Tag Archives: half marathon

Listen

5 May

I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, and I don’t mean the plethora of information stuffed into my college-mode brain. I’ve learned to listen to my body, closely.

Change is hard, on so many levels. It’s hard to change the way I eat, hard to adjust to stress loads, and hard to slow down when my body is screaming at me to do so. I’ll start with the more prosaic lesson learned- and that’s my attempt at incorporating more grains into my diet…mostly due to added stress and seeking comfort in delicious food. It didn’t work. With my continued workout habits and more toast, sandwiches, and oatmeal, I gained inches in places I’d rather not. So the “here and there” bread has gone back to the “rare occasion.”

Then there’s this running thing I’ve been doing. To compensate for my ungainly gains, I decided that I needed a short term goal to keep my motivation up. About a month ago I signed up for my first half marathon. I purchased new shoes that would enable me to train and run on pavement. I ran more in that month than I had the previous three months combined. I saw improvements in my endurance as I ran farther and farther. I researched about fueling for long distance running, carb loading, paleo compatibility for distance runners, the works. I was prepared mentally and physically to finish the race. It wasn’t about getting an awesome time. Running the race was about finishing. If I didn’t absolutely hate it, then that time would be my base to improve upon for the next race. Six days before the race, I came down with strep throat. The first day, I was still optimistic that it was just one of those 24 hour bugs that I’d get over with and recover just fine. I stuffed myself full of OTC drugs and dragged my sick self to physics. I wasn’t going to miss a lab for some silly illness! The second day, that lovely¬†streptococcal pharyngitis knocked me on my arse, to put it lightly. I do not recall ever feeling so miserable. I missed class the rest of the week, which was previously unthinkable. I’ve always been under the impression¬†that there was no illness that could prevent me from attending class. Earning the best grade possible is a high priority and missing a class can severely harm any grade. I had to come to terms with being unable to attend; it was tough. Thankfully my husband took over care of the kids and myself- he was unwavering in his support.

When I saw a doctor and received my diagnosis, my husband mentioned that I would definitely not be running that Sunday. My doctor was sympathetic and said that it was possible that I could bounce back in time to run, but to listen to my body. I knew my outlook wasn’t good because my hydration had taken a dive once it became difficult to swallow anything. Three days later I felt much improved and I went to the marathon expo to pick up my packet. In my car, I stared at the blue and yellow tech shirt, emblazoned with the Tacoma City Marathon and it’s sponsors. I held my bib with my name on it. It stirred within me my illness-suppressed determination.

I wanted to run. My goal was one day away and I was mentally ready to take on the challenge. Unfortunately, mental toughness alone doesn’t run races. My severely dehydrated and undernourished body could not run thirteen miles. I had to listen to my body; I didn’t want to risk injury. I talked myself down from getting my hopes up and researched when the next closest half marathon will be.

Now my bib sits on my mantel- not mocking me for what I couldn’t do, but motivating me to recover and get back up to speed.

bib