Sunday, June 1, 2014

Rabbit rabbit run

Someone commented last night that most of my posts are about biking. I know. I love the bike. During yesterday's ride I wondered if the running and swimming could ever be as much fun as the biking. It doesn't feel like training. It's pure fun. 

The running. I'm still struggling with the running. I'm open to the idea that someday I might like it, but today I can't imagine that. I'm thrilled that I'm now running without the debilitating and workout-ending pain of sciatica and plantar fasciitis, but wow, it's still painful. Six miles yesterday left me wondering how on earth I'll do 26 miles only eight weeks from now. I believe I'm going to make it, but wow. Ow ow ow ow ow. My pace is so slow I won't even post it. It feels unnatural and awkward and clumsy. I look at my reflection as I shuffle past the storefronts and I don't like what I see. I feel graceless.

My talented physical therapist, Dave Orsmond in Belfast, is re-training my body and teaching me how to run properly without injury. It's an amazing process, and the body mechanics are fascinating. He's got me doing these stretches and exercises on upside-down Bosu balls with resistance bands and medicine balls that generate all kinds of interest at the Y and make me stronger in all the right ways. 

Chris Johnson, a PT in Seattle (and a friend of a friend) whom I follow on Facebook, just wrote this:

Running is nothing more than hopping from one leg to the next in a balanced manner. For something that seems relatively easy a surprisingly large number of runners get injured...Most triathletes would be surprised to hear that the cornerstone of successful running starts with a very simple movement they've been doing since childhood: marching. Having to stabilize the body in a wobble-free and upright manner, highlighted by the marching drill, comes in very handy in long-course triathlon.

Check out his article with marching drills and demonstration videos on the Ironman wesbite.

I do these exercises, these drills, I take rest periods, I keep my runs slow and mindful, I do more exercises. It's incremental work, and I want to do more, go faster, push harder, get better faster. The problem is that rushing the process will only impede my progress. So it's incremental work on another level too, a reminder that I am exactly in the right place at this moment, an exercise in accepting what is. It's physical mindfulness therapy. It's hard.

While I'm writing this, I'm listening to Natalie Merchant on World Cafe, and David Dye just asked her about the inspiration for her new song Giving up Everything. Her answer cuts right to my point:

My frustration with my inability to be in the moment, inability to accept the circumstances I was in gracefully, and to sort of learn to embrace what is, instead of constantly being obsessed with what I would like there to be. Amen? Do I hear an amen? And also, just not being a practitioner of being any spiritual path, so it's kind  of being out there in the wilderness by yourself, so I decided to write my own mantra, I guess.

And I suddenly realize: I choose how gracefully I run. My physical ability has nothing to do with it. Perfect grace awaits me patiently, and all I have to do is simply accept how I run, right here, right now.


Run: 61 minutes

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