Friday, August 27, 2010

When pain speaks

Three weeks of running! It takes 21 days to make a habit, right? Well I guess I'm back in it.

One of the odd perks of running that I had forgotten is the profundity of thoughts I have while I run. I am a big believer in the benefits of altering consciousness to experience new ideas (I'm probably not supposed to say that), and I think the surge of different chemicals running through your body during running contributes to that sensation.

Today's thoughts.

I've been keeping tabs on my back and legs, given my history with discs and shin splints, careful to not not overdo it. I have specifically been working to note the difference in soreness and pain.

One of my favorite Grey's Anatomy episodes was on the importance of pain. To sum it up, it focused on the fact that medically speaking, pain exists to alert you to a problem. As pain increases, your problem does as well. The inability to feel or acknowledge pain greatly diminishes your safety, both long term and immediate.

The same in running. It's normal to feel tired or sore, but to perpetually ignore pain when it's crying out to you is very foolish. If you don't change or stop what you're doing, you will likely injure yourself.

And such is life. Emotionally, spiritually- pain tells us something is wrong. We listen to the pain, evaluate the source, and treat it. But ignoring will only aggravate the problem.

-"Does it hurt?"
-"Where does it hurt?"
-"Maybe it hurts for a reason."

-Grey's Anatomy (Izzie and Alex talking as Izzie tries to re-enter the hospital after her fiancée died)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When to trust yourself

I've been slowly trying to get back into running. In a case of unfortunate timing, we are several weeks into an oppressive heat wave here in OKC. Triple digits daily... the lowest temp I've seen in a while is 77. I go running in the mornings though, so it's not so bad.

Today though, perhaps because the heat was reminiscent of a sweat lodge, I had an epiphany. While I was running I got confused. You see, I plan my routes out very carefully pre-running so I know when to run and when to walk and how far I'm going, gone, and have yet to go. But today, mid-run, I thought I made a mistake in planning. But as I cooled down, I realized that I had, in fact, planned correctly.

Here's the epiphany: oxygen-deprived, running, tired, sweaty Ann should trust calm, cool, collected rested Ann to make the decisions. This is hard to remember in times of distress. It also comes to play in when I want to quit mid-exercise. Rested Ann knows what I am capable of; tired Ann is doubtful.

Think of all the other areas of life this can apply to- relationally, professionally, spiritually. Although I'm a big fan of the gut decision, decisions are best made when you are able to have perspective. When you're at a place of peace and rest. Sure, this isn't always possible, but when it is we should plan ahead.

Trust yourself. But know when to trust yourself. :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"Seems reasonable"... and other famous last words

So almost two months ago I said it seemed reasonable to be able to complete my hundred pushups/ two hundred situps challenge. I am a little wary of that statement now.

On my last exhaustion tests, I was able to do 90 sit ups and 42 push ups. That means I have improved by almost 3x in the number of sit ups I can do and not quite 2x in the number of push ups. Push ups are just harder!

I have been keeping tally of my work outs and so far I've done 1608 push ups and 3695 sit ups. Whew! Many more to go and another month and a half to do it. Let's hit it!