Resisting gravity, I was trying to complete a negative pull-up when a dagger-sharp pain hit me in the right pectoralis. I stopped immediately. Trauma narrowly avoided. I had to ice last night and this morning. It's now a dull pain, but I think I sidestepped a serious injury.
It occurred to me that we often have a hard time differentiating between discomfort and injury. I felt a great deal of discomfort near the end of the 100 pushups on a bosu ball. Discomfort is something to work through. I felt a sharp pain on the first rep of the assigned 60 reps of jump-pulls. That sharp pain insisted that I stop.
The following is from Kim Green's blog, The Greenery. It's a short excerpt from a piece about making pilgrimage. She allowed me to write it for her. I think it captures the difference between discomfort and injury pretty well. You can read the whole thing here.
If you’re uncomfortable—well, walk on, brother. Discomfort and injury are not the same. You can, and I would argue, should, endure discomfort. Bored by the flat Meseta? Get over it. Your feet hurt? That’s to be expected. Your shoulder hurts? Typical. You’ve got a blister? Who doesn’t? You have a tummy ache? Is it going to feel better if you stop? If not, walk on, sister. Walk on.
If you’re actually injured, then all bets are off. There’s no honor in self-destruction. There is no glory in permanent damage to a body. That’s just ego. If you’re injured, cab or train to the nearest place of treatment. Assess the damage, and move forward as directed by a physician.
I have maintained a daily yoga practice for the past several hundred days. I intend to keep that up. I love the addition of strength training, but consider that an add-on. It's not the goal for me. The goal is movement. The goal is long-term benefit. I'll stick with the strength training too, but there's simply no need to endure an injury. So, I'll dial it back - just a bit - and keep up the work.
Discomfort, I don't mind. Injury, I will try to avoid.