Today’s run was a tough one. Not because it was a lot of miles or on challenging terrain, but because it was my first run (other than a 15 min run yesterday) in 10 days. I came home after a long run with friends on the 15th and a few hours later a stomach bug, or something of the sort, hit me hard. I was leveled for 48 hours and then it took another four days after that for my stomach to return to a non-queasy state. Thankfully, I recovered just in time for a three-day holiday binge–I say that rather tongue-in-cheek, of course–and now I am feeling rather sloth-like, to put it mildly. A week of soda crackers and sherbet coupled with very little greens, followed by way too much fat and sugar for the next few days and my body is currently screaming at me to return it to homeostasis. STAT! (But please give me more sugar first!)
While I obviously don’t enjoy being sick or feeling like a sloth due to self-inflicted over-indulgence, and while I absolutely despise being slowed down, I realized throughout this time of unplanned rest that I am a pro at taking my usual good health for granted. I lament when I’m not well but I rarely give thanks for wellness. I realized this about a day into my stomach bug and it caused me to take a hard pause. A very hard pause. I’ve spent the last 10 days doing a lot of soul-searching, reflecting hardcore on my life’s journey- where I’ve been, where I’m at, where I’m going, and what I need to do to get there.
Throughout this hard pause, I’ve given myself space to recover and rest, which is not my usual M-O. Normally, I would have pushed too hard, too soon, causing my sickness to linger. I’d beat myself up relentlessly for eating too much and for not dealing with the stress that preempted my sickness. I’d be whiny and victimy about all of it. But I’m not. I’m just feeling grateful. (It’s weird and I like it.) During this hard pause, I have listened to my body and my soul and allowed myself space to JUST BE. And now, as I’ve been writing this, I’ve realized that I have not attached shame to any of it. NONE OF IT. No shame for resting, or not dealing with things that led to stress-overload and sickness, for not being grateful, and especially for the over-indulgence. It’s brand-spanking new territory for me and I’m kinda feeling ridiculously free and peaceful at the moment. Tired and still battling a sugar hangover, but free and peaceful nonetheless.
I’m heading into the new year with a renewed sense of gratitude and new feelings of self-worth and love that have been absent in my life for a very long time. I wish you all love and light and wellness as we journey into 2019. Give yourself permission and space to take a hard pause now and then. Remind yourself that you are awesome and worthy of all the beautiful things that life has to offer. Thank you all for being a part of my life’s journey in 2018. I am so very grateful.
P.S. If you want to hit the trails sometime in the new year, give me a shout. We can walk, hike, or run. Pace doesn’t matter. Part of my giving back this year is to be there for others that want to experience wellness through the beauty of the trail. Maybe you are new to trail running or maybe you don’t want to go by yourself. Please, just reach out. Life is too short to run alone.
Post publishing add-on: HOLY SHIT. After I hit the publish button, I scrolled down to look at my last posts, which numbered a whopping three last year, and my biggest post was about being sick and gratitude and wellness and reflecting and so and so on. And blah, blah, blah. What the hell? Am I a fucking broken record? Never learning from my mistakes? Should I delete this post and pretend it never happened. Oy.
But then I thought about it and while I knew that my experiences during that time period were the catalyst to making some serious changes last April that involved me actually getting a physical for the first time in about 25 years and then subsequently reaching out for help from a trail running coach and a nutritionist, I did not realize how far I have actually come. As an eating-disordered person that has struggled with feelings of zero self-worth over the years, to come away from an unplanned hard pause feeling free from shame is kind of a big deal. For that, I am insanely grateful, so I’m leaving this right here. Here’s to continued growth and healing for me and for you.