Saturday, May 19, 2007

Injuries We Don't Hear About

It isn't uncommon for someone to talk about injuries they receive as a runner. Sprains, bruises, stress factures, pulls, tears... you name it, there is a long, long laundry list of injuries to which runners are prone. Often they are accompanied by a sense of anger because the body betrayed you while you were doing something right and healthy.

The ones people don't talk about are even worse and are, in all honesty, far more common: bruised egos, damaged psyches, broken spirits, battered sense of worth, blown self images ... you name it, there is a far longer laundry list of those injuries than the physical ones. Worst of all, these injuries are far more debilitating because you are betraying yourself rather than your body betraying you.

I was thinking about this because I decided to use the treadmill today where it was still raw and rainy out. Surrounded by mirrors everywhere, I started my workout by catching a glimpse of my round body in the mirrors and it was a devestating blow. I almost dressed and slunk home but figured I was there, I was dressed - I needed to just bite the bullet and hop on the treadmill. The woman on the treadmill next to me was running at a faster pace and had that smooth runner's stride rather than my slow shuffle, but I pushed through trying to not look at the reflected image upon reflected image of me bouncing off 360* of mirrors.

The voice on the iPod caught me off guard when it said, ".5 miles completed." It didn't feel like I had been running for six minutes. It felt like I had just started. A couple of songs later, I was again surprised when it said, "1 mile completed." Then I noticed something odd.

Before the reflected image was that of a somewhat dumpy looking middle aged woman but after the slightly robotic distance pronouncement, I started looking good. My shoulders were in a good position - nice and relaxed instead of up around my ears. My stride didn't look so short and shuffly, my back was straight and head held high. Suddenly I began to feel good again. I was glad I had pushed through.

I ran an easy 2.5 miles before taking a "walk break." Now mind you my treadmill walk breaks consist on setting the incline to "15" and the speed at 3.5 - 4 mph and climbing through the break. I lowered back to 1 after 10 minutes and when the voice told me "400 meters to go," I pushed the speed up to a half mile an hour faster than I was running before. I ran that distance just that much faster to show myself I could.

After cooling down (and silly me, I forgot to reset the iPod so my cooldown is mixed in with the run), I headed back to the locker room for a shower and to change up. The reflection didn't look half bad after working out. In the end it was a good run with some interesting thoughts.


Nini said...

Karlsie, can I just say, you've come SO far from when you started about a year ago :)

You are amazing! You should be so proud of yourself. And way to look at the "inner runner" while you were there, you are an awesome machine, like a cat leaping, and every muscle moving with precision, you are a runner, and it's SO COOL!

JOJIT said...

What an awesome post. I believe you are an amazing person and are a strong woman mentally and physically just as you've shown during your workout.

Athena said...

This was a thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I see myself so differently than the mirror shows me, and I am always jarred by the "real picture"--though I don't think the mirror shows what's most important.

GB said...

Great post, Pika. Most of the battle is pushing through the start phase. Once you get going, everything just seems to gel and fall into place, including your psyche! There is something to be said about endorphins affecting your mental outlook. Days like this should just be a reminder that when everything seems crappy, a good run will make it all right!

vegheadjones said...

Great post-- a few miles can make you feel oh so much better.

Good luck on your race this weekend!