Listen to your body seems like the go to advice now-a-days. If you’re hungry eat. If you’re not, don’t feel the need to clean your plate. If you’re tired, rest. It seems simple enough.
Seems is the key word in that sentence.
Sometimes being able to interpret what your body is trying to tell you amidst the pressure of a plan, deep-seeded habits and the confusion of internet searches can be incredibly difficult.
For me, I’m very good at listening if it seems to be telling me to do what I already wanted.
“I’ve got energy and want to be outside!” my legs often seem to be screaming. My schedule says “run umpteen number of miles” and the science says exercise is great for you so – ✓ – I’m listening.
But when something hurts? Well…then, listening becomes a little bit harder.
It feels fine while I’m running…I tell myself, so despite a new stabbing pain in the bottom of my right foot, I head out for my scheduled run.
If I don’t exercise everyday I’m going to be overweight, out-of-shape and will never meet my marathon goals…I convince myself, so even as the pain means I can barely walk across my living room to the bathroom every morning, I’m out there running. I’m sticking to the schedule, I’m qualifying for Boston – nothing can stop me.
Well, it turns out something can. Her name is Harper (aka a winter storm that has turned our New Haven side walks into unending skating rinks).
Yesterday, with the pain at its worst yet in the bottom of my right foot and the realization that the wind, snow, slush, ice, cold and whatever else Harper was bringing along with her would keep me inside I succumbed to googling.
Google suggested plantar fasciitis – and although I thought that was a middle-aged-person condition – turns out for long distance runners without sufficient padding under their feet it is very common. I had known I needed new shoes, new socks and probably more rest but I didn’t listen.
I told myself I could get another month out of my Brooks, I told myself I didn’t need to “waste” money on better socks, I told myself I could run through pain – I’ve run five marathons after all, what could stop me?
Well I can’t.
I didn’t take my own advice, I haven’t listened to my body. My foot pain is now much worse than it may have been if I’d just taken an extra week off in December and purchased a new pair of shoes.
But thanks to Harper I’m finally listening. I’ve now taken two days off. I’m aiming for four. I’ve even iced! Crazy. I’m trying to listen, to tune in, to care a little bit more for the body that has done so much for me.
My May marathon is still over 3 months away, if I’m careful and patient, and truly listen, I still have a chance.
So…any favorite injured hobbies anyone?