Personal Reflection from the experiences of one of our 2018 Mentors, Tim M
-Thank you Tim, for writing this blog for us! I know many new, as well as seasoned runners will have to deal with pain and discomfort at some point during their training, but your thoughts add a new perspective to our perception of pain, one most of us have never thought of or considered.
“Pain has been a full-time life companion since August 3, 2002. That’s the day I t-boned a car at full speed with my motorcycle. There were lots of surgeries, PT and OT. However, eventually everyone has to “go it on their own”. I no longer had the instruction and encouragement of medical professionals.
So the voice of pain began to speak to me. It spoke hopelessness, despair and doom over everything; especially physical activity. If it hurt, I didn’t do it! I gained weight and slowed down. It took a heart incident in 2010 to get me off my butt. It was time to fight back. I began to walk, hike, and later on run and hike mountains.
So if you are in pain there are many questions. How active should you be? When should you stop? First, do everything under doctor supervision. I have an open active relationship with my doctor.
My source of pain is traumatic arthritis. Fifteen years after the accident, pain is a bigger challenge then when the accident happened. So if I was giving you advice I would say, “I know you are in pain. Every day it hurts! You cannot do what you used to do! Each morning it takes serious effort to get up and keep moving. But it is a mistake to allow the symptoms of arthritis to keep you from enjoying a vibrant active life.”
I have two enemies to my recovery: immobility and a sedentary lifestyle. If I sit around, pain and depression will overwhelm my life. We can use activity like a medicine. Physical activity lubricates the joints, maintains their range of motion, improves blood flow and stabilizes the muscles around arthritis joints. All of this reduces inflammation and pain; as long as the exercise is within a range that you can perform without injury or further damage to your joints.
Also for me, running, hiking and being active have countless spiritual and psychological benefits.
This is what I do to keep going: I run with others. Many times I would have never run apart from knowing a friend was waiting. I make running a social activity. I love the TCTC fun runs. I rarely run as hard as I can. Running as a low-grade activity is helpful to fight arthritis. I keep informing my doctor about my latest adventures. On bad days I whine and complain. I am not fighting the presence of pain, I am fighting being taken prisoner by pain.”
~ by Tim M (pictured in red TCTC singlet)