One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year, especially since having my spine surgery, is that not every day will be the same.
Some days will be good days. Some days will be bad. Yesterday was a bit of both.
I crushed the strength workout with my personal trainer, impressing myself with the ability to comfortably (and correctly!) perform 3 sets of 20” box jumps – something I have been too physically injured to even attempt for the past TWO YEARS! But, when it came to doing a 4-mile run, it took me 28 minutes to run/walk the first two miles and I was forced to completely walk the final two miles. Frustrating, to say the least – especially when I had been doing so well, steadily improving with each and every run for the past two weeks.
That’s just the way it is though… and, really, that’s okay. I’m learning a lot about myself now – things I never even realized before. Like how there really is no honor in pushing your body to the point of pain, simply so you can prove to yourself that you can endure it. And pushing your body to the point of injury is neither noble, nor respectable, but rather stupid and self-deprecating.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t challenge ourselves, because there really is no better way to grow. But challenging yourself within your current abilities and then raising the bar each and every time you safely reach them is the surest way to succeed in achieving your goals. There’s so much to be said for the story of the tortoise and the hare – whose story is depicted by statues strategically placed in Copley Square, just steps away from the finish line of the iconic Boston Marathon. A visually artistic tribute to the fact that slow and steady progress really does win the race.
So WHY was yesterday’s run so difficult? Because, on the previous run, I pushed too hard, too fast, and for much too long. I was too much in my own head, comparing my current run to where I used to be before I injured my spine. I let the slower pace, the walk breaks, and overall time degrade me into ignoring my body’s signals and, instead of listening, I continued to push for more. Was I proud of the end result? Initially, yes. I told my husband with a big smile upon my face. I even bragged about it to a friend who understands that shaving 4 minutes off my overall run time is no small feat! But then my body reminded me, in no uncertain terms, that I am not fully healed yet and, even when I am, I will still just never be the same as I was before that skydiving crash. This really is “just the way it is” now. This is my “new normal”. If I want to continue doing all the things I love so much, I must remain vigilant in listening to my body’s signals, adjusting accordingly, forever conscious of the fact that we are on the same team, we should never be waging war with ourselves.
As the new year begins, and the goals I’ve set for myself inch ever closer, I will continually be reminding myself that some days will be good days, and some days will be bad. I can be determined about my goals, but I must remain flexible with my methods.