Today, I ran for the first time since my tragic skipping accident. After only a minute or two, I hit my stride. It was pretty awesome. Birds singing, river rising, ground thawing, and me, sailing through the park.
Then I came to my first uphill climb. There was a slight tingle in the ankle, but I powered through it.
Jogging in place at the top of the hill waiting for the cars to pass, I was feeling all right. Sun shining, sweat beading, and a smile on my face.
Near the one-mile mark, on my favorite downhill, I picked up the pace. I was practically flying, I was feeling so good! I crossed over to that place, where everything slips away, and there is nothing but breeze and lightness.
Then I felt that twinge in the ankle again.
And then I heard that little voice in my head. Keep going. You’re in the zone. It’s just a twinge. Don’t be a wimp! Run faster.
Isn’t it funny? On my best running days, this little monkey tries to talk me out of things. He tells me to walk instead of run. Or to go home, do laundry, clean the house. He tries to make up aches and pains that aren’t even there. And today, when I have a legitimate reason to back off, he has the audacity to tell me to keep going.
I am seriously beginning to think that this monkey cannot be trusted!
After only a few more paces, I realized that the twinge had escalated. It wasn’t exactly painful, but it was definitely noticeable. And my little monkey got louder.
I know you’re thinking about stopping, Quitter! He said as he stomped his feet. Don’t stop! Keep running! Push through the pain, you big sissy!
Now, I know there are times in life when we have to push ourselves, when we have to keep on going even if we’re in pain. I’ve been there before. We all have.
But if we really listen to our bodies, and not the monkey in our heads, our bodies will tell us what to do. We just need to know the difference between real pain, and the monkey-made kind. I cannot tell you how many times I felt a slight muscle pull in a class, but pushed through it for my monkey’s sake, only to be in pain for the next few days.
We need to know that sometimes our body is telling us to back off just a little and go easy on ourselves, rather than to risk re-injury and make things worse down the road.
And I think this was one of those times. So I told that ego-maniacal monkey that I was not going to push through the pain!
“This is not childbirth!” I told him. “There is no other human being depending on me getting to the other side of this. I can walk if I want to! You are not the boss of me!”
Then I turned myself around and I walked myself back home. I left that monkey sulking in the park. I think he’s still there. I haven’t heard from him yet.