Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Losing My Balance

I have run three times in the month that’s passed since finishing my December 10 marathon. I’ve done a bit of yoga and parkour as well and more walking than usual, but it’s still a marked difference from my previous activity level.

I believe strongly in choosing enjoyable movement to benefit your mind and body, not as punishment or a chore.

Yet I’ve been struggling not to struggle with anxiety regarding the change as it relates to generally recommended amounts of exercise, the amounts I’ve relied upon to manage my stress and mental health, and the amount of weight-bearing exercise I need to specifically counteract the detrimental effects my birth control has on my bones.

Race training was difficult and riddled with aches and pains, minor injuries, and illness. The race itself was pretty awful. I knew I would need a break from running for my emotional and mental health, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to fill that hole to maintain my physical and mental health, or if I even wanted to fill it. I’d missed spending hours sitting and making arts and crafts, and I was so SO tired for so long.

I met my goal of finishing my first marathon, but the process of getting there wrecked the balance of exercise in my life.

I no longer want to train or race. I don’t want to keep hurting from the sheer volume of pounding the pavement. And I don’t know how to find joy in running again.

I’m letting my pool membership lapse because I hate having to drive to another city to swim laps at 5 AM in order to get a lane and get back before morning rush hour. I really want a membership for the rec center across the street from my house, but I cannot stand the idea of tolerating January-resolution crowds. I can and do use the fitness center at my office, but it has limited hours and I have to split the work day to get equipment and space to myself.

I enjoy yoga and weightlifting and walking and hiking, but will these be enough for my bones and my brain?

I have a strong interest in parkour and hip-hop dance classes, but the evening schedules are hard for me to attend, and I had to cancel last night's parkour lesson because of a migraine (which is likely to happen again).

I hadn't run in two weeks but woke today to a glorious 60-degree morning and laced up my sneakers to go hatch some Pokémon. I ran more today than I had the last two times I tried (both were shockingly challenging and painful and quickly turned into very long walks), and it felt really good. I don't think it necessarily marks a significant transition, but it is one good run, one good day. And that ain't nothin'.

I'm working hard to trust my brain and my body to do what they need to do for now.

And I'm meeting each day one at a time, adopting a bellydance teacher-friend's classroom rules as a personal mantra:

This body. This day.

A photo posted by Moniqa Aylin (@fierymon) on

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