Over the last week in the absence of adherence to 'The Plan' I have had more time to be annoyed with my body. I did some research and identified multiple reasons I am in pain, and to put it bluntly, this is all my fault.
Although I have been running for over two years, I forget how much I don't know about things like running form, stretching, and the long list of ways terrain can hurt me. I feel like I should know these things simply because I, like others who find themselves in a body they cannot trust or count on, have become so attuned to the voice of my body; an awareness that comes from living in a shell that for so long I did not have control over.
This week of pain and not running reminded me so much of the months I spent holding my breath, waiting for my body to turn on me. Again (and again, and again...) for so long I feared my insides would light up on scans because things I couldn't feel or control were happening in there. Not to mention all the other smaller betrayals; at the most awkward time my stomach would decide it didn't want to keep food inside, I would spike a fever, accompanied with sweats and chills the night before I had to take a test, rendering me a sleepless zombie. This week, I was reminded of that helplessness. Not being able to run made me feel just like I did when the treatment monster occupied my body, holding me captive.
The longer I felt helpless, the angrier I got, and the angrier I got, the more I felt empowered to take back my body. Not being able to run is not the same as treatment, I can fix my body this time. With a new found motivation to push through, I started reading articles online and I located a book to guide me through the transition from casual runner to half-marathoner. Now I am beginning to learn how much I didn't know.
Armed with knowledge, I see that I have made a step in the right direction, getting new shoes. Now I also have an arsenal of stretches to do after running, and a name for the pain in my knee (Runner's knee...How appropriate!). I learned that I should not stretch before I start off on a run. I need to warm up, then stop and stretch. As I continue to heal my shin splint and this case of runner's knee (who knew?!) ice packs are my new best friend.
I ran today. I took a flatter route that is a road not traveled by cars, allowing me to stay in the flat center of the road. (Running on the left side of the road all the time creates an uneven plane, resulting in pain and injury to the right knee.) I also took it easy, listening to my legs. They were whining, but not screaming for me to stop like the last time I ran. I think my body and I are back on the same team. Maybe we were all along. Maybe I just wasn't listening to my teammate as well as I thought I was. At any rate, I am back on the road. Like I used to say when things were tough, "I am NOT a quitter."
Hope. Love. Run.