I was introduced to Holly by my friend Julie, who, I've mentioned, was the kick in my ass that got me rolling in the world of running. Holly is a fantastic physical therapist; laid back, personable, funny, and possesses the singlemost important trait a PT could offer me:
She doesn't tell me that running ultras is stupid.
This morning, I went for my second visit with her, just for a tune-up. I expect to be stretched and rubbed by her at least once more before the 100, and as I lay stretched on her table, her fingers drilling into my tweaked lower back muscles (I bent over last night to pick up my laundry basket and - surprise!), I remembered something I learned in massage therapy school a few years ago:
Take care of yourself. Nuture yourself. Be soft to your personal needs, and this, in affect, will soften you to the needs of others.
Too often, we're in a million places all at once, instead of within ourselves. We tell ourselves we "aren't good enough", that we failed, that next time we have to "try harder".
I had a dream the other night: I was in a pool, doing laps. Now, as you may or may not know, I'm a lousy swimmer. In the dream, I was trying to remember all of the stroke form-stuff I'd read, looked at, watched on DVD, etc, and I was clunky in the water; slogging along, out of rhythm. Then, suddenly, I relaxed in the water. My stroke became fluid, even, my hips rocking back and forth and at one point, my feet never once flutter kicked, yet I stayed afloat with arms long and languid.
I finished this peaceful lap, turned in the lane, and started back towards the other end of the pool, and at that moment, my dream went from 1st person to 3rd person. I saw my body softly gliding along the water's surface, gentle, calm, and at peace.
We all find ourselves beneath the water; thrashing, trying to stay afloat, battling the current, when all we need to do is relax, float to the surface, and enjoy the experience.