Stress and Injury
October 8, 2012 § 10 Comments
I wrote this a week ago and sent it out for submission. Having not heard back I’m chalking it up to Written Rejection and am moving on, choosing to post it here instead.
I should be heading out for six miles tomorrow morning according to my marathon training plan. But since writing this piece, I’ve pinched a nerve in my left scapula, which kept me from Saturday yoga, woke this morning with a pulled muscle in my neck and have a faint, but still there, soreness in my quad.
I am, in physical terms, a big old mess!
Maybe it’s time to hang up the hopes for a January marathon. Maybe running to meet a time and distance goals should not be my focus right now. Maybe at this phase of my life I should run for pleasure and freedom and stress relief.
No decisions must be made today.
Acknowledging the thoughts……
Being plagued by a tremendous amount of stress recently I woke up ready to go for a run, but had momentarily forgotten about the right quadracept injury that had forced me to put my marathon training on hold. If that wasn’t irritating enough, as I stepped down from my bed I felt a muscular pull up the backside of my right calf; curious as I haven’t done any running or worn new and different shoes since I’d allowed myself this little break to heal from the nagging pain in my thigh.
As I hobbled down the stairs I wondered if the mental stress I’ve been under lately is causing my body to react in a way that is purely physical; both slowing me down and creating pains in places where there shouldn’t be any. It isn’t just common sense that stress can cause illness and injury, in April 2012 a Scientific study at Carnegie Mellon University found proof that mental stress can cause harm on a cellular level; real and actual inflammation can (and does) form in the face of stress.
Two weeks ago I was on a running/yogic/healthy lifestyle roll. Marathon training was in its first week, my consistency in yoga attendance was helping me gain strength and focus, and my food struggles seemed a thing of the past (quitting sugar helped). I was pushing my limits much as I had a year ago at this time, but my circumstances are currently quite different.
Forget that my divorce mediation is nearing closer by the day, the fact that my mother is a week out from surgery from a skin cancer or that my daughters have been acting out to the point that I’ve called a child psychologist for help. Forget that I’m still living with my soon to be ex, that as a stay at home mom I am at the mercy of my husband’s financial choices or that I haven’t worked in six years, since before my twins were born. I have no idea how I’ll support myself after the divorce.
On Tuesday, when a life threatening illness of a loved one rang in my phone, it dawned on me the enormous amounts of life stressers that have plagued what I am coming closer to christening, “Terrible 2012.”
I have a list of things I want to do. I want to run my second marathon in Miami (in January). I want to find meaningful work that will monetarily add to the lives of myself and my children. I want to eat right and attend yoga and fit in my closet full of clothes all presently too tight. I want to feel happy about the chores that keep my house running. I want my family to be healthy. I want to spend time with friends and hear about the wonderful things happening in their lives. I want. I want. I want.
But now may not be the time for the things that I want.
Now might be the time to step back and allow the universe to deliver to me what it thinks I need.
Am I ready to hang up the dream of Miami? Not yet.
Am I going to beat myself up for eating more than my share of the pumpkin pie? Nope.
Will I attend yoga tomorrow morning as I have been for the past few weeks? Yes, because I know it is good for me (my intention, however, will be to remain mindful and without pressure to perform).
What I am not going to do is allow the stress to creep up and cause me pain and frustration and worry.
Sometimes a person needs to be able to choose between what they need and what they want on a minute by minute basis. Knowing when not to do the thing(s) that they want becomes the only decision; the grown up decision to say, “I can’t right now,” knowing that they’ve saved themselves from a stressed out illness or unfortunate injury.
Have you ever pushed through stress and injury for a race? How did you do?