March 06, 2013

Running into roadblocks

Everything happens for a reason. If it is meant to be, it is meant to be. What goes around, comes around.

These often-heard lines portray the human desire to make sense of life, to see purpose and meaning behind what might also be seen as a series of random events that happen to each one of us, to create a moral compass for our conduct especially in the way we treat others, and to instill an awareness that our actions have consequences.

Image by Sorca
Yesterday morning was a nice one as Luka and I set off on our walk. I opted to head to the start of our street, passing the site where the new neighbourhood of Crumpit Woods is being built, and then veer left onto a trail that splits and offers several options.

A favourite, Summer's Eve, is closed because of the construction which at this stage includes regular blasting of the underlying rock.

Instead, we headed over to The Graduate, a relatively new trail that slowly winds its way toward the Three Virgins, before connecting to the part of Seven Stitches that remains open for now. It was quiet and we had the trails to ourselves.

Enjoying the immersion into lush rainforest, I was also lost in thoughts, pondering the application to a writing program, while Luka was entertained by the ball I had brought for him. 


Both my knees hit hard rock embedded in the trail. The pain was instant and severe, one knee of the Levi's jeans I have owned for less than three months ripped on impact. Sitting dazed on all fours, I couldn't help myself and started wailing, out of agony but especially frustration.

What the hell?!

I was still recovering from the flu -- my first in a long, long time -- that had knocked me flat for the past five days; no Computrainer on Thursday, no swim on Friday morning or no Bikram on Friday evening, no long ride on Saturday morning or yoga on Saturday afternoon, no power walk with short stretches of running on Sunday. I also had to forget about the swim on Monday evening and the once-a-month flip-turn training on Tuesday morning. I even had to miss daily doggy walks.

And now I could also clearly forget about my plan for Bikram yoga on Tuesday evening.

It has been only four weeks since I stubbed the middle toe of my right foot so hard against the metal leg of my wind trainer that I went to the hospital to rule out a fracture with an X-ray; earlier that day I had successfully tried running 30-second stretches after a four-month complete layoff.

The last thing I needed were a pair of scraped and bruised knees, demanding another interruption of training and more patience. Grateful that at least the fall hadn't seemed to cause anything worse, that my jeans were the only thing torn when my left shoe got stuck under a root in the trail, I wondered about the meaning, the purpose of these ongoing interruptions to my training.

Am I being tested? And if so, why and for what? Or are these just random events that happen to occur in a relatively short space of time to the same person? Is it a reminder to live more in the moment, do I need to pay more attention, am I trying too hard to do too many things? Or is it just an unfortunate accident, something that simply happened?

After the past eight months of dealing with an injury that has been slow to heal -- and I still don't know for sure that it has -- I notice my tolerance for additional pain and misfortune is low. The aggravation by yet another little mishap that keeps me from the training routine I have only recently found again may seem out of proportion but I have been walking on athletic eggshells for a long time.

I just want to train. I am not even asking to run right now, though I was thrilled to run four 2-minute stretches last Wednesday; swimming, cycling and practicing yoga have made me a very content athlete over the past three months. I love being active. I need to be active.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward," read a quote by Vernon Law I found in an article in my inbox this morning.

The lesson, for now, is to get up again, brush myself off and keep moving. Be grateful. My knees feel much better this morning; I have hurt them worse in previous face plants which, come to think of it, hadn't happened in nearly two years.

My flu is almost gone, but I'll skip tonight's swim training to be safe. I should be OK for a doggy walk later today, though I might avoid Seven Stitches for now. The sun is shining.

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