Monday, May 18, 2015

Butterflies and Unicorns

Disclaimer: This is a running blog and while being a runner is a big part of who I am, it’s not all I am so if I sound like a real downer – or worse yet, a whiner – please believe that I’m generally a pretty happy person and my negativity in this post relates only to the current state of my running life and not the rest of my life (which really kinda rocks in all the ways that matter). 

On a recent run, a friend promised butterflies and unicorns at the end of the trail if we were willing to push on just a bit further. It got me thinking, when was the last time I found anything magical while out running?

Well, it’s been a really long time. In fact, it’s been nearly two years since my last good race. And I don’t necessarily define a good race by time or placing. For me, it’s having a solid run where more things go right than wrong.

For too long, I’ve struggled with a variety of injuries and ailments and my running has suffered. My body has suffered. My spirit has suffered.

Is suffering.

The last four months have been particularly hard as I’ve had to deal with a fractured sacrum, a GI parasite, hamstring tendinopathy, anemia and, most recently, a torn meniscus. Nothing debilitating on its own, but the combination has been rough.

With the 2015 world trail championships coming up at the end this month, I’ve had to make the difficult, but necessary decision not to race. To say I’m disappointed barely touches on how I’m feeling. While I’d love nothing more than to compete for Team Canada, my focus right now has to be on getting healthy and running pain free.

My relationship with my body and its image is complicated at best. Self destructive at worst. In yoga, we’re taught to send love to the places that hurt. Like full lotus or pigeon pose, this is a challenge for me. I prefer the tough love approach to pain management: no pain, no gain, etc.  

I exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, take fistfuls of vitamins, stretch and roll daily and go for regular massages and physio treatments. In return, I expect to be fit and strong. When I’m injured, I expect to recover quickly. Only sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Injuries don’t care if you’re frustrated or exasperated with them. They won’t be bribed, coerced or threatened.

Ah, yes. Patience. The virtue I lack. (Probably not the only one.)

Now if my life was a cheesy made-for-TV movie, this is when the turning point would happen. (Or if you’re an Oprah fan, my “Aha!” moment.) I’d realize that what I’ve been doing isn’t working and that I need to make some changes.

Okay, I can roll with that.

Changes…hmmm…let’s see.

No running until my meniscus mends. (4-6 weeks?)

Get my hamstring pain sorted out. Avoid triggers (sitting, bending, hills) and work on pelvic stability and glute strengthening.

Increase my iron intake. I can’t (won’t) eat steak, but I can remember to take a daily supplement. 

No more racing until these three things are achieved. I’m tired of disappointing results and DNFs! The next time I pin on a race number, I want to feel like I’m floating on a cloud with a powerful tailwind pushing me towards the finish line and at the finish line there will be butterflies and unicorns dammit.

And maybe even a double rainbow. Why not? Dream big!

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