Monthly Archives: October 2016

Still My Own Worst Enemy

This injury continues to humble me. That is how I am choosing to classify it so I don’t think about the trapped feeling in my body that makes a claustrophobic panic throb in my chest. I am forcing myself to consider it a continued teacher, making me confront my addictive nature, utter lack of patience, and criticality of myself.

To reestablish its dominance, the injury has migrated, climbing from the hamstring attachment at the base of my buttcheek up to my sciatic nerve. The blooming pain and lack of my mobility in my lower back transports me directly back to each horrible contraction when my son’s skull crushed that nerve during delivery. An injury I thought I had already recovered from.

The combination of all these injuries is teaching me there is no such thing as recovery. They are reminding me that there is no getting “there.” It is all one continuous journey, in which the contributions of the past are ever present. And it stupid to try and ignore them.

I am being punished for my lack of patience. I tried to loophole my way out of rest. If it’s not aggravating it, I can keep going. That doesn’t hurt worse, so it’s fine. Sure, I can start my double workout days again.

Addict.

Only I could find a way to overdose on being healthy; only someone like me could push self-care into self-harm.

It seems like such an easy thing, to take a break, to rest. It should certainly be easier than working so hard, cramming workouts in at every opportunity, pushing my body until it literally breaks. Yet my mind is so entrenched in the habit. I am so completely dependent on the routine. I don’t know how to not do it.

I think I had partially convinced myself that I was OK, that I was mentally recovered because my outlets had become “healthy.” The symptomology became masked by the positive classification. However, it turns out that the underlying behavior has not evolved at all. Instead, it has only become more clever at hiding in plain sight.

It felt good thinking I had finally channeled my damage into healthy outlets, that I had finally figured that part of myself out. The idea that it was all my disorder tricking and manipulating me is wholly undermining and disconcerting. It shakes something about what I thought I knew about myself. And maybe that is the point: to remind me and shock me back out of complacency.

In my mind, I have been concocting an illusory correlation for this injury, repeating it in my brain until it sound true. I keep thinking to myself that I encouraged it. Immediately prior to my injury, I was having self-harm ideation.

It was a strange experience. When I actively self-harmed, I would cut or burn myself impulsively. It was a spontaneous and desperate coping mechanism to escape or change the emotional pain I was feeling. Yet, these recent thoughts I found creeping in my brain were calm. I found myself thinking about hurting myself or having a wound fondly. However, I was not depressed. I was not suffering; I did not need it as an out. More, I wanted to injury for a sense of familiarity, almost from an anthropological perspective of wanting to see what it would be like and how I would respond again. It was some sort of deformed nostalgia.

It was never an impulse I was in danger of acting on. There was no panic, no desperation, no distorted thoughts. Even as these strange ideas were bobbed in my head, I had the sanity to know that if I actually had these injuries I seemed to suddenly be courting, I would immediately hate them and everything they involved. I knew better.

I brushed it off as simply old issues surfacing and resolving in my head. I acknowledged them and watched them spiral out of sight. I only really talked to one person about it, as the idea of explaining to people I wanted to be hurt without wanting to be hurt seemed daunting. Then I let it go.

Then, what seemed like the next day, I pulled my hamstring. It feels like I invited it. It feels like I deserved it for having those old strains writhing back in my brain. I feel like I did this to myself (beyond literally doing it to myself by overtraining).

Or this is just me turning on myself. Finding more of a way to punish myself for not working out to quota. As always.

I have been in pretty consistent and, at times, intense pain for almost a week now. I have been living in KT tape for 3 days, not to exercise but just to function at all. Pain always inevitably pushes me into depression. And I have been cycling harder in that direction, with awkward pockets of mania most likely stemming from the workouts I should not be doing.

Now, the injury feels more psychological than anything. The pain and the problem is clearly physical (and persistent), yet my experience of it has shifted up to my mind and emotions. After over two months, it seems like I am learning the same core life lesson I keep relearning a hundred ways. I have to let go and just go with it, accept things as they are and adapt. I keep surrendering to this epiphany in one context then forgetting it in the next. As if any life experience could be an island.

It needs to stick this time. I need to implant the idea in the center of my brain so my body can stop teaching me that I am her bitch. And I am so completely her bitch.

