may 2014

The top runners in the world come from a Kenyan tribe called the Kalenjin. While there are probably a number of factors that can be attributed to their awesomeness, the WNYC podcast I was listening to discussed the fact that it is a “pain-embracing society, as opposed to a Western, pain-avoiding one.”

While I do have an affinity for running and can tolerate (not that I particularly embrace) pain, I am far from an elite runner. But doing an extensive yoga-esque session today, I became very mindful of how trying our drills are on our bodies. I mean, it’s great to be able to build up that aggression or allow the adrenaline to help us ignore what hurts. It might just not be the smartest thing to only work at a high intensity all the time!

For the past month, I have been coming to terms with is that it’s no longer enough to tackle my fitness and related issues in a piecemeal approach. It may have worked for short-term training for relatively predictable events like a half-marathon, but it’s not cutting it with the more long-term, concerted effort that I have to apply here.

Last year, I suffered a slipped disc and ended up doing strengthening exercises for a while. Later on, I fractured my wrist (well, I did that more than once). And this year, I’ve come very close to hurting myself again. Definitely had a couple different issues with my IT band or other ligaments in my knee (sharp pain doing front kicks and any lateral movement). Oh, and let’s not forget the more recent shoulder strain that I thought might have been a rotator cuff tear (thank goodness it wasn’t). This list seems to be get longer with each new post.

That’s not a good sign.

With each injury, I recover (or mostly recover) and then try to strengthen & stretch those parts of my body that seem to have failed me. It’s a reactionary approach borne of impatience that I inherited from my dad. I know what I need to do: slow down, invest time in improving flexibility, and give myself time to recover.

Not quite my forte, but that’s where I’m at now–especially if I still want to be doing all this in 20+ years.

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