EVERY PAIN HAS A PURPOSE
Leave it to Grey's Anatomy to get me all in my feels following Sunday's 9 miler and leading up to yesterday's chiropractor appointment.
It seems blatantly obvious when you really sit down and think about every painful thing you've gone through in your life up to now. How, without all of it, you wouldn't be the person you are today. But, when you're in that moment of excruciating pain, it' difficult to even fathom what greater purpose that pain in serving. I know even for myself, it's hard to see at times what the point is of a lot of the emotional/physical pain I have gone through so far in 2018. Especially the pain surrounding my decision to sign up for a half marathon and the subsequent pain that has come along with training so far.
When I really look back on my decision to sign up for my first half marathon (which is in September less than 2 months away and YES I AM FREAKING THE FREAK OUT ABOUT IT), it seems sort of crazy that such a major decision like that was motivated by pain. And self-dobut. And, overall, just not feeling like I was good enough. I was at such a weird stage in my life back in February when I first came up with the notion that running a half marathon would be a good idea. All of the possible stressful life changes that one can possibly go through in their early 20s all seemed to be happening at once.
The emotional/psychological pain was REAL.
My best friend had just left for Army bootcamp in January, and wouldn't be back until June. I had also gone through my first break up and felt completely and utterly alone. I was also just 3ish months away from graduating from college, and in the process of applying for jobs/internships. Basically, I was just trying to figure out who I was and what direction I was headed towards in life. There were many sleepless nights and Friday's spent back home praying that if I downed enough alcohol, maybe just maybe, this would all turn out to be a bad dream.
It was in the thick of all this pain, all this I'm going to be forever alone, that I made the decision that I NEEDED to run a half marathon. Running had gotten me through so much stuff in the past. It had me feel whole and like myself again when I wasn't sure where to turn or what to do. So, once I found out that there was going to be a half marathon in during Labor Day weekend in Cedar Rapids (like 40 minutes from my hometown), I knew I had to do it. I also knew, that the training itself (more than the actual race/act of running 13.1 miles) was going to be my perfect coping mechanism. The one sure fire way for me to put the pieces back together and learn to love life again.
So, the thought of having to be sidelined once again due to injury, is what kept me from going back to the chiropractor when I needed it most.
My hip had started acting up while I ran at some point last week, and of course I just took the "pain is weakness leaving the body" perspective on it. I had already been down this road before, the not running due to pain road. And, although the time off may have physically healed me, emotionally, I was a mess. I didn't feel like myself at all, and all I could think about was running. So, I just assumed that the purpose behind this hip pain was to test just how dedicated I was to running and my training. An opportunity to prove to myself (and I guess everyone else?), just how much stronger I had gotten since February.
Thankfully, I have a spectacular chiropractor who understands just how passionate I am about running and how determined I am to run 13.1 miles in September. So, for now at least, my approach to running is *supposed* to be based off of how I feel. Which, is kind of a catch 22 since I somehow seem to thrive off of physical pain more often than not. Since I've heard countless people in the running community describe just how painful your first half marathon is, I pretty much know that I need to do a lot to strengthen my mentality and will power to NOT quit when things get tough/painful.
So, I set off to run this morning....and to do my very best to be cognizant of how my body was responding with each mile that passed.
While this mornings 6.67 mile run was by no means perfect, it felt a whole heck of a lot better than recent runs have been feeling. I felt pleased with my form, and how fast I was able to run for the first 4 hill filled miles. Now, I did get a nasty calf cramp somewhere around the 5-5.5 mile mark that slowed me down. But, with the help of my bad ass running playlist and several friendly/very encouraging waves, I was able to enjoy this run.
Now, I know that Grey's Anatomy does not have all the answers or the best life advice out there. However, that episode that I watched Sunday afternoon about pain having a purpose really hit home for me. It made me realize that while you can't always avoid pain, you also can't be someones who thrives off of it to the point that you are actually doing more harm than good. It also made me very aware of the fact that now is crunch time for half marathon training. While, I maybe don't want to scale back on mileage or running anything less than 6 days a week, I also can't afford to mess my body up any more than it is already mess up.