EXERCISES FOR LOWER BACK

Sure, Khannouchi was disappointed to have missed out on the Olympics yet again (incredibly, he has never gone), but at least he seemed to be on the comeback trail. Not so. His foot problems returned, and in the spring of 2009 he underwent a surgery that he was still recovering from when I spoke to him several months later. As a fellow brittle runner driven to the brink of madness by recurring bodily mutiny, I asked Khannouchi how he had managed to keep his injury frustrations from driving him insane. €œIt is frustrating when you want to go and compete and improve, but your body doesn’t allow you to, he said. €œBut I’m always a true believer that whatever is there for you, you will get. No panic whatsoever. If something is there for me, it’s going to wait for me. In talking to Khannouchi, I discovered that he had forged a genuine peace with his limitations and their consequences, even as he continued to strive for the most he could do within those limitations. €œI love the fact that I’m a runner, that I can be my own boss, he told me. €œI still want to do that if I can. But if I can’t, at least I can jog and go do races at a slower pace and have fun with people. Khalid Khannouchi is a Muslim, and in the vocabulary of his faith he came to a place of acceptance that enabled him to enjoy running despite not being able to run as he pleased. I am not a Muslim, yet my own injury woes have led me to pretty much the same place of acceptance, probably because that’s the only state of mind that allows me to continue to find fulfillment in running when the spirit yearns to perform but the body is unable. All mature religions and philosophies teach an outlook of acceptance. In Buddhism, accepting things as they are is the path to enlightenment and happiness. The Buddha taught that it is useless to try to eradicate all causes of suffering from your life or to try to numb your capacity to hurt. Suffering will always be there. Indeed, €œlife is suffering, he said. It is better to accept the inevitability of suffering and the truth of each specific episode of distress, because such acceptance actually takes some of the sting out of the suffering. Knee pain is bad, but knee pain that you curse or deny is twice as bad as knee pain that you accept as an occasional part of being a runner. What’s more, knee pain that you accept is likely to go away faster than knee pain that you curse or deny, as the mind has a powerful influence on healing and a positive mind-set is a healing mind-set.

EXERCISES FOR LOWER BACK

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