Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Learning to Listen

One of the most important things I have learned over the last few months is to listen to my body. I have found this very difficult since I got so used to "Push! Push! Push!" But when I began to feel ill when I ran I learned that my body did not always respond to the pushing. Last year when I started having chest pains and retaining water my body started dragging behind. Almost every run was more like dragging a huge, heavy bag of wet tators behind me. It took everything I had to just pick one foot up one at a time and keep my body moving forward.

I can't say I have adjusted well to the changes I had to make and I didn't start out really listening to my body very well. But over the last few weeks my running has improved and my stamina has increased. I really have to say some of that is due to making the necessary adjustments and really tuning in to what my body is saying. I find this very frustrating!

Why do I find it frustrating? Because I want to just go run or workout and not have to think so much. I had a great half marathon on Sunday and felt horrible ever since. That makes it hard on the attitude. However, I'm determined to keep a good attitude and to remain positive. I actually felt bad a couple of days before the race and was totally stressed out which really complicates things. Then Monday and today I had a really rough time. That's frustrating if I let it be - but I decided to think back about how well the race went Sunday and rejoice in that rather than let the blues get hold of me.

So yesterday and today I listened to my body and did almost nothing. I tried to ride a little on the stationary bike but was too winded last night. Today I started feeling better and this so I got out for about a 2 mile walk through the park behind my apartments. I'm feeling a lot better and plan on getting back to running tomorrow. It's tough having to listen to my body instead of pushing it on out the door.

I am learning to eat smarter and workout smarter. I have talked to a lot of different people as I feel some major changes are necessary since I am going to train for another full marathon. I've already made some changes to my diet and I'm slowly bumping up my exercise program. I'm also learning to be "okay" on the days I just don't have it. I don't plan on letting those down days hinder me, but I'll make the necessary adjustments to make it work.

Even though I haven't officially started my marathon training - my mind has already geared toward it and I've starting making lots of mental and physical changes. I think slow, determined changes are likely to be more permanent. So I find myself in an endless state of transition. I'm uncomfortable. But I'm okay with it because I think the changes are good. I have to adjust more on days when I don't feel good - and I struggle with lots of questions about my future and running. But I refuse to give up...I will not quit. Adjust - yes; quit - no! On good days I wonder if the cardiologist even knew what he was talking about - on the bad days I get frustrated because the symptoms shout that he was right.

It's a delicate balance and I am in the process of learning how to maximize the good days without overdoing it. And I have to learn how to not let the bad days get me down. I will do this - I am just not sure exactly how.

Thanks for listening. Every step a victory!


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