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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Follow Your Feel Good

"If you're happy, if you're feeling good, then nothing else matters." -- Robin Wright Penn

One of the things I have been focusing on these days is "following my feel good".  In the past, I have been many things:  a disordered eater, a know it all, slightly overweight, critical, judgmental, rigid in my thinking, a people pleaser and, perhaps, other labels that escape me at the moment.  All of these tendencies and behaviors shaped me to a certain degree and brought me to where I am today.

Which doesn't have to be a bad thing.


I ignore good, old fashioned common sense (which isn't so "common", but I digress). 

For example...

After I ran the Chicago Marathon last fall, I noticed that my feet were sore.  Well, that's not exactly an earth shattering revelation.  I DID, in fact, run 26.2 miles without stopping.  That will definitely put some wear and tear on your little piggies.

But, then I felt it the next day.  And occasionally during the following week.  And then, the following month. 

Pretty soon, I noticed that my heels were sore first thing in the morning when I got out of bed.  Then, I felt them running downhill, sort of "slapping against" the inside of my running shoes.  Then, I started noticing it was there more than it wasn't.

So, I marched myself into the podiatrists office last November.  He gave me a prescription for Naproxen, an anti-inflammatory.  I took them intermittently and noticed a slight amount of relief.  However, once I stopped taking them, I noticed the sensation returning, which tells me it was a temporary fix at best.

In the past, I would run through aches, pains and discomfort whenever possible.  I felt bound to my sense of duty.  After all, I was always training for SOMETHING, whether it be a 5K or a marathon.  There was always something on the calendar for me to do.  What is the old expression???  Oh yeah:  one person's discipline is another person's compulsion.  I guess I was a *little* compulsive about my training.

However, since the Chicago Marathon has come and gone (10/9/11), there's been nothing on my calendar to train for.  I finally registered for a couple of races, yes, but those aren't until October of 2012.  But, because I felt bound to my sense of duty, I ran 35-50 miles per week all winter and into the spring.

That is, until this week.

I realized that I just have not been enjoying myself out there.  I haven't been looking forward to running.  It almost feels like being in a good relationship gone slightly sour.  In fact, the mere thought of it tends to exhaust me.  Why would I want to put my shoes on and run when my feet hurt???  Between my feet and the unrelenting wind, there really hasn't been much incentive for me to go out and pound the pavement.

To some, this may seem like an admission of Cyndi Lou being lazy and unmotivated.  To me, this is a HUGE sign of growth and maturity.


Because I am focusing on FOLLOWING MY FEEL GOOD!!!!  When I insist on engaging in activities and behaviors that fly in the face of this philosophy, I am not honoring my body or my spirit!  I am just...punishing myself.  And, for what?

For speed?
For conditioning?
For weight loss???

First of all, I know about and believe in muscle memory.  If I take a week, a month or even a few months off to recuperate and rest, I'll be able to retrain better and faster than a newbie just learning the sport.  Secondly, I'm just not all that concerned about my weight anymore.  I feel and look better (feet being the exception, here) at 40 than I ever have.  Between whatever exercise I have been doing (weight training, spinning, walking), eating delicious, healthy food most of the time and my AdvoCare supplements, I'm at the top of my game, physically.   

This is a HUGE breakthrough for me.  I'm coming to terms with the need for rest and I feel secure and strong in the skin that I'm in.  Now that I have worked this out in my head, I know I need to take the proper care of myself.  A very good friend of mine is a physical therapist and I told her about my sore feet over dinner.  She told me that would be easy enough to fix in 6-8 visits.  All I need to do is get a referral from my primary care physician and, voila.  I'm on the road to recovery.  It doesn't matter how long it takes.  Running will always be there.  Life is too short to do something unless you're 100% happy doing it.

I will no longer settle for less.

I love this new attitude of mine.  I love feeling free and unencumbered by cognitive distortions and false premises.  I love being able to differentiate between WANTING to do something and feeling like you HAVE TO or SHOULD.  

This fit and fabulous 40 year old will certainly choose the former over the latter.

"Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out." -- Michael Burke