Good morning, friends!!
Anyone else out there have a problem with patience? Especially when it comes to being patient with yourself?
STORY. OF. MY. LIFE.
And…its my impatience (I totally blame being a go-getter New Yorker) that often leads me to setbacks that don’t move me forward and only end up dragging me down and feeling defeated.
I’m trying to break the mold this time around. And…trust me…this isn’t easy. Not at all. As I mentioned before, I recently participated in The Dopey Challenge at Disney World. Over 4 days, I ran 4 races…each of which got longer in length (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon), and I actually did really well on the races, given that I was bouncing into the parks every day and not resting up the legs. Honestly…I’m so super proud of my performance. This being the 2nd time I’ve participated in The Dopey Challenge and having improved on all the times of the races I actually raced (10K, Half, Full), I felt amazing (mentally) but tired and sore (physically) following the actual events. I went into the weekend with a sinus cold and came out of it with the Disney flu. I took a lot of days to recover…from sickness and the races. I knew, following Dopey, that I would need to let my body recover well. I still probably would have gone back to it sooner had my body not been drained from sickness. This past week, I decided to give easing back into it a try.
And I started on Wednesday with an hour long spin class…that totally kicked my ass. I was done within the first 20 minutes…my power, energy and speed all really dropping down. Our spin bikes light up to tell what zone you are in and I didn’t even care that I was in the white and blue instead of yellow and red like the rest of the class. I had to listen to my body. And while I valued the movement, I wasn’t going to push myself to try to hit a level my body wasn’t ready to reach yet.
Call that growth, because I do believe the me of the past would have felt the need to press on and keep up with the rest of the class. But I’ve also had a recurring stream of injuries to deal with the past 3 years. After building up and failing over and over again…you do actually gain wisdom. There is no shame in listening to your body and backing off intensity as you see fit. I put this body through a lot physically both with the races and then trying to fight off illness…it’s no wonder my body isn’t feeling as strong as it used to be.
Have I lost some fitness…you better believe I have. Some mornings, it is a struggle to just simply get through my PT exercises. And for as much as I have stressed their importance to me coming back stronger, the past 3 weeks have seen little to none of the stretches and exercises I was prescribed. And I didn’t feel guilty about it. My body needed the sleep and the time on the couch more than it needed the movement.
But, like any active person, my body does crave movement. I like moving my body. I just needed to give myself the time to get to where it could handle some. Nothing big. No long miles or hard runs. No pushing the limits on the spin bike. Just gentle movement.
This past weekend, with the weather warming up and the snow and ice melting away, I took advantage with my first run since Dopey. And, while I was out there for 30 minutes, believe it or not…only 8 minutes of it was actually spent running. I took my time to warm up with 5 minutes of walking…then did 4 x 2 minutes running/3 minutes walking…then a 5 minute cool down. And it felt hard…and amazing all at once. And that was how I needed to take it. I’m not ashamed that I only ran 8 minutes. I’m damn proud of those 8 minutes and what my body managed to do in that time. I took Sunday off completely and didn’t feel bad about it.
Today, it was close to 60 degrees this morning. So, I decided I would pull on a pair of SHORTS and take advantage by doing a short run. I decided to just run…easy…and deliberately…keeping the heart rate down…but do it without the walk breaks. It was the struggle bus. My body is still recovering, but I managed to do 20 minutes and keep the heart rate in Zones 1 and 2. I count that as a win. I went to spin afterwards, and that’s when my body let me know it was too much for the day. The first half of class I felt strong and almost normal, but my energy levels crashed soon after that…so I turned down the resistance, sat down when I needed, and just let my body do what it needed.
I’m not mad. I’m recovering. And I will still take complete rest days and lift lighter weights when strength training…and keep the intensity down. The me of the past would have taken this as failure…but I feel so empowered that I can trust my body, my mind, and myself to practice patience and self-love and trust that I will grow from this. Constant forward progression. Tired of taking steps back. It’s all a matter of changing the mindset. And I still struggle…but I know, in the end, this will make me a better, faster, stronger athlete.
AND…as another form of self-care and self-love, let me also emphasize that just because I am not working out doesn’t mean I’m not fueling my body. My body went through a lot and proper nutrition is key. I am not just eating fruit and low calorie foods just because I’m not working out. WRONG. I have actually changed a lot of what I eat to give me more nutrients and better sources of vitamins and fuel to help this body maintain fitness and strength through all of it. Starving your body only starves yourself of further potential and forward progress.
Patience is not an easy thing to practice. It’s something that can gnaw at you and really make you question yourself. Learning how to be patient with my body and myself has been one of the hardest things I have set out to do…and while it’s still a constant work in progress…I can see where my mindset has changed so that I am kinder to myself and…more willing to give myself the time I need to get to where I feel I want to be.
It’s worth it!