Where I Am

So here I am, writing. I guess the discomfort in not writing has gotten stronger than the discomfort in writing. I am so rusty. I feel like I don’t know how to do this anymore.

And of course, I have all the usual insecurities and voices in my head. I have nothing of interest/value to say. It’s not going to be that good. It’s too hard. Why bother?

I’ve been reading a book called “Presence” by Amy Cuddy. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it, but it’s making me think about some things – what makes me “me,” and how to identify and tap into my authentic self. I know that when I’m engaged in personal writing, I feel a sense of purpose. I feel centered in who I am. I have found that in other things too – running and yoga, especially – but writing works different parts of my brain and my soul that I can’t tap into with anything else.

Many writing teachers and guides encourage writing by hand to open up and release what’s inside. But interestingly (or maybe only to me), writing longhand hasn’t been working for me. So here I am typing my thoughts because that works better for me. Maybe it’s because I spend so much time writing on a computer in my work; I’m used to working through words and ideas in this way.

So what to write about? This used to be a running blog. I hope it is again some day. But, running has not played a big part of my life in almost nine months due to an injury that may be permanent and/or that may restrict me from running the kind of miles I used to.

Hashing through the full rundown of what happened will be boring – for both anyone reading this and for me. So, here’s the short version. After many months of running 25-30 miles per week without incident, I developed a sharp pain in my lower back the day after a long run. The sharp pain dissipated after a couple days, but a sore tightness in my lower back and hips (especially on the right side) remained. In retrospect, I think that tightness had been there at some level for quite some time, but I just ignored it.

The following months were filled with: going to the chiropractor and PT, getting massages, walking instead of running, doing daily strength work and stretching, conducting lots of research and self-diagnosis, seeing a sports medicine specialist, buying a new mattress, getting an X-ray, then an MRI  (which my doctor called “unremarkable” but did reveal a disc herniation in my lower back). Then, doubling down on PT, doing even more research, getting a steroid injection, and giving up and starting again numerous times.

Whew. Even the short version is long. And it makes me realize how much I’ve been through over the last nine months, how exhausting it’s been, and how many times I’ve gotten my hopes up only to get really discouraged. I’ve had to grieve losing my running self, in a time when I was holding on to running with all my might because it was my thing, my purpose, my sanity, in a time that felt really out of control and challenging.

But I’m still here. There’s that saying that when God closes a door, he opens a window. Or – and ending is just the beginning of something new. I really hope (and believe) that this is not a permanent end to running, but I’ve had to accept the hiatus – however long it might be – so I can open my mind and my heart to other things.

Even without running, I have been interested in health and wellness for a pretty long time – from plant-based eating and strength training to yoga and meditation. I’ve been diving deeper into some of these things over the past couple months, and it’s exciting. I’m feeling some sort of purpose and direction again, and it’s helping to keep me anchored in my life instead of aimlessly going through the motions. And in such a time of uncertainty, it’s exactly what I need.

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