Weekend Diversions 2.7.16

My back continues to heal, which is excellent news. My next doctor’s visit is in just over two weeks and I am increasingly confident I will be cleared to run (although, of course, I will do so with emphasis on moderation and mindfulness). I have started adding body weight and range of motion exercises into my routine, and I can already feel my muscles growing stronger. 

I suspect part of the reason I have persistent injuries is muscle weakness, especially in my hips and core. I often neglect this important strength work, because it takes time away from running. But now, having spent almost a year “forgetting” to do the exercises prescribed to me during my last sacral injury, I can’t run at all. Ten minutes of strengthening three or four days a week may mean less running on a daily basis but will lead to more running in the aggregate since I won’t have to take off eight weeks a year for rehab. 

I am learning to focus on long-term rewards. 

And now, for this weekend’s reading.

  1. The Presidential Candidates U-Turn on Addiction: The Fix, a website devoted to recovery from substance use, has analyzed the addiction policies of six front-running American presidential candidates. Substance use disorder is a rampant problem in this county and is emerging as a major political issue. Some candidates favor building a wall between the United States on Mexico and developing zero-tolerance policies, while others support increased availability of treatment medications and facilities. 
  2. Babies aren’t ‘Born Addcited’: A few months ago, inspired by an episode of Law and Order, a friend and I had a long conversation about the ethical implications of mothers who maintain addictions throughout childbirth. We could not decide if using constituted child abuse, since babies are weaned from physiological dependence at birth and the stress of withdrawal can be worse for a fetus than the consequences of continuing to use. Still, encouraging women to have and keep children while unhealthy themselves has the potential to create undue burdens on society. I am uncomfortable, however, blaming women for their pregnancies, especially women whose perceptions may be skewed or who feel pressured to keep babies they don’t want. I was glad to read this article from the Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions, which assesses the socio-political risks of criminalizing pregnant women with substant abuse disorders. Many women avoid obtaining proper medical care during their pregnancies out of fear of legal repercussions. Even women who have recently become sober, or are attempting to acheive sobriety in early pregnancy, can be jailed if they reveal their usage to their doctor. This constitutes a much bigger public health problem than addiction, which can be managed, because it can result in fractured families and poor support for infants and children. As always, the most compassionate path is to meet people where they are, in this case that means providing addiction therapy in conjunction with prenatal care to women who seek help. Creating these systems of support will help remove the stigma of addiction and will allow expectant mothers to receive the care they need and deserve. 
  3. The 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials: Who’s In and Who’s Out: On a much happier note, next week is the Olympic marathon trials.  Here is a quick survey from Runner’s World of some of the more prominent race contenders. I will unfortunately be at work during the event, but I hope to watch it when I am done. (I am especially excited because one of my cross-country teammates from college, Sarah Bard, will be competing.) 

Have a lovely rest of the weekend, and a positive start to the week! 

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