Motivation Monday: the ‘living in the moment’ edition

For the past week and a half, ever since I got to trade my cast for a splint, I have been going through my own personal “couch to 5K” training plan. Even after six weeks of no cardio at all following wrist surgery in February, I’ve been pleased to note that I have enough residual fitness to skip the actual couch to 5K plans — I’ve had no need to run-walk, and even my slowest, earliest jogs were faster than 10-minute-mile pace.

At the same time, it’s been a struggle to remain patient with a body that’s been working overtime on the business of healing. I thought that by this point, I would be back to typing with two hands, posting daily on this blog, training for a half-marathon on April 24, driving, and maybe even swimming to train for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim. Instead, I am still navigating an awkward return to running, having Steve drive me anywhere I can’t take Metro to, and writing with the help of a speech-to-text program, with my right arm propped up on a foam block so swelling and soreness don’t set in.

Me in my "office." I've lost the cast since taking this picture, but kept the foam block and speech-to-text headset.

I want to be back to normal, like, now. The best way I have found to combat this impatient impulse is to make a conscious, constant effort to live in the moment; to focus on running while I’m running, on writing while I’m writing, and so on. For example:

During my recovery, I read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. The novelist took up running because he found it helped him hone the kind of focus that is essential to long-form writing. He considers his daily run part of his work schedule, in stark contrast to the guilt trips I send myself on when I take time out of my work day to run, despite getting to make my own schedule as a freelancer. Lately, I have been following Murakami’s lead, and using my daily workout as a way  to sharpen my focus and increase my energy–a side effect of any kind of exercise, at any speed.

I have printed out yet another set of motivational quotes. The most pertinent one currently: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” (Gandhi)

I have tuned in to the beauty around me on my runs. The Washington, D.C., region is swimming in pink this week, from the cherry blossoms downtown to the equally beautiful magnolia blossoms on my block in Silver Spring. I have made a special effort to notice and appreciate them, and to remember that you can appreciate the beauty of the natural world while running 9:30-minute miles, too.

Beautiful magnolia trees in bloom on my block.

Finally, I’m officially retooling my race schedule. I don’t get to start physical therapy until after my next appointment with my wrist surgeon on April 22, eight weeks post-surgery. No swimming until then, either. I’m starting to realize this means I probably shouldn’t be planning to throw my hand into the giant, frenzied, aqua-fist-fight that is the beginning of the 1-Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim in June. Nor should I be planning to run the hard, hilly Blue Ridge Parkway Half-Marathon in April, since my 5-mile group runs with Pacers Silver Spring still feel like marathons. Instead, I’m setting my sights on a few 5Ks and 10Ks: the Earth Day 5K in Silver Spring, the ZOOMA 10K in Annapolis on June 6, and the Clifton Caboose Twilight Run 5K on June 12 suggested by the race director, Gary, who suffered a similar injury to mine last winter. But I’m not signing up for anything until I feel good and ready–if I can be patient enough to skip working out entirely for six weeks, I can certainly be patient with myself for a few more weeks now.

Finally, thanks for being patient with me, and for continuing to stop by the blog despite the infrequent updates. Your comments boost my spirits, making me feel like I have my own personal cheering section in this slow, ugly race back to wellness!


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13 responses to “Motivation Monday: the ‘living in the moment’ edition

  1. This is a great post! I have been dealing with the same impatience lately too and you’re absolutely right about living in the moment. A great lesson for a beautiful Monday. Hang in there 🙂

  2. Alexis

    You always have a way to put a positive spin on things & appreciate things!

    In your possible race line up – saw that Zooma made it back on your list. Sadly, I’ll be working that weekend, but on a positive note, thanks for giving me the motivation to participate in it last year (I’m hooked now).

  3. Emily

    I LOVE that Murakami book. Very inspiring. If you haven’t yet, you should check out his fiction.

  4. trialsoftraining

    glad to hear you’re still truckin’ over there! 🙂

    on a side note – I saw your contribution to the latest edition of RW! Omg, I got SO excited when I saw your name!! (re: marathoner from Bethesda) GO AMY!

  5. Gary

    Recovery starts to pick up steam about now, Amy. You’ll find that every day or two you can do something you couldn’t do before, or that something bothers you a little less. I took great pleasure in some little things–being able to touch my fingertips to my thumb, washing my hair with two hands, and being able to squeeze a tube of toothpaste again. You are closer to the end than you probably realize…

    • I totally needed to hear that this morning! The great thing is, I can already see it happening. Just two weeks ago, I could barely move my wrist in any direction, and it looked more like Voldemort trying to take a human form in a Harry Potter movie than a part of my body. Now, my range of motion is pretty decent, and my scar looks like a scar rather than a wound. Thanks, as always for the words of encouragement!

      • Gary

        I’ve been having what I think of as ‘breakthrough days’–today was one. My wrist has been pretty much immobile in the upward direction. That is, with my palm facing downward even the physical therapist couldn’t get my hand to move up more than a trivial amount. It was like it was obstructed in some way. Today it can move. Not a huge amount, but it is suddenly ‘unstuck.’ It is hard to keep doing your exercises and stretches when it doesn’t seem like they are working, but once you have one of those breakthrough moments you find the motivation again. Hope you are enjoying your run today–it’s perfect weather for it!

  6. i love that ghandi quote. however it may talk me into walking or run/walking instead of running 😉

    glad you are doing well! very patient of you to accept the slow healing process and truly be taking it slow.

  7. Ange

    heyy amy!

    I stumbled on your site, while researching inspirational quotes for injured athletes lol..I know i’m too cool! I broke my wrist as well, I get to upgrade from a half cast to a real cast tomorrow yayyy Anyways just wanted to say thanks for the positive posts, i’ve quickly learned how easy it is get caught up in a negative mindset. Anyways, here’s a quote I found tonight…Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears. –Marcus Aurelius

  8. I’m so glad that things are healing. It must be frustrating, but your attitude is tremendous!

  9. Madeleine Cho

    I found your sites about a month ago, but I wasn’t ready to accept some of the stuff you said about dealing with an injury. I’ve done a lot of thinking and stuff and I’ve come back to your site and you have some really great advice.
    I’ve been out for about two and half months now and still have at least another two-three weeks before I can play my sports again. I’m playing two weeks no matter what because I have tryouts. I was already out for two and half months last summer when I originally fractured my pelvis, but I didn’t rehab properly and after playing on it for seven and a half months it finally had enough. I realized that when I could only run a 3 on the beep test due to pain.
    I’m going through the return to play process now and I’m starting to realize it has it’s own hard times and your posts are helping me get through this and back to the field.

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