then crocs and hippos sometimes wash out to sea.

  33. J says

    I agree – Running is my passion and I enjoy other things but without running I feel empty and not complete. Its hard to explain to other people who don't understand but running really just completes me. I enjoy reading and being outdoors and other activities but if I don't do them every day I am ok. If I go for more than a day without running, I really miss it.

  34. *~* *~* Tracy says

    Very good post and very timely for me as you, unfortunately, know.

    I feel the same way…there are many, many things I enjoy – my kids, hiking, reading, sleeping (!!), knitting, the list goes on.

    But when standing at the smorgasbord of activities, I want to fill my plate with running and then come back for seconds.

  35. Meg says

    First off, I'm glad you're getting acupuncture for the IT stuff. It helped me so much for both issues.
    A new or different passion? That's something to search for, I don't think it can just come to you.
    I like, no love, gardening.
    Big hugs, hope you are doing better things weekend.

  36. Joanne says

    It's tough having to put a hold on something you love so much but so healthy that you are able to appreciate that you will run again and there are other things in life just as important even though you might not describe them as a "passion".
    Good thoughts.

  37. The Hungry Runner Girl says

    I am the same as you!!! NOTHING compares to running. Sure there are other things in this world that I enjoy and love but running is my number one. You will be back!! I was out two months for my knee recently and it sucked bad but now I can look back and realize I learned a lot from it. You are AMAZING!

  38. funderson says

    Art..sounds hokey..but really I start to suffer if I've not seen some good live music or paintings…photos…something..anything I can get out here in the sticks.

  39. Amanda - RunToTheFinish says

    nothing gives me joy in the way that running does. I do think reading and yoga and traveling feed my soul, but in a different way… at least that's what I told myself during my long injury to keep from going nuts

  40. Molly says

    I get so much from running, but I also get so much from cooking and food (shocker). I love the whole process of it, the shopping, the prep, the meal. It's the yin to my yang : )

  41. Love to Run says

    I am with you on the running feeding my soul. Ask some of my friends and they would say something like "He never shuts up about running" Well, sometimes I do, but it is my passion as I can see it is yours as well. Perhaps you can channel that running passion into other forms of running. Volunteering for a race, coaching kids or friends, starting a race of your won.

    Think about it, you have A LOT to offer!

  42. La Historiadora de Moda says

    I have a passion for running, but I also have a passion for my occupation (both the teaching and research aspect) and for reading and writing in general. I would love to find the time to develop my photography skills more so that I could include that in my hobbies if not among the things I'm passionate about.

  43. Richelle says

    I know where you're coming from. I feel like I don't do life very well when I'm not running (like now). It seems like no other hobbies satisfy me as much as running does. Right now, I'm still able to work out (strength training, yoga and spinning), and I've been spending more time with my family and friends.

  44. ModernMom says

    Oh this is some serious thinking on a Sunday!!
    I am really not a runner, maybe one day:)
    Wanted to tell you how much I love your banner!!

  45. John and Becca says

    Wine and food are my passion, running helps me enjoy those things even more. Man, I hope you heal quickly! I have been reading your blog for at least 7 months and it is clear that you NEED to run. Your passion for running has been an inspiration for me and I thank you. Heal quickly and meanwhile have a glass of wine to pass the time; after all much of life is a waiting game.

  46. Jill says

    I miss running so much. I miss running and feeling good running. I miss running fast and my body just doing what it loves to do best. Every run now feels miserable and difficult and frustrating and it hurts. I keep wondering if it's time to take up knitting!!! Hope you're feeing better after the weekend!!