Working Through Injury
Whether you’re a runner, triathlete, yogi, cyclist, or any other type of recreationist (or person), if you’ve ever had an injury that has “sidelined” you, it sucks. There’s no sugar-coating it. It actually doesn’t even have to be an injury, it could be anything you’ve experienced that has interrupted your “flow”, an interruption to something your heart is set on. You’re off of your normal routine. For me, feelings of inadequacy and not being “enough” (i.e. good enough, strong enough, prepared enough, etc.) are first to arise. Some say it’s a blessing in disguise, I am still trying to find the silver lining.
I sit here and write this at 5:30AM, my usual time to be out on my morning runs with the birds. My morning runs that I refer to as my moving meditation. If you follow me on social media or know my personally, it’s obvious I find therapy in that ritual. Just me and nature, actually nothing to do and nowhere to be, but soaking in my natural surroundings. A little over a week ago, I was out on my normal short-ish morning run and very suddenly, my sacroiliac joint (sacrum/low back) was thrown out, and putting any pressure on my left foot since then is generally painful.
I am in the midst of training for the Marine Corps marathon in Washington D.C., one that has been on my list for years. It’s the weekend of my birthday, so I have been waiting in anticipation. On top of that, all the reviews I’ve read of how inspirational the race is, has me buzzing. I struggle right now to use past or present tense to express my feelings of excitement, because I’m over a full week in of no running, and am not sure if I will be able to run my marathon this year. I am still hopeful, but sat out of a 12 mile run last weekend and will very very likely have to forego my 20 mile training run this weekend. There is no higher high for me than crossing the finish line of a race – I can bring tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It is this overwhelming surge of accomplishment and relief and support – all at once. I am a relatively injury prone runner, but I have never had this bad of an injury this close to a big race.
Admittedly I have tried to continue to keep up my exercise and movement still through the last week. My focus of “what can I do?” has morphed slightly into “you can do this!” – i.e. aggressive yoga asana practices, strength training/weight lifting, and spinning. I have never had an injury that wouldn’t allow my body to do the listed practices, ones I usually do anyways to balance my running. Each of these I have tried and felt okay during the movement, but after my body is screaming with pain.
The last few days feelings of defeat have washed over me. If I can’t even practice yoga, can I even stay sane? I am in a yoga teacher training with Rodney Yee this week and what came up first, with full force, as we started our yoga asana practice, was inadequacy, in not bring able to physically practice with the rest of the teachers. My type A personality, the one that keeps me going through long races, is requesting me to persevere, keep pushing, you can do it, it’s just a little pain! The yoga teacher part of me, the one I have worked hard to refine, to balance out the constant push, is requesting me to emphasize my yoga practice “off the mat” – the other 7 limbs of the yoga practice that aren’t asana. Ahimsa (the practice of non-violence to all beings, including ourselves), Satya (truthfulness), Brahmacharya (conservation of energy, my interpretation), Dharana (honing our concentration on one thing, the first step to meditation). etc.
I have been trying to focus on other things that bring me joy – giving to others, taking walks, getting a cold-pressed juice, getting my nails and hair done, taking baths, cooking, but still, every time a runner goes by me, it hurts. I am working through this, sitting with it, trying to slow down enough to observe and listen to my reactions and self-talk. I have been meditating more and been even more introspective, allowing all the emotions to come up, allowing myself to feel bad for me a little bit and let the tears of self-pity and physical pain flow, and allowing a little anger and frustration to bubble up. I have these feelings that “no one understands it”, but when I’m realistic with myself, a lot of people get it – it may not be the exact situation, a running injury preventing regular scheduled training, but something that is halted and not going as planned that our full hearts are in for.
We are all on a journey. We are all worth our own experiences. Unconditional self-love is my ultimate intention. The world will not end if I have to defer my race entry to next year. I am human – I am enough. I am strong. I am not defined by one thing, I am multidimensional. I am love. I am light. I continue to repeat positive mantras to myself until, hopefully :), they begin to soak in. When difficult times arise, you can repeat such positive mantras to yourself too. Actually, please do. 🙂
Until next time,