I need to shift perspective. Per usual. Out of my broken negativity. Instead of dwelling on the pain and what I SHOULD be doing and what my body SHOULD be able to do, I need to remember to appreciate what I do have. Any physical ability is always a gift, never guaranteed (just like happiness in the mind).

Even more specifically, I need to honor how far my body has come for me in the past two years. I would have killed to be here as I shambled around after having my son.

I need to stop trying to be thinner and faster and stronger and more whatever the hell attribute I fixate on at the moment and actually be what I am (just like trying to be sane when I’m beautifully crazy), actually accept and love what I am. It can be worse; it has been worse. Lament never changes circumstance, only squanders it.

I know all of these things! I know better. I made all these realizations about my mind years ago. When will I extend these lessons to my body? When will I stop being so hateful to the physical? I have not changed from the teenager who loathed her young and slender body only to look back years later with regret. I squandered my youth on this bullshit. I don’t want to waste more time in pointless obsession. The fixation never leads to satisfaction, only perpetual, unrelenting discontent.

With this constant lower back twinge, I would happily run back to just my hamstring balking. With my achy hamstring, I would have happily regressed to my slowest running pace. Yet when I am healthy and functional, I am never content. That is when I turn on myself the most. Rather than basking in my own functionality and relishing the activities I can participate in, I viciously scrutinize my performance and results.

I made peace with my mind long ago. Most of the time, I do truly accept what my brain is and what that means. Most of the time, I even love it the way I am. It appears I turned all that critique to my flesh, to an impossible moving target that has nothing to do with reality.

I should know this. The lesson here is already one of my life mantras, tattooed on my goddamn arm so I could never forget. What sense could it possible make to make an exception for my body? I have drawn the correlation between the two. I no longer have an ignorant excuse for being so ridiculously foolish and emotionally masochistic.

Now, I have to draw the line and step over to the other side. I should probably start by resting until my back stops sending its cries tearing up my nerves.

run

Christina Bergling

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Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

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Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

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Great Pumpkin 5K

After two full months, I do not know what more to say about this race but that I ran it. The whole thing. Three full miles of gentle jogging. Since this was the first time I ran over a mile (or really a couple blocks) in two months, that is all that really matters.

Back to running.

FINALLY! Just in time for fall.

I really enjoy the Great Pumpkin Run at Venetucci Farm. I loved picking pumpkins there as a child, so the location holds a palpable nostalgia for me. Running through a pumpkin patch just seems to entirely encapsulate fall itself into one moment.

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This year, I honored my injury and registered for the 5K, instead of the 10K. The October morning was unseasonably warm, but I lined up at the start line with no expectations. I forced my obsessions down and focused on just enjoying whatever might happen. I made myself happy to just be out for a run at all.

As I broke out into a stride, bobbing among the crowd through the pumpkin patch, the run felt better than I expected. With a new configuration of KT tape, my hip felt shaky but not painful. I tried to hold back against the excitement of familiar movement and lean on the wisdom to baby the injury. In the first mile, I knew I was probably running past my hamstring and even my cardio, but it was hard to care with the autumn sun on my face and that reminiscent float blooming in my chest.

I calmed down as we rounded into the backwoods. Jogging through chilled, knee-deep water definitely slowed me. And also felt awesome. Water squished out of my shoes with each step on the mud. The more I ran, the better my leg felt, the more the rhythm of the movement became natural. My hamstring would only balk at an uneven forest mogul or rutted gravel path.

It just felt good to be running. I forced myself to not care about anything else.

Ultimately, it was my cardio that betrayed me. I felt those two months of not running with the heat on me. I struggled the last half mile, battled up a small hill, dry heaved across the finish. I managed 37 minutes, which is acceptable even on a good day. I will take it.

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My hamstring even did well after the run. The two recent runs have actually seemed to accelerate healing, increase flexibility. It’s like my body needs the exercise to be itself, but that might just be my addiction talking. I did tweak my hip the next day, but that was from unrelated circumstances, and I believe my chiropractor fixed it. He said the change in the pain was the injury unraveling from all the compensating I was doing. He assures me this is a good thing and progress. If he says so.

It is a start. It is a step towards normalcy. And I am going to learn to take it.

The entire experience is proving to be a learning one, more so than even my last injury. The way my obsession really hobbled me with the previous injury humbled me, taught me about myself and what was wrong with how I treat myself. I let my hatred of my post-baby body and my fixation on exercise and progress literally tear my hip and prevent it from healing for the better part of a year. It was an ugly thing to see about myself. I always knew it was there, yet it was another thing to tape the consequences every day.

