Learning How to Bounce

“Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” Vivian Komori

Meditations in Motion

Hubs and I ran 6 miles at our local Relay for Life yesterday. One of the men he used to work with organizes a team, raises funds, puts up a tent, and, with help from his family, cooks breakfast for everyone who attends, hundreds of people. He donates (or arranges the donation of) all of the food for the breakfast – pancakes, ham, fruit, baked goods, juice, and coffee. What a selfless and generous guy!

Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Our Lancaster County version of the event raised over $700,000 by the time Bill and I left. Donations keep coming in for a few days after the relay, so that total will increase.

Even though Bill no longer works at his office, we wanted to contribute, so we made a donation and signed up for a time slot.

We arrived a few minutes early, said hello to everyone, and stepped out on the track.

Meditations in MotionYou might think running laps for an hour on the track would be pretty boring, and if it weren’t for the event taking place, it might be, but there are lots of walkers and some other runners to watch. While we ran, a vocalist, a dancer, and a blues band entertained the crowd and participants in a costume contest vyed for donations.

Running on the flat, springy track was actually very easy on the legs and the hour passed by in no time. We wound up completing a little over six miles.

When we got home, I looked at some of the photos from last year’s event, which reminded me of how I struggled with a hamstring injury then. The laps I did last year were more of a run/walk than a run. I felt frustrated, disheartened, and dejected.

Now, many runners have come back from injuries far more serious than mine, but at my age when an injury occurs, stories can have very different endings, depending on the severity of the injury and the resilience of the runner.

Some runners elect to hang up their running shoes and some gut it out.

Meditations in Motion

One runner in our running club (I’ll call her Rose) suffered from plantar fasciitis for months. She tried many different methods to reduce the pain – icing the arch of her foot, stretching her calves and Achilles tendons, wearing a night splint, and doing special exercises. None of these techniques worked to stop the sensation of walking on glass shards. Rose still joins our weekly get-togethers these days,Β but as a walker.

Another member (I’ll call him Mike) suffered from degeneration of the cartilage in his hip. His doctor told him he should have hip replacement surgery and that it would end his running days. Mike resisted the operation for as long as possible, then found an orthopedist who assured him that running on his new hip was indeed feasible. He opted for the hip replacement with the new physician and is still running well into his late 70s.

What is it that makes some people thrive in the face of adversity? Why do certain individuals have an extraordinary ability to gather their resources and overcome obstacles? How can I be like them?

One of the characteristics I notice about these individuals is their compassion, not only for others but for themselves as well. They are their own best friend. When adversity strikes, they don’t beat themselves up, or heap blame upon their own head, they are kind to themselves and act as problem-solvers, rather than focusing on culpability.

Another trait of resilient people is they are light on their feet, able to navigate the unexpected with little difficulty. When recovery doesn’t go exactly as planned, they are able to come up with a Plan B, C, or even D. Resourcefulness is a big component of resilience.

Meditations in Motion

The intrinsic belief that you are able to handle adversity, sometimes called self-efficacy, is common in individuals who can overcome trouble. The ability to bounce back, or recover from failure is important.

Finally, a calm, confident attitude builds resilience. I know from experience if I become frantic, anxious, or angry my ability to handle life’s curveballs decreases precipitously. When I believe I can handle adversity, I am more likely to actually be able to overcome hardships.

Lots of external variables affect our ability to recover too, including the existence of a healthy support network and the severity of the misfortune faced. Still, when faced with adversity, I want to learn how to be like Mike. I want to bounce.

β€œComfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.” – Billy Graham

 

I am linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Weekly Rundown, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, Esme Salon for Senior Salon, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa, Kooky Runner for Tuesday Topics, InstaEncouragements, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, and My Random Musings for Anything Goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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73 comments

  1. I love all these words and thoughts, Laurie πŸ˜‰ As you know, I was thoroughly tested, almost two years ago, when my surgery side-lined me for three months (in the heat of summer, none the less!). Honestly, I think I only had two short self-pity sobbing sessions (in the confines of a sterile hospital room with nothing else to do LOL). I was just SO THANKFUL my situation wasn’t any worse…and I chose to focus on being grateful. Shifting my focus to the big picture, instead of the here-and-now, was life-changing for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you have had to bounce too, Kim. If you only had 2 pity parties, you are doing great! I had to struggle with that almost every day. Gratitude is the best way to fight feeling sorry for yourself. Overall, we are all lucky to get to do something like running that we love and that connects us to other people.

