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And then....

Remember that last post? About humility, listening to your body and letting the body lead? Maybe as a way to quiet the mind? It sounded good, didn't it? I was (am?) determined to be smarter with my training and to be kinder to my aging body instead of pushing myself through injury or trying to improve too much, too rapidly. 

The results seemed good. I was able to get in some consistent runs and slowly build up what felt like a bit of stamina. I was finding some joy in the run again and connecting with my body in a positive way. It was early days but it was working!

And then, we went for a hike.

Friends of ours from out of town came for a visit and of course, we wanted to show off this big, beautiful backyard that we enjoy. These specific friends are not runners and not especially outdoorsy but we chose a shorter hike with the pay off of some nice waterfalls. What could go wrong? Except forgetting that this particular hike was actually much more of a scramble.... 

I LOVE a good scramble - using hands and knees as well as feet, grabbing roots and branches to help yourself along. And to their credit, our friends did great, gamely moving along without complaint, despite their having absolutely no warning as to the nature of the hike. It was great fun on a beautiful day and the falls were well worth the trip. 

Unfortunately, however, I somehow managed to torque my knee on one of those scrambles around a rock or root or side of the hill. Because I had forgotten the terrain, and because I live in them during the summer, I was wearing my Chaco sandals - normally great for light hikes but apparently not good enough this time. I noticed a little pull, a little pain, but didn't think much of it at the time. It was only later, while climbing stairs, walking down to the harbor and all of the other daily steps I take that I realized I needed to give this injury some special attention. 

How did I do that? Did I ice, rest and take an anti-inflammatory? Did I plan some easy days, limiting stairs and activity and spending some time on stretching and self-massage? Or did I proceed with my plans for an upcoming hiking/camping trip in the Porcupine Mountains? I'll let the following photo answer that question: 

Yep, that's Lake of the Clouds ahead of me as I am returning along the 4 mile Escarpment Trail. We took the trip and we hiked the hikes.To be fair, it was our first visit to the Porkies, Labor Day weekend of a very long and very busy summer and I honestly didn't think too clearly about what further damage I might do. Maybe that fuzziness of though was on purpose? Because clear thinking would have demanded a different choice. 

I guess my point is that even with the best intentions, even with the education and training of a running coach and experienced marathoner, EVEN with the renewed inspiration and purpose to do better, I screwed up. I chose the now hike over the future run and I'm suffering the consequences - knee pain on stairs and an awakening of the previously slumbering plantar fasciitis. My daily routine now includes enforced time off from running and mandatory icing, anti-inflammatories and stretching in an attempt to curtail any kind of escalation of these maladies. A few upcoming events on my calendar will need to be adjusted and/or abandoned. 

It's a bummer, to be sure, but one of my own making. And to be honest, the only thing I would have done differently with hindsight would be to wear proper footwear on that first waterfall hike. I absolutely would have taken that hike otherwise and I'm 100% glad that I spent the weekend camping in the Porkies over Labor Day. Maybe a sign of growth then, is owning the mistakes we do make and moving on from there. Maybe growth is not beating yourself up about those mistakes, especially when they are as innocent as a forgetfulness of trail terrain. 

Maybe the lesson this time is the full understanding that I am not my errors or mistakes. I can do a dumb thing without being a dumb person. And it's always possible to start over again tomorrow, right? Besides, who can ever regret time spent outside, in a place like this? Not me....


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