Sunday, September 16, 2007

growing pains

The weather this weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, high sixties. With weather like that there was no way I could resist running in central park. It is after all one of my most favorite things to do here in the city. Doing so for me ties together the majesty of what this metropolis is about. The skyline, the diversity of people, how at the center of this cement and metal living thing we could just hold a little bit of fresh air.

Today I paid for it. Limped around the house. See, after the sad, sad attempt to run the NYC half a while ago I took some time off from my favorite hobby. But by god I missed it. So I've been picking it back up over the last couple of weeks.

It has felt great. Amazing. Once having burned myself out with all the training for the half I had forgotten the sense of joy I feel with the sport. And so what do I do? Run too many miles. Overindulge in something I had forgotten I even missed. And hurt myself.

Iliotibial band syndrome. The muscle from my hip down the outside of my thigh, wrapping around my knee to the top of my calf. Swollen and painful, not letting me bend my knee or lift my leg. Ouch.

The run yesterday felt so great too. I was in terrific form, moving like the wind. I felt free, alive. Now this.

How is it that I have fallen in love with a sport that innately hurts you? Read any runners magazine, blog, or website and the number one topic is injury. Prevention and recovery. How can we beat ourselves up to improve without breaking. After all, that is what training does, tears muscle fibers so they heal over. Making us stronger. Faster.

Isn't that just what we do in life? We get hurt over and over again as such so that part of us which is vulnerable scars over and is no longer as susceptible to pain or injury. So we are able to work through the past and are better able to enjoy our future.

The key to all of this is twofold. First of all after activity you need time to heal, recover. If you don't let those tears in your fiber scar over you won't be getting any stronger, just will be doing more damage and tearing deeper and longer at an open wound.

Secondly, don't push too hard and tear so much that you cannot heal, causing permanent damage. So hard that you handicap yourself.

So I have to remember to follow these rules. To navigate this path to learn from my past mistakes and allow myself to benefit from them. It would be tragic to lose my runs in central park instead of going faster and reveling in them.

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