And I just repeated the pattern. I healed, pushed myself too hard, and injured myself again. So, this time, I am making the conscious effort to break the cycle, to change my behavior, to learn from my repeated mistakes. I don’t want to be limping around or having body parts replaced when I am old because I could not take a damn break. I don’t want to injure myself any more than I already have managed.

So, as I move into my favorite running season, I am going to strive to still temper myself. I am going to attempt a balance, which I have never had any talent for. I live in extremes, but I am going to push myself for moderation. It will require me to compromise with myself, who might be the person I compromise with the least (and that is saying something). It will also require me to be lenient with myself, relent a bit from my own torture, give myself a break.

This should be interesting.

 

Christina Bergling

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SavagesCoverChristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com


Hot Chocolate 5K (+1)

I have been injured almost 8 weeks now. 8 weeks on Friday but who is counting? 8 long, never ending, torturous weeks.

My hamstring has improved, marginally. The pain used to be unbearable. It also used to extend the full length of the tendon. Now it has receded to the attachments and only whines at certain positions or movements. Yet, for the first 7 weeks, I could not run on it. At all.

I tried. Of course, I tried. I went to run club one night and could not even make it a block before the pain wrapped around my hip. Every time I fell into a stride, it only got worse. So I gave up and forced myself to remain patient, which is hardly my strong suit. I did not avoid activity. I could not foresake my addiction. So I poured myself more into barre (which is what caused this damn injury) and more into zumba and more into lifting. My body (aside from my hamstring) seems happy about it (and is changing), and my mind is pacified.

Yet, this weekend, I was able to run for the first time. Sort of. Kind of. A little bit.

We did the Hot Chocolate 5K in Denver, and I brought my 5 year old daughter.

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The Hot Chocolate Run is always a fun and easy run. Usually, it is nice and cold, though not at all this year. The course is flat through downtown Denver. And we’re really there for the chocolate not a PR. The only time I strove was doing the 15K last year (and I passed my goals!). But, especially with the kiddos, we were just there to be active and have fun.

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If you asked me at the end of the run how things went, I would say, great! However, if you asked me during, it would depend entirely on the mile.  We all started out strong. Happy kids. I was even able to run (after experimenting with a new KT approach). It was all smiles and jogging.

Then, around mile 1, my child lost it a bit. She hit her wall. Just like her momma, it came in the beginning of the run. There were tears and whining and bargaining, but somehow we managed to encourage her to the first chocolate station. After that, she was a delight.

Unfortunately, she tagged out her tiny bestie. My best friend’s daughter then hit her wall. Just like her own momma, she struggled to the end. More whining and crying and tears across the finish line.

However, all averaged out, it did actually go very well.

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Once again, my friend and I realized that oiur children are, in fact, us running without filters. My daughter had to overcome her wall in the opening miles, just like I do, convincing herself to go until it didn’t hurt anymore. All the things she whimpered definitely go through my head at that point in the run. I have just learned to talk myself out of them and push through. So I attempted to push through my irritation and be that voice for her.

While the girls did the 5K, my husband did the 15K. Without training for it at all. I envied him both because he was physically capable of running distance and that he could run said distance without working for it. I always kill myself for every mile, train relentlessly. The results rarely match the effort. Neither do his, apparently, but in the opposite direction. Yet I was also proud of him for accomplishing it. I hope his soreness leads to more of a fitness commitment.

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Then, of course, there was the chocolate and the sweet hoodie. Incentives I will always come back for. We have already registered for next year.

October is the start of my running season, which is making this injury all the more difficult to accommodate. I am missing my favorite run (Cripple Creek). I downgraded my registration for the Great Pumpkin from 10K to 5K (I adore the 10K of this race). The temperatures are dropping, and I can’t be out on the trail. Yet I can’t force the flesh. I do not want to make it worse. I just keep telling myself that there will be other falls. These weather conditions and these races are annual.

I can do this. I can recover.

On Saturday, I will be doing the Great Pumpkin 5K. I’m curious to see how much I am able to run. Or maybe how much I able to permit myself to not run.

 

Christina Bergling

christinabergling.com
facebook.com/chrstnabergling
@ChrstnaBergling
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SavagesCoverChristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com