At first glance, the title of this blog looks more like menu offering's off of Cafe Gratitude's list of vegan deliciousness. And while at Cafe Gratitude that order may get you a juice, a Mediterranean wrap, and a macrobiotic bowl - this isn't my lunch order, it's my current mantra.
A mantra is, by definition, "words or sounds repeated frequently to maintain a state of concentration during meditation" (per Google). For me a mantra can also be a reminder, a thought to keep me centered, or a phrase from which to think, believe, and act.
I won't get too deeply into my foot injury, but as most foot injuries go it's taking a hell of a long time to feel better. And it's frustrating. I've been feeling physical pain and/or discomfort of varying types and intensities for the past 6 months or so, and it's wearing on me. Wearing in that slow, erosive sense - like rust forming on metal.
After the Boston Marathon this year, I secretly signed up to run the Ventura Marathon in September - as a last chance Boston qualifier for 2017. Knowing I had another shot at Boston 2017 helped soften the pain of this year's race. Ventura is 8.5 weeks away and here I am, not at 100%.
As you know, if you've been reading my blog, I'm seeing a great physical therapist and team at the PT Effect in Little Italy. When I went a few weeks ago we had the serious discussion about Ventura - and about whether I was going to try to run it. I've also signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k in San Francisco in December. So, understandably, one of my biggest concerns is longevity of running and looking at the big picture. The consensus was (a hesitant) yes - I would try to train for and run the marathon. PT has illuminated a slew of tissue abnormalities, muscle imbalances, joint immobilities, and mechanical faults that we've been addressing. Those have been steadily improving, but the combination of working through all of these things while also trying to slowly increase overall mileage culminated in a significant flare-up of foot pain yesterday.
And a significant flare-up of emotions. You know those ones where all of the seemingly innocuous things in your life immediately become GIANT issues? Where the whole world crumbles? Yeah, one of those. I all but gave up on the idea of running pain free ever again. And if you know me, you know that doesn't make me happy.
I identify as a runner. And I know some people take issue with that. I hear the (valid) argument that I'm so much more than a runner - which I'm aware of. But running fills something in me that nothing else does. It not only fills a space, but it also creates space for me to feel centered, grounded, confident, and full. So when I can't run, I struggle.
I saw Mark (my PT today). I was quickly reminded that physical therapy is so much more than physical, sometimes it's mental as well. After a good talk, a wonderfully painful calf/plantar fascia destroying session, and some exercises we reached an agreement: keep running but keep being honest with myself.
That means acknowledging that Ventura might not happen. Which means Boston might not happen. That means revisiting the painful emotion from this past April and dealing with some of the shit that it brings up. That means doing the right things for my body: more yoga (goal = 3-4x/week), eating an anti-inflammatory diet (no, that doesn't mean sprinkling Advil all over my food), and making sleep a priority.
And it means doing the right things for my mind and soul. Firstly, I need to meet myself exactly where I am and not berate myself for where I want to be (but aren't). And secondly, I need to extend as much love to myself as I do to others. This morning's November Project workout was nothing short of a love fest (covered in rainbows, as it is Pride Week in San Diego). Sometimes showing yourself the same amount of love that you show others is hard.
So here's where my mantra comes into play. Instead of sending anxious, angry, frustrated, and destructive thoughts and emotions to my foot (which totally doesn't help with healing) I will focus on those three little phrases: I am Happy, I am Healthy, I am Whole.
And maybe I'll go eat a macrobiotic bowl.