What has kept me sidelined during my mid to late 30’s has been my achilles and knees. It’s difficult to know when the injuries will show themselves, but they have been nagging throughout. Heavy mileage (for me) is one potential factor and running while dehydrated seems to be another. What happened last Monday was I finished an easy 5 mile run in 100 degree heat, and when I woke up on Tuesday, I could barely walk. My achilles felt like a tightened rubber band that was ready to snap. Poor luck involved, I had signed up for a 10k that next Saturday and was hopeful I would heal so I could at least muster enough strength to be able to do the run. Saturday came and there was no way I was running a mile. Backing out of a race is a bad feeling. I’ve done it twice now in the past 5 years and both times it’s felt horrible.
I run to stay in shape. It makes me look and feel better. I use it as daily motivation to a healthy mind and body. When the body breaks down, so does the mind. I’ve had intuition that the body doesn’t break down unless the mind is weak. The mind is weak when it’s not being taken care of or challenged correctly. For me, when I’m able to eat, work, and exercise on a regular schedule, I feel better in my life. So when incidents occur that leave me sidelined, I suffer.
What is suffering? Instead of being able to go for a run on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, you’re stuck inside watching TV. Subtle, but noticeable. This malaise on a re-occurring basis is what starts depression. I’m tired. I don’t feel well. Look how fat I am! This is a weak mind at work. I’ve not had a problem staying motivated to stay in shape, but injuries force this. Now I could counter this by getting my ass on a bike and saying, I’m going to exercise no matter what it takes. For instance, the last few days as I recover, I’ll hobble my way through 1-2 miles, do 50 pushups, and then jump rope. It’s not a full cardio sweat but it’s better than nothing while I heal. I want some sort of exercise every day of my life to counter these rough patches. The more you can store up when you’re healthy, the better you’ll be to get through the down times. It’s important to keep at it even when you’re hurt. It’ll turn around.