Today, I went to the gym with every intention to run about 6 miles. I had no doubt in my mind that I in fact would complete those 6 miles. I woke up at my usual time, ate my usual breakfast, dropped off my husband for his commute, and hit the treadmill.
I usually put a towel over the treadmill screen so I don’t focus on the time, and zone out to tv or music. Today, I chose E News. The first few minutes were tough– my legs were stiff, heavy, and sore from yesterday’s weight lifting session. I watched (and ran) through one segment in which Giuliana was giving a style-makeover to a Miley Cyrus fan. My legs felt pretty dead, but I figured they would loosen up after a few more minutes.
A couple of minutes later, I started to sweat– a lot. I actually started to sweat heavily much earlier than I do on my usual runs. In fact, I normally don’t get a good sweat going on till the fourth or fifth mile. I was only .75 miles in!
Then I started to feel shaky. Not oh, I’m tired in a good way shaky, but more like oh, I feel weak and overheated shaky. And my legs– well they felt still heavy as bricks.
After what I thought must have been at least 30 minutes, I lifted up my towel to check the time. Only 19 minutes had passed.
Anyone who knows me well knows I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to goals I set for myself– to the point that my perfectionist tendencies can be detrimental. Today, I had set a goal of running 6 miles. My mind and spirit were into it. Therefore, I thought I should complete it.
However, today, my body had different goals, which included wanting me not to run. For me, and probably for most medium distance runners, it’s not physically normal to sweat profusely after a few minutes of running (in an air-conditioned gym) and feel shaky.
I’ve always heard running is just as much mental as it is physical, and I do agree with that statement. However, sometimes, the physical needs of your body must triumph over your mental wants. My mind wanted to run 6 miles. My body wanted to rest– and it certainly told me so.
I have a history of having not listening to my body when it is telling me something. I’m the one goes to work when she’s not feeling well (and ends up passing out once she gets there). I’m the one who has band-aids, blisters, (and scars) all over her feet because she never thinks her shoes hurt that bad. I am also the girl who ignored foot pain and refused to stop running about three summers ago, and eventually had to stop running because she could barely walk, nevermind run.
I don’t want to be that girl anymore. Today, my body did not want to run, so I stopped. Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I just being lazy? No. Was my body telling me it was being overworked? Probably.
I don’t know exactly why I got overheated and dizzy on my run. But, when I sit down and really listen to my body, it probably isn’t too hard to figure out.. I always drink a ton of water, and I slept well last night so those weren’t the culprits. But, I do remember feeling very hungry in the middle of the night. That signal should call for a bigger breakfast than usual, but I was so caught up in “my routine” that I ate the same amount I always eat, which probably wasn’t enough given what I wanted my body to do that day. In fact, I felt a bit hungry before bed, but just ignored it in favor of sleep. I do also know that my legs felt like lead because I worked them to a level of exhaustion yesterday that I haven’t experienced in a few weeks. All in all, it seems like the lack of recovery time and proper fueling caused me to bonk today. In the battle of body and mind, body won. The difference between this time and other times is I let my body get its way, and I will give it what it needs. Today, my body wants lots of food and lots of rest.
In many ways, despite my disappointing run, today was a victory. It’s one of the first times when exercising that I actually stopped to listen to what my body wanted when there was a signal of abnormal distress and took the proper actions to remedy what I intuitively perceived was ailing me. For me, that’s huge– and it is definitely a big step in the right direction.
I know some out there may think this is a frivolous musing– who cares if you couldn’t run 6 miles? YOU’RE TIRED they may say. EAT SOMETHING they may be thinking. TAKE A NAP!
For some, it is easy to just listen to your body. But for others like me, it’s hard. That is why I wrote this today, because, maybe, just maybe, it is getting a bit easier for me too. And that, my friends, is definitely a small victory in my book.