Dear injury, f$%k you… err, thank you !
I’m half sat, half laid down on my couch, looking out the window. It’s a fine day out there, perfect weather for a long run in the mountains. Sadly I won’t run for another month.
The pain has become so intense bending my leg, I gave up trying. I stay on the couch and suck it up. Work, emails, social networks, books and movies, at this point I have tried everything to keep mind away from a will to run becoming more oppressing. Will I turn insane?
This is what my leg looked like exactly a year ago. It wasn’t pretty, it was extremely painful. 3 weeks later I was running TransVulacnia, my first 50 miler and what kicked off a successful Skyrunning season.
Injuries are such an interesting state for the runner, here are some facts :
- We know we need running in our lives.
- We know about injuries and have most likely already experienced it.
- 87% of the time (totally made that up) we are the only ones to blame when it happens. We either ran too hard, too far, for too long and sometimes too soon causing the inevitable curse of the injury.
Any rational soul will lose sanity trying to figure out why we do this to ourselves despite our undeniable awareness?
By no means this post will give you an answer on such behaviour, but I have found a few cases where such drawbacks occur and seemed close enough to running to compare them with.
CASE STUDY #1
My first finding lied in economic crisis. I have a masters degree in business so why not try and look at that side of things after all.
DOW JONES during the 1929 industrial crisis
NASDAQ value before and after the “dot com” bubble
After an in depth analysis of some of the main stock market crises of the century (looking at pictures mostly) we can all see they have something in common. But let’s not draw any conclusion too early and carry on with the next examples.
CASE STUDY #2
To keep the youngsters with classic movie references in the loop, here comes my second finding.
Frank, during Mitch house party, lets out the infamous “Frank the Tank” for a glorious come back, an undeniable hight point in Frank’s life (and let’s be honest in American movies history too). A solid built up from the excitement of a first beer bang, to the most legendary solo streaking.
Sadly, the night long uphill trend reverses when he gets picked up by his wife out on a girls night, is made fun of by the girlfriends and ultimately is given the boot by his soon-to-be ex-wife. Massive fall.
CASE STUDY #3
Last reference is a really bad experience, well mostly bad but get funny with time. Getting totally hammered at a party. I hope many of you haven’t experienced this and I suggest you don’t. And for those who have, enjoy the ride back to the point where your memories faded.
You’ve had a long ass week at work or school, but comes the weekend and that massive party everyone has been excited about. As a runner, chances are you are a little competitive. Let’s just remember that for later. You’re out of your weekly duties, catch up with your friends, and gather at one’s flat to “warm up” before heading to the real party.
One song leads to another, one drink to another things get out of control and after the neighbours have come repeatedly to complain about the noise , it’s time to make a move before things go too crazy… Mind you, it’s already too late.
This is what the warm up felt like… yet this is us on the way to the party
Needless to further describe the party, not to spare you the disconcerting details but simply for a serious lack of it, until morning hits… hard. We often, but not restricted to, look like one of the following :
Yes, pretty pathetic.
So how did we get there? How could we be in such a positive, optimistic, ecstatic state one minute and brutally feel like our world has been turned upside down in a matter of hours?
Here is the process that unfolds in the three situations described above : A build up, a peak, a dramatic fall. Each of these dramatic fall was preceded by a long and steady raise, up to an un preceded high point. At this point, we feel unbreakable, invulnerable, we own the world and what another risky investment, a quick nocturne streak, or another drink could do to us ? The answer is : everything.
At this precise point, we still have the choice to step back and be wise, but the voice of reason that could have saved us, is quieted by our inner champ (this is the competitive attitude I was telling you about) who can’t get enough of such a pleasing high.
Back to running.
I believe a big part of the injuries we get as runners is caused by the excitement of hitting a new high in our training and/or performances. We feel great, better than ever sometimes, indestructible, and thus we forget about the basics such as rest, sleep and recovery.
I believe if we are not mentally strong enough to create a voluntary break in our performing upward trend chart, injury will catch up and do it for us. In 95% of the time (another made up stat.) we’ll come out of the injury just fine and will eventually get back to putting one foot in front of the other at an easy, fast and light pace. But in my opinion while these injuries force us step back, think, assess and question things which is really healthy, they certainly are not be the best way to do so, especially for our bodies and long years of running free in the mountains.
To wrap up this reflexion with an open suggestion, if you feel like a million bucks right now, how about cracking open a PBR, put on some good ol’ tunes, chill with your friends and family, sit back, reflect and get back at it a few days later… Stronger!
I’ll leave you to this, my girl is out of town and I have a trader’s party to attend.