Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
This year has been fraught with many injuries; or so it seems. I’ve had numerous problems with my lower legs. From Achilles problems to calf strains and right now (yes, right right now) major difficulties with my right distal fibula. Most runners when sustaining injuries have to sit it out – wait until they heal before they can get back up. I’ve heard one friend explain it thus: just when you’re running the pace/distance you want, that’s when the injury happens, then you have to start again. And while there’s some truth to that, it’s not entirely true. The good news about building a strong base is even after years of hiatus, it’s always going to be there. Once your muscles recruit the motor units to allow you to run sustained distances, it’s in your muscle memory. The bone density that develops as a result of running likewise remains with you after years of running abstinence. This doesn’t mean you get to start where you left off from, but it does mean that you’ve got some gold in them thar hills. In running, we’ve all had to dig deep – to change out relationship to pain. We’ve encountered, many times, that moment when we just want to stop yet something in us keeps going. That’s what can make running so therapeutic. Likewise, when a runner is sidelined with an injury, they often complain like they’re going out of their minds. Another friend with whom I was speaking with tonight has been diligently training for a PR in the Long Beach marathon. Suddenly this week, she has a mystery illness and she’s off her feet for weeks. While not a running injury per-se, it is going to prevent her from a much sought after goal. While chatting with this inspirational person it occurred to me – we show just as much resilience in overcoming our injuries as we do in those moments where the pain of the run is intense. We just keep going. The common thread resides with remaining in the moment. Putting one foot in front of the other. The injury can be seen as a hard run but in the inverse. This is where all our might is thrown into not doing anything. What a new level of suffering eh? This time around injury row, I’ve avoided the normal cross training I usually engage in; instead, I’ve taken to meditating. I’ve always correlated running and meditation, so the opportunity to sit and do nothing, but take one breath as it comes shouldn’t be unique. But it’s so hard. That’s the ultimate truth of the injury: it’s hard. When the run gets tough the tough runner digs deep and keeps going – despite what the feelings may cry out for. I don’t know about others, but this injury, I’m looking at is as an exercise in and of itself. A new way of reorienting my self to challenge and pain. I want to run long, so I’m going to take enough time off for this to heal. My commitment to you, the reader, is to use the time off to practice patience – to meditate – to read academic journals in exercise science. While every nerve of my being is screaming, “get out there and run up some damn trails Salonius” I’m digging deep, I’m not quitting, and I’m keeping the steady pace of healing. After all, it’s the other side of the coin isn’t it? To run we must be healthy, and to appreciate health, we must know its adversary. This adversary hasn’t seen the resolve of a long distance runner! I wish everyone a wonderful weekend and much success in whatever side of the coin their run is on!