Monday, November 19, 2012

Grateful For My Scars

Is it trite to say I'm thankful for my running and all the wonders it has brought me?

Yeah, it is. The answer's in the question.

Ah, but peel back the layers and you'll find that running is like ogres is like onions, and behind that layer of running gratitude, I think what I'm really grateful for is the recovery from the run. The healing.

Without healing there would be no run.The running part is easy. I've never been one to lack in motivation to get out there door. Maybe in putting in enough miles when my legs aren't responding, maybe in not stretching enough or eating for ideal training, but I can run anytime, in most any weather.

Each run tears the body down a bit so that it can be built back stronger, the trick is not to tear it down so much that it gets injured.  Pushing your limits means always dancing on that edge, and often going over it as my latest injury reminded me.

But I'm very grateful that the relatively minor injury is healing, and I'm feeling ready to hit some harder training in the days/weeks to come. Time off to recover and heal after an injury makes you miss what you had, but damn, instead of lamenting the time off of running I try to flip the switch and be grateful I'm healing. This time of slower/less running isn't permanent. It's temporary.

Yep, today I'm grateful for healing and recovery. If I hadn't recovered from lots of damage I've done to my body, brain, and soul through my life I'd be a wreck.  But, as of now, I can run, and can heal and recover.

But, as I age I'm healing much slower and my recovery time seems twice as long.

I know some aged folks who, when I have an experience with them, say out loud, "you know, as you get older, you often wonder if this the last time in your life you'll be doing this..."

Carpe diem or carpe party-poooping, one or the other,

But the day will come when I no longer can do this, no longer can marathon, since I wont be able to recover and heal. One of these injuries may become permanent. One day I may actually have that heart attack or wreck my knees like the smokers and sedentary folks have all been warning me as they list off the reasons running isn't good for me.

 For now, I have had to heal over and recover many times, and have a lot of scars, both physical and otherwise, but I like to think that he who dies with the most battle scars wins.

I want to be one of those guys where folks say "wow, you are still running a marathon at your age...?"

I'm thinking that doesn't even come into play until post -50 years old, right? Probably more like 60.

In other news, the Ann Arbor Marathon announced they are running on June 9th, the weekend after the Dexter to Ann Arbor half-marathon (oh, I can hear the Ann Arbor running community clamoring from here.)

I was just at the Big House last Saturday for the Michigan/Iowa game, and one of my favorite parts of going to each game is the nostalgic walk to the stadium. Well, now I have the nostalgia of last year's Ann Arbor marathon which started at the stadium and then ran past it again at mile 23 or so.

The football game was wonderful. 55 degrees, sunny, a unique Denard Robinson/Devon Gardner backfield, and the incredible beat of my favorite running song "Seven Nation Army" blaring to pump up the crowd. That primal, slow and steady beat that crescendos until your insides are ready to burst.

(I realize it's a popular song for lots of sporting events, but Jack White is Michigan and Detroit, the rest are just borrowing him.)

Yes, I want a football game, a marathon, and a life that is worthy of having the song Seven Nation Army as its soundtrack. And this means a lot of physical beatings, a lot of hurt, and needing a lot of time to recover and heal.

And I'm grateful for that, so for now, I’m fine... I carry a lot of scars. I like the way that sounds. I carry a lot of scars.”

(pretend I didn't plagiarize this line from the novel The Beach.) 

Happy Thanksgiving. Rub your scars, whether they be on your skin or your heart, and think of how dull life would be if you had none.

STRAY on Amazon

The Jade Rabbit on Amazon


LBTEPA said...

What a great post. Thanks

Anne said...

This one's got me thinking about all of my scars and how they influence future decisions. I'm one of those who suffered a permanent injury that precludes long, long runs anymore. It's no longer a disappointment, just different.

Stokercon 2024 in San Diego

 Spent last weekend in San Diego at Stokercon. What a fantastic time. Multiple panels, many conversations. Laughs, tears, books, conversatio...