As I have been learning to navigate a new, physical pain journey this year, my good team of health professionals have been singing from the same song sheet. “Listen to your body” has been their consistent chorus.
Now to be honest, that’s something I have never been very good at. I have usually pushed on when I should have slowed down. I have too often listened to other competing voices, rather than what my body was at times shouting out!
And so, it’s with “L plates” on that I have been seeking to heed the counsel of wise advice over recent months.
I have felt a tad embarrassed when messaging my work colleagues to let them know I need a morning in bed [despite their amazing support]. My kids smile when Dad goes to bed before they do. And there have been times when I have had to accept that some physical tasks I took for granted, take longer, or require assistance.
One of the things I have found most challenging is the battle of the mind and body, particularly when it comes to fitness.
I am the least fit I have been for a long time, and I am finding that frustrating, having worked so hard in the 2020 lockdowns on my fitness.
Mollie, my exercise physiologist, is working with me to develop some new exercise rhythms. She is very polite as she puts a very uncoordinated me through yoga and Pilates’ moves. Just the thought of it makes Megan laugh! [As I am sure Mollie does post lesson].
I have been really missing going for a run. [Even more a run at the coast!]
I was told initially not to run at all and now it’s “occasionally, slowly, don’t push it and … listen to your body”!
A number of years back, despite being very sick with a virus, I ran a half marathon in Canberra. Wise counsel, including my caring, sensible wife, said “don’t run”. But I didn’t listen to good advice, or my body that screamed out from the 3k mark onward. I pushed so hard that day, vomited along the way, but I made it across the line. I saw the finish as a trophy for mental toughness, but it was probably more the voice of pride. The body paid a big price.
Thankfully I am learning! Slowly, but surely.
I’m just back from a 5km run. It wasn’t pretty. There will be no Strava post or kudos. It’s much slower that I would like to run. I was hoping to go a little further this evening, but as the watch clocked up 5km, the body whispered, it’s time!
Hopefully one day there will be another half marathon in me, but that may be some time in coming. In the meantime, I’m learning more and more to celebrate small wins!
And stepping back, despite my pain management issues, I have so many wins to celebrate each day! I’m breathing. I’m loved. I have good people in my corner. I work with a great team. I have a Good Shepherd right by my side and the privilege of serving others in this beautiful, but broken world.
I’m also mindful of so many others who face far bigger pain and health challenges every day, in an unrelenting way, and my thoughts are with you.
Run done. Blog done. It’s time to rest up and learn more about listening to my body! There’s a lot more learning and listening to do.