I've been thinking...
Injured athletes need something to feed their competitive spirit and drive. My new love-by-necessity for the gym machines and rehabilitative activities spawned an idea...
There should be a 'Games' for us.
This is different from the Paralympics. We injured athletes will ostensibly recover from whatever is ailing us. We are not disabled. We're just a bunch of endorphin-deprived, stir-crazy, temporarily-down-on-our-luck, frustrated and hurting individuals who are largely unaccustomed and extremely resistant to training plan revisions, let alone finding ourselves without a race (or tangible goal...something besides 'running pain-free') to look forward to.
We push the limit foolishly, ignoring our bodies' signals because competition feeds us. And if it isn't the competition that feeds us, it is wanting that measuring stick ... that baseline ... that benchmark ... to gauge our improvement. Or maybe it's just compulsion. When we hurt, the tendency is to hurry up the healing process so that we can get back out there. We try too much too soon over and over. It is such a tricky cycle.
But what if...?
What if there were an Alter-G 10K? Or an elliptical 6-hour Distance Challenge? Or a StairMaster 100? An Ellimpics? *note: the word 'limp'...signifying that these Games are for those who limp* We would have the opportunity to feel achievements without reinjuring or risking chronic injury.
Maybe these things already exist. If they do, sign me UP.
It is looking more and more like I will not be running in San Francisco at the end of July. I don't think I can safely get my actual running mileage up high enough that 13.1 will be productive. I would rather give my body the opportunity to be comfortable and strong for Hood To Coast. I have always been much more of a team player than a solo artist, and so saving myself for Nuun's Team Morning and (more importantly) not being in pain is infinitely more appealing to me than risking it all to struggle through a half-marathon.
I've been crushing my cardio workouts and doing lots of climbing. Physically, I feel great...strong and limitless...unless I run. It has been amazing to push the envelope with regard to climbing. The help it provides as I work through some of the most challenging life issues I've ever faced is unparalleled. Having my friend take me to a wall that had me shaking my head the day before as I watched someone else climb it and then announce to me that I was going to do it... in the split-second before a freak out happened, I looked at her and said, "Okay. What's the worst that can happen? I try it, I fall, and you catch me." She smiled and nodded. And I did it.
Challenging my fitness on the machines has been so expanding as well. Last night I arrived at the gym 45 minutes before closing. It had been a emotionally draining, borderline-crushing day, and I knew I needed to do this for me. I had no idea what I was going to be up for. In the past when I experienced inner turmoil *understatement* I have allowed myself to get distracted while working out. When I jumped on the elliptical, a little voice said, "Whatcha got?" I don't really know how I did what I did on that thing, but man, I wish I could do it running. But I can't. I am so grateful that I can do it somewhere.
I left the gym feeling emotionally buoyed and pleasantly, physically spent. The clarity and restoration I got from 39 minutes on the elliptical was akin to the benefits of running. It's time to stop lamenting that I cannot run very much for now and embrace the gifts I have, enjoy the outlets I can utilize, and celebrate what I can do.
I left the gym feeling hopeful. And limitless.