Today, I’m sharing thoughts on something I’ve been struggling with lately. I’m sharing because sometimes I feel like it feels good to get things out of your system, and maybe someone reading can relate to what I’m feeling. I also don’t believe that I should only post when I have an awesome weekend or run a crazy long race…I’ve been struggling, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I am going to talk about it. The main reason, though, why I’m writing about this is that I’m hoping that in a few months, I can look back on this post and feel proud about how far I’ve come. [Also, future me will probably laugh at current me for being so dramatic. Whatever, screw future me!]
Anyway, I digress.
This morning, I ran for the first time in 2015.
My last run on December 31st was a respectable 4.5 miles, at a <9:30/mi pace, to round out the month of December with a total of 31 miles ran. I was feeling pretty good about my progress at the end of December – I’d had a couple of weeks off work and was either running or at the gym pretty much every day and feeling like I was getting in pretty good shape.
I worked out at the gym after my first day back at work, and ended up feeling weak and leaving after my cardio warm up. Little did I know that I had caught a gnarly chest cold and cough that would keep me away from physical activity for a whole two weeks. I still rode my bike to work every morning and played dodgeball, but otherwise I tried to focus on getting better
and drinking all the NyQuil.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had a cold so bad that I had to skip more than one workout. Don’t get me wrong, I skip workouts all the time – because I want to sleep in, because I stayed out too late the night before, or even because I’d just straight up rather cuddle in bed than bike to the gym at 7am. The difference in those situations is that, if I later ended up regretting not working out, I could blame it on myself. I knew that regret was a direct result of my own actions and that I could have prevented it.
That wasn’t the case here. I couldn’t work out and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. (Except complain, my boyfriend might tell you 😉 )
To ease my way back into it, I went to a yoga class last weekend and felt good, so I went back to the gym twice this week to get my body moving again, albeit slowly, on the elliptical.
However, because I was experiencing so much discomfort in my chest and lungs, running had been out of the question since December 31st. My sickness resulted in three weeks of no runs. The last time I skipped more than one week of runs wasn’t when I broke my thumb last summer. It wasn’t even the last time I got a cold last winter. It was when I had a medical procedure done in December 2012. Over two years ago.
To keep up a certain level of physical activity for over two years, and then abruptly stop for more than two weeks, affected me more than I anticipated. And it affected me differently than I anticipated, e.g. emotionally more than physically. [It didn’t help, of course, that I have a busy job and am still mourning the loss of my grandma, but that is neither here nor there.]
This all came to a head last night when I contemplated going for a run this morning. I was afraid of how hard it was going to be. I was afraid I would have to stop mid-run. I was afraid my pace would be slower than it was before, meaning I am weaker now.
When I expressed this to my boyfriend, he suggested the idea that giving your body a break is a good thing. He said I’d probably be a little sore, but that it won’t take too many runs to get back to where I was.
I’m not gonna lie, I totally didn’t believe him (sorry Russ). But because I really had no reason not to, other than being afraid, I woke up this morning and ran 3 miles.
It wasn’t my fastest, and it wasn’t my furthest, but I didn’t stop, and more importantly, I didn’t feel weak.
Apparently the thing I needed the most to get me out of my funk was the thing I was most afraid of.
Now I know that my boyfriend was right. It might take a little bit of time and some soreness, but I will get back into it. And hopefully, I will still be able to achieve what I was hoping for: a half marathon this spring.
Have you ever had a setback due to injury or illness?
Is there any advice you’ve been given that you hate hearing, but know it’s true?