My hamstrings are a representative of the way I’ve lived my life: wound tight and unwilling to recoil. I’ve had stubbornness in the repetitive nature in which I carry myself through this world, unwilling to yield or bend to suggestions or ideas other than my own. The more painful it becomes, the harder I push, and the more damage I do along the way. I remain taut, because it’s been easier. The more I repeat the same motions, the tighter I become. I don’t have to do as much work this way. On the outside, this feels efficient, but internally, it’s tearing my body apart.
The thing about a hamstring is that at some point, if you keep pummeling it without caring for it, it will break. I’ve done this with relationships in my life, not participating properly, expecting that others will always be there for me without putting the work in to really earn that care and concern. When presented with difficult situations, I take the easy way out. I’ve resisted the changes I know I needed to make to become stronger, because I thought things were working just fine the way that they were, and didn’t want to admit that I might need to do some more hard work. My ego just wouldn’t admit that I might need to grow some more. I stayed the course, unable to see that the fibers that comprised my structure were fraying.
The universe has a fickle and funny way of giving us the lessons we need to move forward and to help us reach our tipping point. Changes beyond my control continue to occur and everyday challenges present themselves. I have been sitting with discomfort during these occurrences, because I have been resisting the evolution I need to escape the old patterns that are holding me back. Reacting rather than responding, needing to be right rather than happy, asserting my will rather than accepting the course the universe has laid out for me are all continual struggles. It just seems so hard to stretch when my natural inclination is to constrict. On one hand, I know my old tools aren’t working anymore: perfectionism, ego, anger, resentment, jealously, self-pity, fear, lack of self-worth, righteousness. But still, I have been holding on, clenching my muscles, pushing forward. Unable to touch my toes, the universe gave me a simple sign. My hamstring, it finally snapped.
Devastating is the only word I can use to describe a running injury like this so far into a marathon training regime that has been worked at so hard to be achieved. I had done all the right things until this point. I built a strong foundation of mileage; I had followed the training schedule. I cross-trained with yoga, I built a militant clean diet, and I drank so much water I can’t remember the last time my pee was anything other than clear. I trained with a group, I adjusted my pace. I changed my training start time to accommodate the hot weather. I wore the right shoes, I got 8 hours of sleep. But this injury was not a reflection of my training. It was a reflection of my life.
In my journey, I have started to realize the damage I have done to myself by not being flexible, both figuratively and literally. I finally am aware that I need to try something different because I’m feeling the ill effects. There was a physical burn because of my rigidness, but my mental burn was much worse. The repetitiveness, as I stretched my training increasing mileage, and as I stretched my mind through an awareness of the things holding me back, became uncomfortable. Resentment has ruled my life. As I have grown, these things no longer work for me, and I know it. The growing pains have been evident in my discomfort, but while for some people, the lesson comes naturally, I’ve always had to learn the hard way. Because of this, though, I’m on the precipice of making a leap. It’s scary, and overwhelming, but I know if I want to feel the relief, I have to start to unwind.
The good news is, the body is an amazing thing. Sometimes, even after the pain we put it through, it has a way of bouncing back. It can be repaired. The same way goes for our thinking. It may not be easy, but we can course correct our negative thoughts and actions and become the people we want to be. All I can do is take a deep breath, relax, and become ready to start straightening, stretching, and strengthening my legs. I don't know what this means for my marathon, and that's okay for right now. It might not be what I planned, but maybe one day, I’ll be able to touch the ground.