Thursday, February 11, 2010

Health while running

I have 6 weeks until I go to Prague, put my foot on the race line, and attempt to run 13.1 miles in 2 1/2 hours (my goal).  Now, over the past few years I have wanted to do a long distance race.  Don't ask me why but it has always been a dream of mine to compete in endurance races.  To test the limits of my mind and body.  For so long I participated in team sports with games every weekend and practice everyday - a constant state of competition, against other teams in the hopes of a victory and against teammates to keep a spot on the court rather  than the bench.

As I approach 30 years of age in a year I realize I am tired of competition.  I have to compete for funding to do my research, compete to gain and then retain a job.  I don't want or need to compete in sports as well, I just need to push my own limits and "compete" against myself.  What can I do?  How far can I go?  Will my body hold out?  Call me crazy but this excites me much more now than lacing up my gym shoes and stepping onto the volleyball court and proving myself to others.  I miss the sport, don't get me wrong, but my mind and body are just not there anymore.  At this time I find the lure of half marathons, marathons, trial races, ultra races, mountain hiking exciting - I can't suppress the smile as I think about this.

But (and there is always a but) it also seems as if my fear and apprehension is also impeding these dreams.  A few years back I began to train for a marathon while studying in Baton Rouge for my Masters.  I  had begun to focus on my own personal health, loosing weight and taking up running.  But as I began to slowly increase my miles my fears played up and I became "sick" - my body slowly taking on aches and pains that "forced" me to stop running.  Stop I did.  Then in the second year of my Ph.D I began to run again, signing up for 5Ks whenever I could.  I was lean, mean, and tan (well until the winter came) - but again I became "sick."  After a trip to Guatemala I came back and found out I had a parasite that left my stomach in knots - not pretty but not really life threatening (just the runs from time to time).  The doctor said I could run, just not long distances because of the stomach and the fact that my body was not "made" to run.  My knock-knees and tall frame were seen as abnormal for the running world so I gave in and stopped.

Now, I am down 10% body fat and 2 stones (about 28 lbs).  I have been running since September along with weight/bodyweight training and rehabilitation to strengthen my core.  Overall I feel stronger, look better and am enjoying my life.  But (and there is always a but) it seems as if a part of me is trying to sabotage my own goals.  For the last 3 weeks my body is rebelling - first random bruises on my legs and excessive tiredness, then an increased resting heart rate (from 49 to 79), then a sore throat and sore ears with a cough (that likes to kick in when I am sleeping), and today nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea, and achy joints (I sound like a damn Pepto Bismol commercial).

 It could be I am overtraining or that my drop in body fat is leaving my immune system weak during the winter.  Who knows, but what I do know is that I don't plan to give in.  I paid the entrance fee, bought the plane tickets, booked the hotel, have the training journal with a 12 week plan, and have the drive to finish.  So I guess there is still a competitive edge in me - I can't stand to give up on something that I told everyone I am doing.  Therefore, I'll keep posting on this blog, on Facebook, in emails, on the phone and in person that on March 27, 2010 I will be running a half marathon in Prague with the goal of finishing and proving to myself that I am a runner.

1 comment:

Meg said...

you know you can do it! I can't wait to see pics of you at the finish line in prague!