Life can often throw us curveballs and force us to adapt. The adaptation process comes along with lessons. We have the choice to either see and learn the lessons, or hobble away kicking and screaming. (I'm really good at the latter). Once again I am reminded of the analogies between endurance and life. My body has spoken, and forced me to stop and analyze the choices I have been making both as a runner, and as a human being. At the same time, my incredible friends have shown up and spoken (harsh) truths. Both my body and my friends have highlighted some realities that I needed to see. Now it is up to me whether to continue my path as usual, or make better choices.
An injury has resurfaced after a two year hiatus. This little wake up call has forced me to rest and provided me with gifts of fresh legs and patience. It is also an opportunity to reflect on some similarities between the body and the bestest of friends...
1. They call us out. Our bodies are constantly speaking to us. If we're lucky, they will scream. If we're really lucky, we will also have friends that call us out on our shit. For example, our body will speak up if bad habits have gone on for too long. Whether we're neglecting eating our vegetables, the foam roller, or that extra hour of sleep, our bodies will eventually force us to notice. Whether it shows up as a muscle strain or a sinus injection, the body is speaking to us. It will say "Hey, stop overusing this tight calf without stretching." A good friend also says, "Hey, you've been an idiot in this way over and over. Stop that." Both the body and good friends will call us out on our repetitive self destructive habits. It's up to us whether we listen.
2. They keep us humble AF. Both our bodies and our great friends remind us there is always room for improvement. Great friends model human excellence. They set goals and patiently tackle them while supporting others'. Try running up a mountain as fast as you can. Then try chasing an inspiring friend up that mountain. The body and our friends will keep us humble.
3. They check in. Even when we feel like being alone and introverted, our body is there right beside us constantly checking in. Like when we are ravenously hungry and our stomach won't stop making noises. Same with your friends. They'll text and call to ensure we are not drowning in our own sorrows.
4. They keep us honest. Our body doesn't lie. We can't lie to our body. As well, great friends don't lie, and we won't have them if we lie. Things stop working if we start lying to our body or our friends. For example, setting goals in training requires work and commitment. If we don't put in the work, then the commitment transforms into a lie. Our body may not believe us next time we set a goal. Same goes for showing up for a friend and committing to them. Let a good friend down, and we risk them not believing us next time.
5. No bullshit. There must be some unwritten universal agreement on a no bullshit clause in all great friendships. If the body senses we're not being authentic and true, it will say so. Same goes for those great friends.
6. They don't give up on us. Even though we want to curse our injured body, we know deep down inside it hasn't really failed us. (But keep cursing it, and it just might). It's always there teaching what we don't necessarily want to learn. The greatest of friends also do not give up on us. Even though they may have a list of reasons to do so.
7. They help us heal. Our bodies are healing machines. They are constantly finding magical ways to repair themselves. Our true friends will also help us heal. They show up for us. Pay attention.
8. They show us the silver lining. In order to heal, we need to shine light into the areas that need it the most. (Thanks yoga). In the darkest of circumstances, both the body and friends will highlight ways in which life is all puppies and rainbows. For example, I've spent the last week prepping and painting the Vanicorn (Ford Transit Van home), and would not have had the time nor the energy to start the project it if I was running and training as usual. Friends also offer you time, when you think there is none. They allow you a day or two to put up a fight, kick and scream, and have a self induced pity party. Then they will tell you to shut up, and show up for the putty and paint party. They want you to get shit done.
9. They always know what is going on, even when you are too scattered to figure it out for yourself. Want advice? Ask your body and a good friend what's up. Just ensure you actually listen.
10. They're sensitive when we are off balance. Indulge in poor choices or extreme tendencies, and the body will feel it. Great friends will also feel it. Recently, I was making poor choices in relationships, and a good friend courageously shared how it was affecting them. It was not easy to hear. Coincidentally, my shin flared up at the same time. Our bodies are like our greatest friends. Both help us get back into our personal equilibrium. They force us to stop, look inward, and reassess.
As usual, running lessons and life lessons overlap. Connecting these dots helps highlight the lessons and positives in shitty circumstances. There are many positives thanks to this injury and the wonderful humans in my life. As coach says, "the lessons are the whole point of this cray shit" (cray shit = ultrarunning). Now it is my duty to show my gratitude by actually listening to both.