In The Afterglow of the Marathon

This entry was actually written in my journal on Monday November 20, 2006.

Today I listened to a CD by Andrew Weil, MD entitled, “Longer Living and Aging Gracefully.”

Weil says nobody is in perfect health.  We can be in excellent health but not perfect health.  He says every body experiences a twinge of pain or some other symptom that is not part of our every day health.  He suggested we get more in tune with our bodies and write down everything that is out of the ordinary.

I ran that half-marathon yesterday and today I have a lot of little discomforts and twinges.  I’ll take Weil’s advice and get in tune with my body.

I’m having ITB pain on the outside of my right leg, a little heel pain from plantar fascitis in my right foot, no appetite, nausea, and a general feeling of laziness.

I know it sounds like I’m miserable, but really I’m not.  It’s all part of recuperating from overextending my body.

Actually, I don’t really feel that bad.  My legs feel strong, my mind is clear, I’m grinning from ear to ear, and I’m already thinking about running the Little Rock half-marathon in March.

I told several friends and co-workers that I would run a full marathon in 2007 if I complete the half marathon in three hours or less.  Well, I didn’t reach that goal, so I’m running another half marathon to try again for the 3 hour time limit goal. 

It’s time for a shower, some stretching exercises, and a warm cup of green tea with raw honey.  I didn’t have to work today so I’m just taking it easy.

Tomorrow I’ll be back at it again.  But for now I’ll just bask in the afterglow of running the Route 66 half-marathon.

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2 thoughts on “In The Afterglow of the Marathon

  1. With all due respect to Dr. Weil, I’d throw out that list.

    I ran a very challenging (hilly, with a headwind!) half-marathon the week after my first marathon and felt like a million bucks at the finish line. The day after my last full marathon — which I had dedicated to a dear friend who’s helped me through some rough patches — I walked three blocks in heels to take my finisher’s medal to his office. I am far from an elite athlete (I seldom break 30 minutes in a 5K, and I’ve yet to beat 2:15 in a half or 5:20 in a full); it’s just that I simply refused to accept the conventional “wisdom” that says pain is the price of physical achievement.

    Don’t get me wrong: I used to monitor every little ache and pain and sniffle and try to figure out what flavor-of-the-week disease or injury I might be suffering from. I felt like crap all the time, too. I’ve been a million times healthier since I quit fussing over what seemed to be wrong (which only reinforced my own fear of illness and injury) and started focusing my attention on what’s right.

    If you find that Dr. Weil’s way works for you, by all means, use it. But if it doesn’t, you might think about throwing out that list of what’s wrong and start a new one: What’s Right With Me Today. I can usually squeeze a lot more mileage out of gratitude than I can out of fear. Just a thought.

    If you feel like staring down the notion of limitation before March, you might head out to the Kansas/Missouri border on Saturday morning. The Kansas Route 66 Association has a wonderful little half-marathon that follows Route 66 from Galena to Baxter Springs — the entire length of Route 66 in Kansas. It’s not a terribly well-attended race, but the organizers are friendly, and the course is interesting. It’s fun to think about history as you run and imagine all the people who have traveled that particular swath of highway before you.

    I’d run it this year, except I already made arrangements to be in Texas on Saturday, helping with some historic preservation work at the Vega Motel.

  2. I’ve been running since 1985 with about a ten year hiatus in between and all the little post-race aches and pains didn’t begin popping up until 2 years ago. That’s a pretty good track record. I’ve never gotten blisters from running, I’ve never thrown-up from running, and I’ve never quit a race. But the plantar fascitis and ITB pain flare up every once in a while. I never dwell there, but I am aware of its presence.

    Taking a personal health inventory doesn’t mean dwelling on the negative. It doesn’t mean becoming a chronic complainer or a hypochondriac. It doesn’t mean to develoop a neurotic conviction that something is always wrong. What it does mean is to be in tune with your body. Do your monthly self-breast-exam, get an annual pap test and pelvic exam, and don’t ignore your aches and pains. You have pain for a reason. Become aware of what is causing that pain and do something about it.

    For example, if you’re having foot pain, maybe the only solution necessary is buying a new pair of shoes. But then again, pain could be something more serious as in the case of my father.

    For years, my father suffered from pain in his left shoulder. He ignored it and never got it checked out even when he realized there was a knot on his shoulder. He had the shoulder pain for about fifteen years. When the knot grew to egg size and then to golf ball size he finally made an appointment to see a doctor. It was a cancerous tumor. He had it surgically removed, but by that time the cancer had spread from the tissues to the lymph system. He passed away four months after the surgery. He was always in denial and would never admit that anything was wrong. Early detection most likely would have prolonged his life.

    Health means wholeness and when we’re healthy, our bodies are in balance and we develop a resiliency. Dr. Weil says to think of one of those knock-down toys. When the toy gets knocked down, it bounces right back up. That’s how the human body is created–to bounce right back.

    The healthy way to deal with disease, infirmities, aches, and pains is to accept it and deal with it. It should be our goal to bounce back to good health.

    I have an educated concept of resiliency and not a “notion of limitation.” The key is to take care of the health problems before they become limitations.

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