Thursday, May 20, 2010

Body Awareness

For a long time now I have known the inherent ingenuity of our bodies. In the context at hand, I use this term to express a pure ability to adapt, inform, and just simply ‘know’ in the most all-encompassing way possible. As much as we try to manipulate this truth through personal forms of cognitive deception, they are inevitably futile in their thrust. We must submit; the body truly knows best.

The reality of this has become ever apparent to me over the past five months. Since returning from a forced five month running hiatus at the end of last year due to a stress fracture in my right tibia, I have had to be constantly in-tune with my body; assessing, gauging, and calculating. As I have progressed, this has moderately diminished, the comfort level has reappeared but the questions and assessment never ends. Tightness in my right soleus, what does it signal? A pinch in my left hamstring, what does it mean? A psychological battle indeed.

It is not that I am pondering the worst case scenario, far from it. I simply find myself with a heightened conscious appreciation of each twinge or tweak in my body. It is as though the mind has forgotten the ordinariness of these bodily reactions that are an inevitable aspect of racking up the miles. This has been one of the most challenging aspects of reacquainting with the running routine and the increase in mileage I have endeavoured over the past months. January and February was when this was most obvious, as I cautiously and systematically worked my way up from zero running miles a week. Even with a solid base now established and the commonality of running 70+ mile weeks, I still find I have not fully escaped this particular head-space.

Perhaps I never will, or on second thought never should. It seems to me as soon as we lose touch, become complacent, or even worse, unaware (ignoring) of what our bodies are telling us, we are walking down a path of inescapable injury. Indeed, one aspect of running for hours and hours on end that I value so much is the way in which it allows me to become more in-tune with my body.

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