Friday, November 16

Listening to my body

Howdy. I've been MIA this week, I know. I don't know what it is, but I have been completely uninspired. I've got some stuff happening in my personal life that's taking time away from running, blogging, and such, but I really thought I'd get to blog about last Saturday's race sooner...

Last Saturday's trail race was okay. Not stellar, but not awful. I finished. I decided that trail running isn't my favorite thing. I also decided that I really, really need to work on hills. Not just for my legs, but for my lungs.

The first hill in the race was up a paved hill and, as predicted, I had to stop to begin attempts to *not* pass out. I had already taken preventative measures with all of my asthma medication before the race, but it was cold, the hill was steep, my heart rate rocketed, and I was a goner. My focus was just not passing out... I was listening to my body for cues of what to do next.

I often find that it's moments like this when my goals are whittled down to the very basics that I get stuck in my head and the race becomes a mental game more than a physical challenge. I'm learning quickly that I need to go through a really quick and dirty round of RADICAL ACCEPTANCE before I even take one more step.

The conversation I have with myself goes something like this:
body: *huff, puff*
mind: "Oh, great, you can't breathe again."
body: "Nope." *wheeze*
mind: "Okay, well, we can't run like this."
body: "Nope." *cough*
mind: "You're going to have to slow down to take care of yourself. And that's okay."
body: "Yes, because it's better to not die."
mind: "Right, that's in line with the goal of finishing the race. Not dying."
body: *huff, puff, deep inhale of medication* "Yep."
mind: "You have asthma and it's amazing that you even run. You're slowing down to take care of yourself."
body: "Yes." *deep breath*
mind: "How do you feel now? Ready to keep going? You're doing a good job. You're taking care of yourself."

If I don't take the steps towards acceptance in those critical moments that I am slowing down to care for myself, I slowly begin to criticize myself for being weak or slow, which is really unfair because I would never ever ever do that to someone else who was suffering like I am. So to get OUT of the head game and back into the race, I have to get that conversation going and accept the reality of my illness and what I need to do to treat it and care for myself, then move on with my life.

I am working with my doctors and a health coach to get my asthma under control. I yearn for the day when I can run free like so many of the bloggers and tweeters I follow online. I'm hoping to get things together soon, but I also know that I can't rush. I have to allow my body to get stronger, adjust to medications, and tell me what it needs. It's difficult to do sometimes, though, because I want to be better, faster, and stronger NOW. I've worked to get my body in shape... but my lungs just haven't gotten around to keeping up yet because of my asthma. We'll get there. I know we will because I won't stop till we do, but the struggle is real.

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