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  2. I would definitely say that I am resilient, that I have had to bounce, but I do ruminate about it! I do my homework and I’m confident about how I manage my setbacks (and they have been numerous the past couple of years), but I wouldn’t say I’m calm about it! LOL. One thing that helps keep me positive is writing about it on my blog. I don’t want my posts to be a whine session and focusing on the positive helps me turn those thoughts around. Although I have to admit I’ve struggled with that more lately than I ever have.

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    • Wendy, from what you have told me, I would say you are super resilient. You should give lessons on resiliency! I agree with you – writing about it and “talking” with other bloggers has helped me immensely. so glad we have this supportive community to turn to! πŸ™‚

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  3. Bouncing back is SUCH an important skill. I am scared of bees/hornets/anything that stings. A mile phobia — a little past the normal fear of stinging insects, but not to the point to panic attacks.

    So there we were on the deck, Bandit on my lap, drying off. One bee came buzzing around. Normally my instinct is to go inside. Bandit’s instinct, apparently, is to eat the bee, but he does listen to me and my very firm “leave it”. I closed my eyes and did some deep breathing.

    The bee flew away . . . then flew back, and then there were two. And suddenly there were three! Mr. Judy grabbed some stuff we had on the table, thinking it was attracting the bees, and went inside. Every instinct in me said run after him!

    But I stayed mostly calm, again closing my eyes & breathing deeply. I must say I was really proud of myself! Mastering our fears, not giving in to anxiety . . . it’s definitely not easy.

    Now let’s hope the bees stay away while we’re eating dinner out there tonight . . .

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  4. I definitely can relate to this pain of injury! 5 months off with a broken leg was so hard for me…I have to remind myself how far I’ve come in a year and not think about where I was pre-broken leg!

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    • Oh, no! See, I have no right to complain as much as I did. I just had a hamstring strain. It was misdiagnosed and hung around for almost 2 years. Comparisons to the pre-injury days are definitely not your friend. I struggle with that too. At least we are both running again now.

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    • Absolutely! I saw an amazing orthopedist, who is also a kinesiologist and an Ironman. He was recommended by a fellow blogger. As soon as I saw him, the hamstring issue, which had been bothering me for almost 2 years, disappeared almost overnight.

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  5. Laurie I think you’d enjoy Jon Beverly’s book Run Strong Stay Hungry. He shares the stories of several runners, elite and not, and how/when/why then decided to quit running. The book goes on to tips to keep the “fire burning” but the parameters we set for ourselves are really fascinating. Some people really agonize while other simply roll and adapt.

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  6. Plantar fasciitis is a pain in the butt. I’ve had it for a few years but it’s in remission now. My friend Tom showed me a really complicated seated stretch for it. I used it for a long time and then I realized it would be much easier to do standing. Let me see if I can describe it.

    It’s essentially the old-school calf stretch you do against a wall. Rear leg (the one you’re stretching) is at a 45 degree-ish angle to the floor (or what ever angle gives you a suitable stretch), foot flat on the floor, knee hyper-extended (that is the important part). I walk my front foot side to side and really lean into the stretch. I can feel the stretch in my calf moving around with my front foot.

    This was one of the most popular stretches back in the seventies (when no one had ever heard of plantar fasciitis). I swear by this. I’ve had low level PF for two years now (since I started Tom’s stretch), but since I started doing it standing up, it has mostly gone away… until I get lazy and stop stretching.

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    • You have had PF for a few YEARS??? Wow! I had it for a month or two (years ago) and thought I was gonna die. I do the calf stretch before every run now, and I have always done it standing up. I never walked my front foot around, though. I will have to try that. I also follow Tom’s advice for my hammie every day. Thank you so much for pointing me in his direction!

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  7. I’ve heard of Relay for Life but never participated in one. I love that your husband’s former coworker does so much for it. Definitely a generous guy!

    Sometimes we are can be our own best friend or our own enemy. We are proud of what we do but then sometimes we are too critical.

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  8. We used to have the Relay for Life at Council Point Park – it was over two days. I contacted the American Cancer Society and offered to join a team, but they were all teams that were families, friends or co-workers, so it was suggested I form my own team. I didn’t know anyone to ask so I did not join. This year they moved the race to Heritage Park (the site of yesterday’s 5K) and this year only did it from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the Saturday only. I don’t know why it was an abbreviated event. I saw a woman runner yesterday – she could not have been 5 feet tall and could not have weighed 90 pounds soaking wet. She was “brown as a berry” as that expression goes, and from the neck down she had the physique of a pre-teen, but her face told me she might be 80 (unless it was all that sun exposure). She ran like the wind at any rate.

