The question posed in this week’s Tuesday’s on the Run link-up is this ..”The most challenging aspect of running right now is _______” If you’ve been a runner for any length of time at all, you could fill in that blank with a myriad of “issues”! If you had asked me that question a week ago, I probably would have said “HEAT and humidity” with multiple emphatic exclamation points. However, if you’ve read my weekly recap post, you know that today, the blank holds a special place for “my ankle”.
I almost didn’t participate in this link for fear of sounding like I’m still have a little pity party for myself over a running injury. I mean, every runner has dealt with them at one time or another, right? Heck, I myself, have had more than I care to even recall. I am not one of those “natural-born” runners. Having scoliosis and terribly flat feet are just not conducive to running long distances without some sort of issues. I’ve learned over the years that nagging little injuries will always be part of the running process for me and while it is very frustrating at times; I’m mindful to be thankful that I can do what I do. There’s always someone out there dealing with much worse. I may have a crooked spine, weak ankles and flat feet…but I still have two legs and two arms, my sight and my health. So, then, what am I complaining about today?
The more I thought about this question posed, the more I realized that my challenge is not the injury itself …as I said, I really am accustomed to them. The challenge for me right now is mental strength. As runners, we all know about “mental toughness” and it’s driving force behind what we do. We’ve all heard the saying “It’s physical strength that gets you to the starting line, but mental toughness that gets you across the finish line” and one of my personal favorites…
…..I can’t count the number of times I’ve had that argument in my head! No one can argue that if you have ever crossed the finish line of any marathon or half marathon, you are mentally tough! However, there’s another place for this “mental strength” we talk about and it is while on the sidelines, injured, watching others do that which you love to do, not knowing when you will be back out there. It’s frustrating knowing that you have the mental strength and the lung power to run those miles and cross those finish lines, yet your body just isn’t cooperating at the moment. There’s a battle raging in one’s mind while injured …the battle between knowing that you’ve pushed through pain before, both physical and mental pain, to reach your goals and knowing that this time, you need to listen to your body and give in to the pain so that it can heal. Yes, a great deal of mental strength is needed to win that battle!
As HoHoRuns says …”I can do hard things” and being sidelined is hard! Mental toughness has gotten me through childbirth (3 times) and is still getting me through those 3 boys’ teenage years, a nasty divorce (is there any other kind) and my husband being deployed for a year in a combat zone! That same mental toughness is helping me navigate this crazy thing called ‘menopause’ and I have no doubt that it will get me through yet another running injury. I can do hard things. You can do hard things. We can do hard things. We just have to put our minds to it!
As I mentioned earlier, I’m linking us with Marcia, Patty and Erika for their Tuesdays on the Run link up. Stop by these ladies blogs and see what “challenges” they’re facing these days. You never know how you can encourage others and find encouragement, inspiration and motivation along the way!
Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty