Sidelined or Putting Process First?

The running part of my motion practice was seriously moving along — pun intended — and I was increasing speed and distance steadily; and then I got sidelined, not just once, but twice.  First, I broke my butt (aka piriformis syndrome if we want to be technical) running in the hills (more like mountains as far as I’m concerned) of an apple orchard for the Hard Cider Run 5K.  Despite my best efforts at stretching afterward and driving the 2+ hours home with the seat heat on full blast, I could barely drag myself out of the car after I parked in the driveway.  I did a lot of stretching that night and the next day, then went to my running training group the next night figuring I could just push through the discomfort.  Three days later, I was on the massage therapist’s table for a seriously not relaxing  working over that ended with an admonishment to not run until I had a pain-free butt.  So, I took a week off to focus on stretching and foam rolling (ugh – these are so not my favorite activities).  Walking the dogs was the only cardio-like activity I was able to do.  Talk about unsatisfying.

A week later, my butt was so much better that I achieved my best pace ever with my running training group.  The rest of that week went well, but ended with a 3.5 mile run that caused a major flare of posterior tibial tendinitis pain in not one, but BOTH feet. I couldn’t even manage walking slowly without serious pain.  I spent a day wallowing in self-pity and frustration with my traitorous body. I was worried I had a stress fracture, I worried  I was gaining weight and losing muscle tone every second of my involuntary sidelining, and I spiraled into a hopeless feeling my running days — maybe even my walking days (sorry dogs!) — were coming to an end and I would be relegated to unexciting, no swag fitness pursuits like yoga.

Fast forward to the next day; I learned a dear friend has been dealing with significant rehabilitation challenges following a surgery we all thought would have minimal to no side effects.  Just thinking about how hard it would be to relearn basic skills like walking, talking, and using your hands drove home I needed to reconsider my perspective that being sidelined from running was equivalent to a death sentence.  And wasn’t I supposed to be focusing on process and not product?  I’d gradually forgotten about the process in the excitement of the product (in this case increased mileage on my Milestone Pod, 5K medals and swag, increased pace), to my detriment.  I’d like to keep running.  My body isn’t physiologically or anatomically predisposed to running so I’m going to have to  be willing to do some extra work so that I can keep running.  I’m (probably) not going to be an ultra-marathoner, but if I’m willing to do the work I will probably be able to run again.  And if I’m not, it’s not the end of the world.

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