“You can’t find your strong if you’re not looking for it.” Saucony Website
Warning: by the end of this post, you may decide to unsubscribe, unfollow, unfriend, un-everything me. (This post could have easily been titled Vanity or You’re So Vain.) Recently, I had an injury that made me have to hit the pause button on my running. The good news is I didn’t hurt myself while running….so those of you running along with me need not be worried that you need to slow down. The injury occurred while “surfing.” I wish I could say that it happened while I was actually on the board riding a wave, or at least from an amazing wipeout while attempting to catch a massive wave. But no, that is not the case.
I was walking into the ocean with my board a little in front of me when you are supposed to carry it to your side. I’m pretty sure I was simultaneously yelling at my kids to keep their boards to their sides and not in front of them, when a wave smacked against my board which then smacked against the left side of my chest. WHAM!!! Ouch!!!
“Are you ok?” asked the instructor.
“Yes, I’m fine,” I choked out while trying to catch my breath and not cry. And given my stubbornness, I continued to “surf” for the 45 minutes remaining of our group lesson despite feeling like someone had sucked all the air out of me so that I couldn’t breathe. A couple of hours later, I was pretty ok. I took some Advil that night and the next morning, and it wasn’t too bad. I went to work, which involves lots of lifting kids up and down off exam tables (and sometimes wrestling them down), and the day after that, a 7 mile morning run. A couple of hours after that run, I was having so much chest pain that I would wince in pain every time I had to steer my car for a right or left turn.
I increased from 2 Advils twice a day to 3 Advils three times a day, and continued on. Later that day, I sneezed and had to hold in a yelp. A few sneezes in a row felt like what I would imagine a series of gunshots to your chest would be like. Pow, pow, pow. What did I do the next morning, go for a 5 mile run after a few Advil…(or I could call this post Stupidity). That was a painful run. Each arm swing and each rapid breath made the pain worse. After that run, I couldn’t use my left arm to lift the gallon milk out of the fridge. I convinced myself that I must have broken my rib.
I made a call to my doctor’s office and got a chest x-ray. No fracture. Yay! But obviously, I had bruised my chest pretty badly, and every time I went out there and did an activity that involved repetitive movement of the muscles in that area, I was making it worse. It was time for some mandatory rest. No running (unless I could do it without moving my arms or breathing heavier and faster…so basically no), and certainly no downward dog or chaturanga or planks, so I couldn’t just go to yoga and savasana the entire time although it might be fun to do that once.
I had to resort to taking a walk, a casual stroll no less….not walking up hills where I might start heavily breathing. If I was going to go for a walk, I might as well take a different route than my usual run path. I live walking distance to a nice shopping area with lots of coffee shops, so now that I had to walk at a leisurely pace, why not walk there. I put on my sports bra, run tank, run shorts, and cap. I grabbed my iPod and set out.
At the first store window, I suddenly noticed a silhouette of a woman in running clothes. Who’s that? She looks fit…strong… Hmm….maybe it is just this window. Next window, there she is….there I am again. I look fit in this one, too. Next window, still looking strong. There is definition in my arms, my calves, even my thighs…I have quads. Here and there over the last year, I had noticed myself looking stronger in some pictures. There were the pictures from my husband’s office party, where I noticed my calves looking pretty muscular, but I had on 4-inch heels….everyone’s legs look great in 4-inch heels. There was the Nike Run pictures from the last post, where again I looked strong. And a few people noticed…and commented…one friend even using the word “ripped” to describe me. I thought that maybe it was just something about the professional photographer catching me just at the right moment and just in the right pose.
Next window, still strong…an athlete. I’ve never called myself that. I take my phone out, and I take a picture of my silhouette. Then I pass a wine shop…ok, I need a picture of my silhouette with wine in the background of course. Next store, Club Monaco…every dress in the window is adorable…I take a picture of the dresses….I need to come back….maybe this was a bad idea after all.
The shoe/sportswear company Saucony has “Find Your Strong” as their motto. I guess it took an injury, a mandatory rest and slowing down, for me to find mine. I found my strong, I really took the time to see myself, not on my run, but on my walk.