Remember yesterday when I said I was taking more than one rest day this week? And how I said it was because I finally lifted any idea of a deadline and realized I wanted to rest? Well, the more I thought about it, the bigger that idea got – bigger, stronger, until it turned into an Important Decision:
I am not exercising again until I am pain-free.
Nothing terrible has happened this week. My pain is not any worse than it has been. But it also isn’t any better. Am I better than I was when I first forced myself to stop running? Absolutely. But not nearly enough after seven weeks – not even close to nearly enough. And I am done.
Every day I wake up, turn and sit to get out of bed and feel that sharp ache go up the back of my leg. I struggle to put my shoes and socks on. I suffer through sitting in the car on my drive to work. I suffer here at work at my desk until my leg decides it’s warmed up and stretched out enough to not hurt in a bent position. I suffer sitting and eating dinner at night and I suffer again when I get back in bed to read and watch TV. I have to hang my leg off the side of the bed or sit bunched up and turned to the side.
Ironically, of course, my leg does not hurt at all when I am walking or running. And my IT band and knee seem to be healing really well. I am grateful for that. It’s all the rest of the associated injuries that happened in mid-March in my lower back/hip/upper leg/sciatic nerve that continue to plague me. Though they don’t hurt while I am exercising, there is no doubt in my mind that my continuing to push myself to exercise is delaying their healing.
And why am I pushing myself? I have no idea. This goes back to another point yesterday about doing things based on what others think. And yes, that’s part of it. But it still all comes back to me.
Recently, I saw a quote from Paulo Coelho that said:
It is not a virtue to suffer. It is not a sin to be happy.
Two sentences that cut right to the heart of me. I’ve been tossing them around in my brain for over a week now. I live in suffering and punishment, in running, in life. And why? To what end? For whose judgment? I don’t know. I don’t have all those answers, but I need to at least try to do better for myself. I don’t deserve this pain and I need to stop behaving as though I do.
So this is it. I will practice the spiritual wisdom I love to preach. Learn the lesson, do the right thing. I will graciously accept that to become stronger and healthier again, I have to listen to my body screaming at me to STOP. Rest. Start over another time.
It’s hard on my childish mind. I am worried I will gain weight. I am worried about how hard it will be on my lungs to go back to the beginning. I am grieving for lost races and for lost ideal springtime running weather.
I am in a great place mentally today. Writing this and talking to Steve about it at the same time, I have nearly been in tears – of joy, not sadness.
I will look ahead with hope and positive thoughts. I remember how much I loved running when I was just starting out, going a few miles at a time and thinking it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. So this is a chance to feel that newness and wonder again. And maybe this time, I will appreciate it all the more.