This post had been in draft for about four weeks.
It was supposed to be my triumphant treatise(ito), outlining my journey from hurt to better (And So Can You!). It is kind of why I often put off sitting with my priest for a catch-up*. I want to stroll in there on some imaginary day and discuss all the faults I used to have.
|Colbert was kidding, as it turns out.|
Anyway, I started running again somewhere near my pre-injury level (weekly miles: 36, 46, 48, 50, 51, 54). Then this week, a minor kerplunk again.
Many of my non-running friends (i.e., more than half the people I know and love), would say "Quit running!" or "CrossFit, dude!" or "Why are you so ugly?"
But, it seems to me that the process of living itself is the process of getting hurt and getting better. We should not run from the things that hurt us, but we also shouldn't pursue them in a way or to a degree that injures us.
A Benedictine monk was asked by a curious outsider what monks do all day.
He replied, "We fall down and then we get up again."
And what do you do the next day?”
"Oh, the next day, we fall down and we get up again."
But the difference between a little fall-down and an injury is the difference between a little mistake and big one that ripples far into my life and my family's.
Injury's a form of burnout.
The runner's body says to her, "Something is wrong, something is deficient, something is weak. And you have been ignoring it for way too long. I'm done." One too many yellow cards.
|Someone will get this.|
More bluntly, The Hobby Jogger has said "Injury is a failure in training."
I like this definition because it directly ties injury to training, rather than characterizing it as some unrelated alien invasion. There is a discussion thread for example on runningahead.com, dedicated to complaining about injuries. The title is "Sucker Punches." Much as I respect those runners, I think the title totally misses the point of injury.
With most injuries -- except for something like having to play on wet grass at Wimbeldon. Come on now! -- an athlete's injured because she did it to herself. More simply, she ignored herself. Or I did not care for herself.
In the biblical injunction, "Love your neighbor as yourself" is the implicit prerequisite that it is right to love yourself.
If I look at my personal failures (e.g., shortness of temper, impatience, unkindness, coldness of heart), I find that they started due to a lack of personal care. For many days, I did not sleep enough, I did not eat well, I did not read edifying material and/or prayers were short or perfunctory.
In running, it is exactly analogous. We are learning more and more that running injuries in the lower legs, for example, are really a result of a weak core (hips, back, glutes, abs).
Much the same, when I keep plowing through day after day without taking care of my emotional and spiritual "core," the normal demands of my work and family become loud and intolerable. I no longer want to understand what my daughter needs, I just want her to shut up.
When I care for myself, I find that they become softer and even become welcome nuances, spices on life. Temptations become smaller and less attractive. The very same things that used to overwhelm me become small and even absurd.________
*What Catholics/Orthodox call "Reconcilliation" or (dun-dun!) "Confession." Well, Orthodox don't have a screen. Same room. He knows who you are