Ok, that’s a vague title.
I’ve had a bit of an off week. I haven’t been writing for whatever reason. I haven’t found…scratch that, made the time. That’s the actual reason. Which is kind of a bummer because over the past few weeks I’ve thought of a lot of things to write on. But either way, not beating myself too much about it…here I am.
So aside from not writing, the past week or so has also handed me a few challenges. I strained my calf (the same spot that I tore almost 4 years ago when I was over exercising). I came down with a nasty cold (maybe the flu?). And yea, that was enough to throw me off. The calf thing had been building up and bothering me now for well over a month. And I had been run down and exhausted so I guess getting sick was also imminent. So I battled this week.
Monday, I wasn’t feeling great, but as I almost always do, I told my head to stop complaining, suck it up, and deal with it. I dealt with it in a way almost no one else in the world would. I ran 2 miles then hit the gym to do 100 thrusters and 100 hand release push ups. Normal, right? My head was killing me by 4pm and I dragged myself home and into bed where I remained for the next 24 hours.
I allowed myself a sick day, loaded with sleeping and rest and fluids and then gave myself said pep talk on Wednesday and got myself back into work. And back into the gym.
Despite not being able to breathe. Or taste. Or function without a throbbing headache, Thursday ran about the same as Wednesday.
By Friday, I was so excited I made it through the week. Went for a mile run to test my calf for the big run I had planned all week for Saturday and hit the gym hard, blowing my nose every 5 minutes, but completed my WOD and accessory work and was proud to have successfully made it through a tough week only giving up one day off.
And by Friday I felt like I had some swag back. I also felt like I was leaning out and doing good work in the gym and since I’d been sick, I was proud I didn’t really eat too poorly. Except by Saturday, I realized I didn’t really eat at all.
So let’s fast forward to today. Saturday. After taking almost 2 weeks off from any long runs, I was so excited to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. It has been raining, so I planned this one perfect. Post-rain, it would still be wet but not too cold. I woke up without my alarm, made coffee, drank a glass of water, ate some eggs and got dressed. Threw on an ankle brace, compression sock and calf sleeve and was stoked to get going. I parked, picked my pandora station and I was off! The goal was between 5 and 6 miles, but I was hoping my body would be able to handle 6 no problem. I hit 3 miles and was ecstatic to turn around. Until, bam. I gingerly stopped. My right hamstring just balled up into a tiny pretzel before my eyes. Wait a minute?! What?! My fucking right hamstring is now giving me issues? You have got to be kidding me. I stopped then and there, unsure of what to do, with tears welling in my eyes not from the pain but the mere fact that I might be facing another injury. Unsure what to do, I crossed the street and started pounding my hamstring with my fist — I probably looked insane, but I have pretty tight legs and my mere pounding wasn’t even beginning to loosen them up. I started going through every hamstring stretch I knew…as sweat is pouring from my body. And then it hit me. It’s 85% humidity right now. I didn’t drink nearly enough water yesterday, let alone this morning and I sure as hell sweat most of it out in my first 3 miles….
I stretched and started my walk home. I figured I would be fine if I could somehow lengthen the muscle and get it to unknot. Jog. Stop. Stretch. Walk. Jog. Stop. Stretch. Walk…By the time I was a .75 mile away from my car, I jogged and told myself I could make it, I’d be fine and the faster I got to my car the faster I could hydrate and ice.
I made it to my car and inhaled 40 ounces of water like it was nothing. And my body wasn’t full. Then and there I realized despite all the warning signs to slow down and take care of myself all week hadn’t worked. Then I realized that eating one solid meal a day for the past week hadn’t worked. Then I realized forcing myself into a day off hadn’t worked. And then I realized how my head has been a bit more of a mess than I thought lately.
What’s the point of telling you all this? All morning I had been so proud of the “baby abs” I am starting to sprout. And how lean, but strong, my legs are looking. And how I did 5 pull-ups without assistance this week on a week I was sick. And how I felt like my core has been tightening. And my boobs might be shrinking. And my shoulders are looking stronger. And how I hadn’t over indulged at all all week. These are all the things I was so proud of. And yet my body was screaming at me.
I had a conversation with my sister the other day explaining to her how I hadn’t had anything pumpkin yet because of how many carbs and sugars are in everything. I love pumpkin. I love fall flavors. She said “I don’t care about carbs.” Is it bad that somedays, for some moments, I wish I didn’t either. I wish I could eat that brownie without feeling guilt. With remembering that life is a balance. I wish I could remember the last time I had a sandwich, with bread. I wish I knew the last time I had ice cream that didn’t have sugar alcohols in them. The only pumpkin items I’ve had have been sugar free. I swear I wasn’t like this a year ago. But I also swear I didn’t have “baby abs” a year ago too.
It’s frustrating. There are many days my head obsesses over what I will eat, when, where, what happens if I go out, what if I want to drink and no one has sugar free mixers, what if there is only beer and I don’t want all the carbs, what if we order pizza and that’s all there is to eat, and more importantly, what if i DO eat a cupcake or cookie or brownie?!…these are things that constantly rotate in my head. And then the next day it’s all about how many miles do I need to run to fix that mistake I made by eating that brownie, and is that going to be a hard enough or long enough workout, and how do I get my cardio in if I can’t run, and how many miles can I run after work, or should I hike, or maybe a trail run or HIIT sprints might be good, but I can’t tonight how will I fit that in if I have an obligation at 6pm. It’s exhausting.
While I know I wouldn’t be happier where I was 60+ pounds ago, somedays I wish my inner fat kid could just take over without my inner fit fanatic always being present. And the thing is, I know I need to find the balance, and I know that takes work. It doesn’t just happen one day. I need to practice it. One cookie won’t ruin a workout. One brownie won’t ruin a month of hard work. Run because you love to run, because you love the time alone and you love the sweat. Not because you ate pizza last night. Or had a beer. Or three. Hit the gym because that’s your version of therapy. And you love growing new muscles and being strong and looking strong. Not because you need to punish yourself for a day or two off. Or for not eating clean the day before.
Time to work on letting go a little because truth is…
Life is a mother fucking balance.