Monday, July 16, 2012

Running lessons: Finding inspiration in my garden and the determination of others

I've not been posting much lately. I've simply been too busy with work and various summer activities to spend much time blogging. Added to which, I've not been running much because I've been waiting for my knee to heal fully. As frustrating as it's been to be side-lined, I was determined to avoid doing further damage by returning to my regular training schedule too quickly.

Fortunately, this past weekend, my knee was recovered enough that I could safely attempt a longish run so I headed up river following one of my favourite routes. The day, though warm and humid, was dreary and overcast so I didn't take many photographs. However, I made good use of the time examining the dozens of gardens I passed on the way in an effort to determine which perennials might do well in my own gardens. Judging by what I saw, hostas, day lilies, euonymus, daisies, brown-eyed susans, echinacea, irises and roses all seem like good bets.

It felt great to daydream about gardening again. Perennial gardening is something I've enjoyed since Husband and I bought our first house together in 1991 but I've found it difficult to generate much enthusiasm since we bought our country home two years ago - in part because its existing gardens are so desperately overgrown, and in part because, until recently, I hadn't really bonded with the place. Reviving its perennial gardens didn't seem worth the effort if we were going to turn around and sell it in a few years.

Come to think of it, one of the things I like about both perennial gardening and long distance running is that they require long-term commitment and planning.  Neither is a good activity for those looking for instant gratification. Though there are many small successes along the way, the biggest pay-offs only come with years of patience and consistent effort.

It was good to be reminded of that as I ran 13.5 kms on Sunday. My knee felt much better than it did a week ago but, as a result of the sudden, sharp drop in my activity level, the rest of my body felt achy and stiff so I couldn't help feeling discouraged. Was it only two months since I ran a 50k trail run? How could I have lost so much fitness? Reminding myself that I needed to take the long-term view, that this fallow period has been a chance for my body to heal so that it can get even stronger down the road, kept me going when I felt like quitting.

The other thing that inspired me to keep going was thinking about my niece who was recently diagnosed with scoliosis. She's facing surgery in a few months, followed by weeks or months of rehab. In order to slow the progression of the scoliosis and prepare her body for the surgery, she's been instructed to do daily exercises that take at least an hour to complete. It's a regimen that would be tough for anyone, but must be especially tough for an adolescent girl who expected to spend these long, hot summer days hanging out and swimming with friends. Nevertheless, she's following doctor's orders and completing her exercises faithfully. How could I possibly cut my run short in the face of such stoic determination? 

To end, a quote about gardening that could just as easily be about running:
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. - May Sarton

No comments:

Post a Comment