Day 37 - No such thing as linear progress
Updated: Jul 9
As you could probably tell from the last rest day post, my confidence that my body would sort itself out again was not 100%, I was trying my best to just act as though it would be okay in the hope that it would be. I am no longer surprised, but there was a huge sense of relief as the knee got less painful over the past two days and I commented to Si, as we were doing the shopping, that it was so nice to be back to walking without pain on a rest day. I slept well last night and so woke up rested. I am still unclear exactly what happened to cause the knee to be so painful, but I am fully aware that everyday is uncharted territory for my body and these things may come up again. The benefit for next time, is that I now have two times that my right leg has played up a bit and both times within a week it has settled down again. I am genuinely starting to think that the stress from a sleepless night had a substantial role to play in the amount of pain I experienced. It would be good if there was a way to repeat what happened but with some sleep to see if there is evidence in support of my hypothesis.
I know I am psychologist and this should come as no surprise to me, but it appears clear to me that my mood has a direct relationship with my experience of pain and discomfort. This appears especially true of my left hip, I have definitely notice that when I am feeling low or tired my left hip twinges, however, when I am feeling upbeat I do not experience these twinges at all. Now what I cannot say is whether this is due a physical manifestation of my mood or a change in gait/posture due to mood and therefore a knock on effect on my body. Alternatively, it could be that there is an impact on my mood from the hip pain. Either way I cannot deny that there is a link, I am unable to say the causal direction of this interaction, however, I am sure I recall that there is research indicating that mood has an impact on our experience of pain (if anyone reading wants to do a quick literature review for me that would be helpful - JC?).
It seems to me that this is important to hold in mind during a long race. It seems to me that there are times when we really have an injury and then you should stop racing and rest and recover. However, I have learnt that sometimes it is more about your mood or state of mind that is exaggerating or inventing the pain, I am not saying that it is all in my head, I am sure my legs are complaining. It now seems important that if this happens in a race to complete a bit of a review of how I am feeling. If I am feeling low, eat some food, have a drink and then re-evaluate the situation and only then choose what to do. I think there are times that we are not fully committed to a race and it is much more likely that any challenge will impact us more, this is when we a likely to stop and it is, I think, to be at peace with this decision. Understand that there is often more at play than just training level. This is especially true if we a pushing our own boundaries in the search of our epic.
There is no such thing as linear progress in training and in life. Often we take a huge leap forward only to fall back a little way, even maybe further than we started. This should not stop us taking the leap. Every leap, every step, every moment is able to teach us something. It is very trite to say but it seems that the saying "no challenge, no change" is apt here.
I saw a post by Rich Roll recently that seemed to sum up this well, check out the original post here
"Here’s a hot take: doing anything well is f***ing hard. Mastery? Only a rare few are willing to tolerate what ordeal demands.
If you have a passion—if you aspire to elevate your life—if you want to see what you are truly made of, or just how far you can go and what you are truly capable of, please dispense with short cuts. Forget the hack.
Instead, commit. Invite the daily pressure that compels invisible progress over time. Embrace the anonymity of doing hard things in the dark when nobody is watching.
Wake up before dawn and apply yourself silently. Practice your craft—in whatever shape or form that may be—late into the evening with relentless rigor.
Welcome the fear and walk through it courageously.
Let go of perfection. Allow yourself to fail. Welcome the obstacles. Forget the results. Ignore the competition.
Give yourself over to your passion with every fiber of who you are. And live out the rest of your days trying to do better.
I can’t promise that you will succeed in the way our culture inappropriately defines the term. But I can absolutely guarantee that you will become deeply acquainted with who you truly are. You will touch and exude passion. Discover purpose—and what it means to be truly alive.
This is success.
Because the purpose, beauty, and satisfaction you desperately seek lies not in the accomplishment, but rather in the experience of striving towards it with everything you’ve got.
That’s the truth. That’s a promise.
A promise no short cut or hack can deliver. Not now, not ever.