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    • Our Relay for Life has been shortened too. It used to be 24 hours – from 5:00 p.m. on a Friday to 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday. Now it only goes until noon on Saturday. Attendance and participation are down, maybe for the reason you mentioned – some people would like to participate, but don’t want to form a team. The runner you saw sounds like my running friend Heide.

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      • That is too bad because all the random participants might have been enough to form a team together or raise funds on their own. I think this woman who resembled Heide must have been running for a long time. She was the definition of sinewy.

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  9. “a calm, confident attitude builds resilience.” So very true…great post. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve never been a runner so I’ll settle for being a walker. LOL!

    Stopping by from #AnythingGoes

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  10. That’s an interesting statement about compassion, I wonder if these people see themselves as bouncy. The two things that helped me with plantar fasciitis were stretching (and more stretching) and some killer inserts. It took a few tries and more than one company to get it right but we finally came up with something. Also, the right shoes are so important and of course weight loss, I guess that’s four things.
    That’s a tremendous amount of money to raise, great job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to have more compassion for others than myself. I am trying to extend that inclination to me as well as other people. Stretching helps with most running issues, I have found. I do an Achilles stretch every day and started buying running shoes at a running shoe store, rather than a bargain place.

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  11. I’ve never had a really horrible injury that I’ve had to bounce back from, but I have had a really horrible marathon that I had to bounce back from. I took a week off from running after that disaster of a race, allowed myself to be mad and then told myself to get over it and push forward.

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  12. I’m glad you noticed such a difference in how you were doing as you took part in this year’s event compared to last year’s. Learning to be resilient and to bounce back after facing difficulties is such an important trait to develop.

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    • Running on a track made the differences between this year and last more obvious. Resilience is one of the best things we can teach our kids (or grandkids!)

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  13. I’m always amazed at how much I enjoy running on the track. It’s really not boring! You’re sharing great thoughts as usual. I think being a mother has taught me to remain calm and push through. Panic never helps a situation, and giving up is not an option!

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    • So true. Panic never helps. Unfortunately, my first split-second reaction is to do exactly that! I have learned to overcome my instinct, however, and at least appear to remain calm!

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  14. I’ve never participated in Relay for Life but I know it’s a wonderful event. I’m glad you were able to run much more comfortably this year! Love the thoughts on being able to bounce. I try to be as resilient as I can when it comes to facing adversity – in running life and real life – but sometimes it can be hard to keep finding a solution when it seems that you’ve tried all your options.

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    • It is a wonderful, worthwhile event. And a lot of fun! I was almost at that point (feeling like I had run out of options) with my injury, but then I found a miracle doctor and turned the situation around.

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  15. I love that you find these resilient souls to be compassionate with themselves as well as others. We so frequently forget that we are important too and that’s key to taking care of ourselves as well as having faith in our ability to bounce.

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    • Yes. for some reason, it is easier to give others a break than ourselves. We do tend to demand perfections from ourselves when we would give another person a second chance.

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  16. Unfortunately, there seems to be an unwritten belief system – at least in the USA – that if something bad happens to you, you have done something to deserve it. Logic tells us this is almost always false. We have zero control of the choices of others whose actions may affect our lives, and our bodies often have a mind of their own. We can do everything medical science tells us to do for our health, but these things while perhaps being helpful, cannot overcome all the possible vagaries of the human body. And yet, we often carry a sense of failure when something bad happens to us. This undeserved sense of failure can get in the way of moving forward with positivity. We need to learn to become comfortable with the idea that we have little to no control over life, so that we can accept when life throws us a curve ball and then adapt.

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  17. I don’t think we naturally connect self-compassion with resilience so I love that you make that connection here, Laurie! Brilliant. To keep going on for the long haul, we have to be kind to ourselves along the way. πŸ™‚

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  18. So glad that you guys were able to contribute again this year. I walk in the breast cancer walk every year and donate every year and it is so refreshing. My grandmother and my great grandmother had breast cancer and the greatest experience I’ve ever had was crossing the finish line with my grandmother as she celebrated being a survivor!

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  19. Yes, having resilience is a great way to be able to bounce back from whatever life throws our way. It can be challenging and for some it can take years to bounce back but I say, no matter how long it takes as long as you bounce back that is the important part. Very inspiring post! #GlobalBlogging

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