Friday, November 7, 2014

Mind, body, machine

I have been waiting for the inevitable post-endurance race immune system depression to strike.  Usually after long races I get sick. But so far I feel fine. More than fine actually. I feel better the week after my 50K than I did the week before it. Some of that is thanks to the chiropractor. He moved some stuff around, cracked my back, put ice on my knee and hip and reassured me that I'm fine, that all I needed was a minor tune-up. I think it was the reassurance that gave me the most relief. Before the race I had some nagging hip pain and I was worried it was going to be bad news. But I think the worry was more problematic than the minor aches and pains.

A few years ago when I had tendinitis in my ankle and it took to heal, I remember my primary care physician posed the rhetorical question "Are you sad because your ankle hurts or does your ankle hurt because you're sad?" (Did I mention that he totally reminds of me of Jeff Bridges? He is The Dude of doctors.) This was at a time in my life when I was subject to a lot of external conflict. And I am terrible at conflict. I find it excruciating and intolerable and overwhelmingly stressful. And Dr. Dude's comment was a light-bulb moment for me. Of course it would take far longer for me to actually act on this knowledge, but what he said made perfect sense.

And yes, I need to get better at handling conflict. I just want everyone to get along and be happy and turn every disagreement into a win-win scenario involving cookies, but I know that's not realistic and won't always happen (I'm willing to compromise on the cookies. Cake would also be acceptable.) As long as conflicts are resolved relatively quickly (and ideally in a compassionate manner), I'm totally fine. (I mean, I will probably cry. That's just what happens because I'm the kind of person who internalizes everything and then the tears are my outlet for all the pent-up stress, frustrations and feelings. So I will cry and then I'll feel better and everything will be fine.) But it took me a long time to realize that it is nigh impossible for me to be myself and thrive in situations where there is chronic conflict, whether from external sources or self-imposed.

So I guess it shouldn't be surprising that this year I've been able to run farther, recover quicker and feel immensely better than ever before. I've gotten back to my happy running place, where it's all about joy and camaraderie. And I'm in a relationship that's a much better fit for my temperament, that accepts me at my worst and brings out my best.

Probably I have now jinxed myself by admitting I feel so good. When you name a ship The Titanic, it's pretty much destined to sink. Even so, it must be said. It is such a weird and wonderful feeling to be living out all my wildest, most impossible dreams.

Lyric of the moment: "We've been through some things together, with trunks of memories still to come. We found things to do in stormy weather. Long may you run..."

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