|The last time I ran uninjured, 6 weeks ago. |
Pic: Hilary Matheson
This is not how healing works.
Healing works by listening to your body. By being honest with yourself about what it needs, and giving it that. And by letting go of that incessant drive to propel yourself forward without veering off course: sometimes (and I know this, I really do!), the only way to get to where you want to go is to stop, take stock, and re-route.
|All smiles during Chuckanut 50k. Pic: Glenn Tachiyama|
So, what will it take? I have, according to best guesses from my doctor, physio, and osteopath, iliopsoas muscle strains on both sides, one slightly worse than the other. This injury is seemingly connected in a complex way to the bilateral mastectomy surgery I had 18 months ago, which over time has caused incremental adjustments in my chest muscles and diaphragm, which has resulted in my psoas and hip being constantly pulled. I first felt some hint of these issues in April last year, when I was suddenly plagued with mysterious sciatic/hamstring pain. A week of rehab and rest seemed to do the trick, and I was off and running again - but the internal pulling never went away, and was essentially a ticking time bomb in my body. Eventually, and somewhat unsurprisingly, I threw the whole system completely over the edge by running 100k - and the bomb went off.
A strain first and foremost requires rest - which I have been telling myself I was doing, but in retrospect of course haven't been diligent enough about. Sure, I have been diligent about doing hip stabilizing and core strengthening exercises, and yoga, and hip flexor stretching, and foam rolling...but rest? Not my strong suit. To be fair to myself, my physio kept telling me that going for short runs wasn't going to make it worse, and that a little pain while healing is to be expected - but this week my doctor finally said the words that I dreaded, but desperately needed to hear: no running. No running for 3-4 weeks. Stay diligent with the other stuff, yes. But do. not. run.
|No shortage of trails to power hike around here. |
Pic: Tiff Phillips
A couple days ago I was hiking up a steep hill in Squamish, battling feelings of frustration, doubt, and figuratively wondering where to go from here (apparently I was still in the depression stage of grief...). At that moment, I literally saw an arrow chalked into the ground in front of me, which was left over from last month's Squamish 50 orientation run. Clearly, the universe felt I needed a really obvious sign to remind me of my main goal (side note: we also clearly could really use some rain). I paused, laughed out loud, wiped a tear away, breathed my thanks, and kept climbing. Onward and upward, carefully and mindfully paying attention - and I will reach those highs again.