Spending over a year with a spasming hamstring, sore tendon, and aching hip got me thinking. Maybe it's time to figure out a way to stop hurting. I've done my share of RICE, stretching, strengthening, but as those who've experienced injury know, some pains come back, rehab and initial recovery be damned.
This time around, I'm working on my running form, hoping to find biomechanical errors at the root of my protesting legs.
Up first? Stabilize my pelvis to limit the lateral movement in my hips. Up second? Land on my midfoot instead of my heel. What does this all mean? It means I get to focus my mind in a new way. When I'm asking my abs to steady my pelvis (to myself of course, not out loud) I can't spin my head around what's on the plate that day. Hard running always has a way to silence my mind because all attention turns to getting oxygen into my lungs. But focusing on form now lets me turn easy jogs into moving meditation. It's another tool to bring me into the moment, something our dogs model so well. Awakening the moment lies at the heart of seizing the day.
And so I talk to my pelvis.
How's it going so far? Well in only a couple of weeks, the hip-stabilizing has worked like a magic pill. My hip doesn't hurt anymore. I'm half hoping for my usual twinge to come back because, really, did I just spend a year hurting when the answer was so simple? Perhaps battle, force, and will don't always top the podium.
The midsole strike hasn't gone so well. In an attempt to avoid striking the back of my foot, I've swung too far forward and started striking my forefoot. Running on the balls of my feet has awaken all sorts of muscles in my lower legs. While I enjoy the muscle-discovery of funky soreness, this wasn't the plan. The midsole strike is being readjusted.
As one change works and another requires more change, I'm becoming more excited about the process of adjusting my stride. This won't happen overnight. Instead, I get to set goals (figure out a way to run that doesn't hurt), create steps to reach those goals (hello pelvis, hello midfoot), and adjust and zig-zag and enjoy the journey.
We humans struggle to live in the moment, partly because of the gifts of foresight, dreaming, and reflection. As I focus on my running form, I get to watch a process unfold in the present moment, and let a future goal shape the now. It's not about willing myself or struggling to a certain end. It's about adjusting, responding, asking, shaping. . .because missing all the mole holes along the way is a travesty of life.